The Mercedes E-Class blends sumptuous comfort, refinement and tech in a stylish executive package

The fifth generation Mercedes E-Class arrived in 2016 and, as the styling suggests, it feels a lot like a smaller S-Class. That's a good thing, as it set new standards in the class for comfort and has an impressively sumptuous cabin.

Refinement is also top notch, while the S-Class-inspired technology makes it safer and easier to live with. It’s not quite as fun to drive as a Jaguar XF or BMW 5 Series, but it’s close enough in a class where cruising ability and composure count. The entry-level diesel is now faster and more efficient than ever, too, which will be important for business users, while there's some scorching AMG-badged performance models for those who need more pace. 

While it's more expensive than its rivals, even the entry-level E 220d SE packs more standard kit than the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF. Overall, it’s a comprehensively equipped, efficient and stylish package that's well worth considering if you're in the market for a new executive saloon.

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Mercedes E 220d SE

The Mercedes E-Class is about as traditional as you can get in the executive saloon market. There was a time when Mercedes' line-up was based exclusively on this size of saloon, but today there are so many different models in the range that the E-Class faces the risk of being lost in the line-up. Fortunately, Merc knows that the E-Class is still one of the most important models in its range, so it gets a host of hi-tech gadgets, advanced engines and a h fit and finish to maintain its appeal.

The current E-Class arrived in 2016, but while the W213 model is the fifth-generation to wear the E-Class badge, its saloon roots can be traced all the way back through to the Ponton Mercedes saloons of the 1950s. There are some illustrious models in the Mercedes saloon back catalogue, including the W114 and W124, but with every model, Mercedes has improved its executive saloon to keep it competitive in the sector.

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The E-Class name first arrived in 1993, when the facelifted W124 model hit showrooms with the newly added E badge on its name, and almost 25 years later the E-Class us still one of the leading lights in the executive saloon class. Its main rivals are its German counterparts in the shape of the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, while the Jaguar XF is a strong contender, too. In addition, high-end versions can rival the Tesla Model S and Porsche Panamera, while cars like the Lexus GS and Volvo S90 offer something different in the class. At the very top of the tree, the AMG E 63 is a super saloon that delivers supercar pace in a luxury four-door package.

Like the last model, the current E-Class is offered in four body styles - four-door saloon, estate, coupe and convertible. All versions borrow technology from the S-Class limousine, while the styling gains some influence from that model, too. The saloon really does look like a shrunken S-Class, while the styling means it could be difficult to distinguish it from the C-Class from a distance.

There are two basic trims, SE and AMG Line, while Mercedes offers Premium and Premium Plus packages that add plenty of additional kit. Even in standard guise the SE model is pretty well equipped, while AMG Line adds a sportier look with bigger wheels, although as well as the two Premium packages, there are a range of options that can be added, too.

Mercedes E 63 AMG review

There’s a decent range of engines in the E-Class, with diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrains on offer. The E 220 d four-cylinder and E 400 d straight-six make up the diesel range, while a single four-cylinder 2.0-litre, fitted to the E 200, covers the lower end of the petrol line-up.

Two hybrids are available with by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine fueled by either petrol or diesel and mated to an electric motor. The E 300 e is the petrol one and the E 300 de is the diesel. Both offer an all-electric range of around 30 miles.

Improved efficiency and refinement is where Mercedes has made big strides with the E-Class
New 2.0 diesel improves CO2 emissions to class-leading levels
High quality cabin, plenty of practicality and lots of tech make the new Merc E-Class easy to travel in
Joint biggest boot in class and a roomy cabin offer plenty of practicality
Cutting-edge safety tech and clever protection systems mean E-Class is arguably even more advanced than S-Class big brother

At the top of the range, the AMG E 53 and AMG E 63 models have straight-six or V8 twin-turbo engines respectively, with 4MATIC four-wheel-drive standard on both. All cars feature an auto gearbox, while the E 220 d can be had with 4MATIC four-wheel drive as an option.

Prices start from around £35,000 for the E-Class, while most of the E 220d models fall below the £40,000 road tax threshold. The rest of the range sits above that, with the most expensive E 63 model breaking the £90,000 barrier.

Last updated: 
12 Apr, 2019