The Mercedes E-Class majors on superb refinement and technological innovation in the large executive car class - it blends sumptuous comfort, refinement and tech in a stylish executive package. Not only is the E-class a leader when it comes to refinement, technology and how it drives, but it also puts the company's S-class into the shade, in terms of ride quality and comfort. Overall, it's a comprehensively equipped, efficient and stylish package that's well worth considering if you're in the market for an executive saloon.
Diesel 65.7 combined MPG
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The E-Class offers everything you would expect and want from a car in the executive segment, proving more than a worthy rival to the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series, chief among its challengers.
CO2: 112 g/km
Emissions and Fuel
* Price does not include road fund license
Electric windows with one touch opening/closing and obstruction sensors, Polished aluminium upper window surround, Privacy glass (rear side windows and rear screen), Rain sensor windscreen wipers
Active brake assist, Adaptive Brake System with HOLD function and brake drying in the wet, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake calipers with AMG lettering, Electronic parking brake, Electronic Stability Programme, Hill start assist, Perforated front brake discs with ‘Mercedes-Benz’ lettering
Agility control sports suspension with selective damping system and lowering by 15mm
Active parking assist and reversing camera, Attention assist, Blind spot assist, DYNAMIC SELECT with a choice of driving modes (ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual), Hill hold assist, Park assist pilot with front and rear park assist, Speed sensitive power steering
Boot release from drivers seat, Remote boot release, Stop/start system
2 USB ports in the rear, Analogue clock, Brake wear warning light, Cockpit display 12.3" widescreen digital instrument cluster, Mercedes connect me, Multi function trip computer, Outside temperature display, SD card satellite navigation system, Service indicator (ASSYST), Touchpad with control wheel
Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
Black open pore ash wood and centre console, Dashboard and door, black open pore ash wood
66 litre fuel tank, Diesel particulate filter, Incorrect fuelling protection
2 USB ports in centre console, Aerial integrated in rear window, Audio 20 with USB, control wheel and Media Interface with Bluetooth interface and hands-free function, DAB Digital radio, High resolution 12.3" multimedia colour display, Steering wheel mounted audio controls
Exterior Body Features
Body colour bumpers, Body colour door handles, Pre-installation for roof rail systems, Radiator grille with integral star and 2 louvres in matt iridium silver with chrome trim, Visible twin exhaust tailpipe in bumper
Adaptive brake lights, LED Headlights, LED High Performance including integral LED daytime running lamps, LED rear lights
3 spoke flat bottom AMG performance steering wheel with Touch Control buttons, trimmed in black nappa leather, Artico man-made leather upper dash trim, Artico man-made leather/Microfibre Dinamica upholstery, Black roof lining, Front and rear door pockets, Front centre armrest with storage compartment, Front door sills with illuminated Mercedes lettering, Glasses compartment in overhead control panel, Lockable/illuminated air conditioned glovebox, Silver door pins, Sports pedals with stainless steel surfaces and rubber studs, Steering wheel multifunction with gearshift paddles, Steering wheel touch control buttons for audio and onboard settings, Storage compartment with 12V socket in centre console
Ambient lighting, Interior rear light/integral reading lights
Mirror pack - E Class, Seat comfort pack - E Class, Stowage pack - E Class
3x3 point rear seatbelts, Active bonnet, Black seat belts, Childproof rear door locks, Driver and passenger side/thorax airbags, Driver/front passenger airbag, Drivers knee airbag, Pre-Safe anticipatory safety system, Seat occupancy sensor, Seatbelt warning, Tyre pressure monitoring system, Warning triangle and first aid kit, Window airbags
Seat Piping/Additional Trimming
40/20/40 split folding rear seat, Auto Mercedes-Benz child seat recognition sensor, Four way partially front electric seat adjustment, Head restraints for driver and front passenger (four-way adjustability)and in rear (two-way), Heated front seats, Isofix rear child seat fastenings
Alarm system/interior protection/immobiliser, Central locking with interior switch, automatic locking and crash sensor with emergency opening function, Chrome surround electric key, Keyless Start
Sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors
Run flat tyres
|Badge Engine CC:||2.0|
|Based On ID:||N|
|Coin Series:||AMG Line|
|Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07:||31E|
|Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years:||30|
|Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years:||3|
|NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %:||95|
|NCAP Child Occupant Protection %:||90|
|NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09:||5|
|NCAP Pedestrian Protection %:||77|
|NCAP Safety Assist %:||62|
|Service Interval Frequency - Months:||12|
|Service Interval Mileage:||15500|
|Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage:||999999|
|Standard manufacturers warranty - Years:||3|
|Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months:||N|
|Timing Belt Interval Mileage:||N|
|Vehicle Homologation Class:||M1|
|Noise Level dB(A):||72|
|Standard Euro Emissions:||EURO 6|
|Cylinders - Bore (mm):||82|
|Cylinders - Stroke (mm):||92.3|
|Engine Layout:||NORTH SOUTH|
|Fuel Delivery:||COMMON RAIL|
|Number of Valves:||16|
|EC Combined (mpg):||61.4|
|EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies:||True|
|EC Extra Urban (mpg):||67.3|
|EC Urban (mpg):||52.3|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb:||6.2|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max:||6.5|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min:||5.5|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High:||6.3|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High:||5.5|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low:||7.6|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium:||6.2|
|WLTP - MPG - Comb:||45.6|
|WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max:||43.5|
|WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min:||51.4|
|WLTP - MPG - Extra High:||44.8|
|WLTP - MPG - High:||51.4|
|WLTP - MPG - Low:||37.2|
|WLTP - MPG - Medium:||45.6|
|0 to 62 mph (secs):||7.3|
|Engine Power - BHP:||194|
|Engine Power - KW:||143|
|Engine Power - PS:||True|
|Engine Power - RPM:||3800|
|Engine Torque - LBS.FT:||295|
|Engine Torque - MKG:||40.8|
|Engine Torque - NM:||400|
|Engine Torque - RPM:||1600|
|Emissions Test Cycle:||NEDC Correlated|
|Tyre Size Front:||245/40 R19|
|Tyre Size Rear:||275/35 R19|
|Tyre Size Spare:||RUN FLAT TYRES|
|Wheel Style:||AMG 5 TWIN SPOKE|
|Wheel Type:||19" ALLOY|
|Height (including roof rails):||N|
|Width (including mirrors):||2065|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres):||66|
|Gross Vehicle Weight:||2330|
|Luggage Capacity (Seats Down):||N|
|Luggage Capacity (Seats Up):||540|
|Max. Loading Weight:||615|
|Max. Roof Load:||100|
|Max. Towing Weight - Braked:||2100|
|Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked:||750|
|No. of Seats:||5|
|Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb:||11.6|
The tenth generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a stronger proposition, especially in this volume E220d diesel guise, offered with or without 4WD. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Cars are rarely as crucial to their makers or buyers as this E-Class model is to Mercedes. This full-sized Executive segment contender is the backbone of the German company's range and a perennial favourite of the corporate car park. In lighter, larger tenth generation guise, it retains a sensible side but dials up the desirability, aiming to offer a smarter, more prestigious approach to Executive class motoring than its closest competitors. It does so with more efficient engines, particularly the 2.0-litre diesel unit you'll find in this volume E220d variant. Plus, there's astonishing technology and comfort that makes you question the need for a larger luxury saloon. Rivals from Audi, BMW and Jaguar should be worried.
No car epitomises what Mercedes-Benz stands for better than this one - the E-Class. This version is the most advanced yet, which is essential of course. When your rivals include cars as good as the Audi A6, the BMW 5 Series and the Jaguar XF, you can't afford to not to try and set the standard. With is why this MK10 model E-Class claims the classiest cabin, the most efficient running costs and the most advanced technology in the segment. Advanced driver assistance features even allow it to take a step closer to fully autonomous driving. Many potential E-Class owners will be funding their car with company money, so they and their Fleet Managers will be totting up the figures very carefully. As Mercedes has in creating the class-leading fuel and CO2 stats on offer in the case of the volume E220d variant we're trying here.
Mercedes has achieved a superb balance between comfort, quiet and agility with the E-Class. It's as happy swanning through town or covering great distances along the motorway. More surprising is how at home it feels on more wiggly roads, where its excellent suspension makes light work of corners. There's also the option of 4MATIC 4WD. To get the best from the car, you'll want the 'AIR BODY CONTROL' pneumatic suspension that can be fine-tuned with the 'DYNAMIC SELECT' controller. This is standard on the E350d and an option on this E220d, but it's money well spent to give the car such a breadth of talent. Backing up this broad array of skills, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel in the E220d is right up there with the best in class for refinement. Even when pressed hard, it refuses to be noisy or harsh, which all adds to the feeling of assured quality in the E-Class. For those who need the extra power for their own desires or perhaps to tow a horsebox, the E350d's V6 turbodiesel is equally smooth and comes with a massive slug of torque at little more than tickover. Strong acceleration for both diesel models and add to the appeal.
Any notion that an executive car from Mercedes has to be sober is blown away by this E-Class. With much of its style borrowed from the sleek S-Class luxury model, it brings an immense grace to the car and makes you feel good about it long before you've even opened the door. Of course, the looks and appearance of any car are subjective, but it's hard to argue this is not a very handsome machine. As a result, it's no surprise to find out the E-Class makes up one in every five cars sold by the Stuttgart-based company. That also accounts for how important this model is to the three-pointed star. As usual, the brand has developed both saloon and estate bodystyles, launching with the saloon we tried. Inside, the dash has a clear instrument cluster directly ahead of the driver and an 8.4-inch thin film transistor screen mounted high in the centre of the dash. You can use the display to work all of the usual functions, such as DAB digital radio and the standard Garmin sat-nav, and it all works very well. As an option, Mercedes supplies its 'COMAND Online' system and a larger 12.3-inch screen for the infotainment. This results in the main dash instruments and the second screen merging into one large sweep across the binnacle for a high-tech and very modern style. Out back, the saloon model's 540-litre luggage compartment is one of the largest in its class.
This E220d with its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is the volume E-Class variant. With 194hp, it has all off the performance most drivers will ever need and it also provides company car tax-friendly emissions. Prices for this diesel start at £36,000 and head on up to £39,000 before you add any extras. While that might be a little more than some of the Mercedes' key rivals, it's still less than if you make the jump into the V6 turbodiesel model. That will cost you from £45,000 to £47,000 depending on which trim level takes your fancy. However, all E-Class models come with the 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox as standard, so the overall cost balances out compared to direct competitors from Audi, BMW and Jaguar. The SE trim level is the starting point in the E-Class range. If you pick the E220d with this spec, you get 17-inch alloy wheels as standard. Every car in the line-up has LED front and rear lights, as well as electrically folding door mirrors. 'SPEEDTRONIC cruise control' keeps the car a pre-set distance from the vehicle in front and adjusts the speed to maintain that gap. When you come to a halt, Mercedes' 'Parking Pilot' will guide the car into a space and it works for both parallel and perpendicular bays. More help with parking is offered by a reversing camera.
For most E-Class customers, diesel engines will be at the top of their priority list. The best seller in the range is this E220d and, for this tenth generation E-Class, Mercedes has fitted a 2.0-litre turbodiesel in place of the previous 2.1-litre unit. It makes a big difference to this most popular version of its large executive saloon as the E220d now delivers 72.4mpg combined consumption on the New European Drive Cycle compared to the last one's 53.3mpg. On top of that, carbon dioxide emissions are down to 102g/km from the old car's 139g/km if you stick with the smaller 17-inch wheels. Those are massive improvements and all the more impressive when you consider this E-Class is now also much quicker and way more refined. Just as importantly for Mercedes, the E-Class betters its rivals from Audi, BMW and Jaguar by using less fuel and creating fewer harmful tailpipe gasses. Making the E-Class able to travel further for every gallon of fuel it uses obviously cuts down on emissions. To take that even further, Mercedes has fitted an 'AdBlue' reservoir. This 23-litre tank contains a urea additive that mixes with the hot exhaust gases from the engine. As the urea combines with these fumes, it turns many of the harmful chemicals into nothing more noxious than water and nitrogen - and that's what makes up most of the Earth's atmosphere. This tank should last the distance between routine services, but it can also be topped up if necessary.
Without any hesitation, we can say the E-Class remains a bastion of Mercedes design principles. That makes it a very serious contender for your attention in the full-sized Executive sector. Nothing new there, perhaps, but what it does offer that's been missing a little in the past is the extraordinary levels of refinement as you drive. The result is a car that appeals to Mercedes' core buyers but also has the ability to attract new customers looking for something to cover huge miles in comfort. There's no doubt the E-Class will rack up those distances without raiding the bank, either. This E220d variant's 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is a very significant motor for the E-Class, and not just because it powers the best seller in the range. It's among the most frugal in its class and has lower emissions than most rivals, which means it makes sense for the large number of business drivers who make up the bulk of buyers. In short, it's a very complete proposition.
In tenth generation guise, the Mercedes E-Class has set the standard for its Executive segment rivals. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer in the current revised range.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a reputation for buttoned-down efficiency. It's one that has been continued by this vastly improved tenth generation version launched in 2016, which retains a sensible side but dials up the desirability, aiming to offer a smarter, more prestigious approach to Executive class motoring than its closest German rivals. It does so with efficient engines, astonishing technology and comfort that makes you question the need for a larger luxury saloon.
No car epitomises what Mercedes-Benz stands for better than this one - the E-Class. We've known it by that name since 1986 but the history of this model actually dates all the way back to 1953 and the introduction of the original 'W120' series design, widely regarded as the brand's first truly modern motor car. And this model has remained truly modern throughout the many generations since, pioneering everything from safety passenger cell technology to turbodiesel engines, innovation that continues here in this much improved MK10 version. This time round, there's more stylish design, extra technology, even more safety provision and, most crucially, some all-new - and very efficient - diesel engines. Is it all enough to frighten rivals as good as BMW's 5 Series, Audi's A6 and the Jaguar XF? Let's find out.
Some full-sized Executive saloons claim to be sporty: BMW's 5 Series, Jaguar's XF. Others, like this one, simply don't feel the need to try that hard - unless an AMG V8 happens to beat beneath the bonnet. There's a base 184hp E200 petrol variant if you want it but almost all E-Class buyers select a diesel, probably the four cylinder 2.0-litre 194hp biturbo unit you'll find in the E220d most customers are going to choose. The gearbox it comes mated to is a nine-speed 9G-Tronic auto. Rest to 62mph here occupies 7.3s and there's the option of 4MATIC 4WD if you want it. Those in search of more diesel performance are offered a 3.0-litre six cylinder unit in the E400d putting out 340hp and capable of rest to 62mph in 4.9s. E400d variants come only with 4MATIC 4WD. There are also a couple of 'EQ Power' Plug-in hybrids, both of which mate a 2.0-litre combustion engine with a 122hp electric motor - namely the E300 de diesel derivative and the E300e petrol variant. Further up the range, there are various Mercedes-AMG petrol performance variants. The E 53 4MATIC+ derivative uses a 3.0-litre biturbo inline six cylinder engine featuring the brand's latest EQ boost technology and putting out 435hp. Beyond that, there's the 4.0-litre V8 E 63 4MATIC+ models. Even on mainstream E-Class models, handling should be sharper than you might expect, thanks to various 'Direct Control' suspension systems with selective damping. There's also the option of an 'Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension' set-up offering the kind of pillowy ride that previously, you could only find on a larger Mercedes S-Class-sized Luxury saloon. A 'Dynamic Select' switch in the cockpit enables the driver to select from four 'Air Body Control' modes: 'Comfort', 'ECO', 'Sport' and 'Sport+'. The additional 'Individual' option allows drivers to configure their vehicle to suit their own preferences.
This tenth generation E-Class is slightly larger than its predecessor, its wheelbase having grown by 65mm and its overall length by 43mm. In design, it displays hallmark Mercedes-Benz saloon proportions, the elongated bonnet coupled with a coupe-esque roof that flows into a sensual, broad-shouldered tail. The silhouette is characterised by short overhangs, a long wheelbase, large wheels and taut well-defined flanks displaying a more dynamic feature line. At the rear end, broad shoulders above the rear wheel arches lend the E-Class a more powerful character. As usual, there's the option of an estate variant for those wanting it, this derivative offering a huge 1,820-litre boot. Inside, the centre of the dash is dominated as usual in this class of car by a colour infotainment display but this one's bigger than normal, 12.3-inches in size, and available in two sophisticated forms. In addition, touch-sensitive control buttons on the steering wheel make their first appearance in a car. Like a smartphone interface, they respond precisely to horizontal and vertical swiping movements, allowing the driver to control the entire infotainment system using finger swipes without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. Further controls for the infotainment system are provided in the shape of a touchpad with controller in the centre console, which can even recognise handwriting, and the Linguatronic voice control system. There are also direct-access buttons for controlling functions such as the air-conditioning system or for convenient activation and deactivation of certain driver assistance systems. Plus of course it all feels suitably premium, with leather-covered doors and subtle ambient lighting. High-quality materials include open-pore woods, wood with what Mercedes calls 'a yachting look' and a novel metal fabric.
Prices start at around £38,000 for either the E200 petrol version or the 2.0-litre biturbo E220d diesel variant that model customers will choose; that's based on entry-level 'SE' trim. There's a premium of around £2,500 necessary if you want to upgrade to sportier-looking 'AMG Line' spec. If you want the pokier 3.0-litre E400d 4MATIC+ diesel variant, you're looking at a starting price of around £55,000 for the only 'AMG Line' trimmed variant on offer. The two Plug-in hybrid derivatives are priced at around £48,000. Across the range, the standard specification is as complete as you'd have a right to expect for the prices being asked. All models feature a Garmin Map Pilot navigation system with a 8.4-inch display, Parktronic parking sensors with a reversing camera and a Park Pilot self-parking system. There's also leather upholstery with heated front seats, LED headlights and taillights, 64-colour selectable LED interior lighting, two-zone automatic climate control, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with dual touchpads, electrically folding mirrors and 17-inch wheels (or 18-inchers on the E400d). The 'AMG Line' models come with AMG exterior styling including unique bumpers and side skirts, larger 19-inch alloy wheels, perforated front brake discs, a three-spoke AMG steering wheel and Artico leather and Dynamica microfiber upholstery with a seat comfort package. The E400d model comes with Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension as standard, as well as COMAND satellite navigation with 12.3-inch display and remote online services. Safety-wise, there's a 'Collision Prevention Assist Plus' autonomous emergency braking system, plus a 'Pre-Safe' anticipatory safety system (including 'Pre-Safe Sound', which helps prevent damage to hearing).
For a car that performs as broad a remit as the E-Class, encompassing everything from German domestic market taxi fleets to family transport, company cars and all points in between, there's a pressing requirement for the car to turn in some great efficiency measures. To that end, Mercedes has worked hard to improve running costs this time round. Let's look at the WLTP-rated figures. The efficient 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine in the volume E220d model manages 43.5-51.4mpg on the combined cycle and up to 122g/km of CO2. If you go for the six cylinder E400d diesel, the saloon version of that variant manages 42.8-37.7mpg and up to 157g/km - not bad for a 4WD high performance diesel full-suzed executive model. The Plug-in versions will really help your tax return; the E300 de offers an official CO2 reading of just 41g/km. And otherwise? Well this model series is designed for the long haul. There's plenty of proof of that: Greek taxi driver Gregorios Sachinidis clocked up 2.9 million miles in his 1976 240D and though build quality took a bit of a dip with the W120 series range we had between 1995 and 2003, it's now better than ever with this tenth generation version. This car will easily out-last you, one reason why all-important residual values have traditionally been strong with diesel and lower-order petrol engines. Unless you do something silly like specify an overly bright colour scheme, you can expect to get over 60% of your initial purchase price back after three years.
The Mercedes E-Class puts in an impressive performance. Beforehand it felt like quite an expensive car. Now it feels like one that's pricey but which offers a compelling value proposition. It drives with genuine polish, yet is capable of stepping from cruiser to carouser without breaking a sweat. Operating the car is relatively easy, and you rarely feel as if it's imposing its will on you, unlike certain rivals we could mention. The abiding impression is that this is a very carefully considered vehicle, developed by a company steeped in a proud engineering tradition. The latest changes future-proof the E-Class' emissions a little against the constant assault from its key rivals. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this tenth generation model though, is the fact that its appeal has broadened so far. It was once hard to see anybody under the age of fifty contemplating an E-Class. A more dynamic image and a focus on sharper design and driving dynamics has seen that demographic become younger. What's more, all this has been achieved diluting this design's Stuttgart DNA - and without alienating its legacy market. That is the mark of a very special car.
By Jonathan Crouch
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a reputation for buttoned-down efficiency. It's one continued by this vastly improved eighth generation version which retains a sensible side but dials up the desirability, aiming to offer a smarter, more prestigious approach to Executive class motoring than its closest German rivals. It does so with efficient engines, astonishing technology and comfort that makes you question the need for a larger luxury saloon.
4dr saloon, 5 dr estate (2.1, 3.0 diesel, 1.8, 3.0, 3.5, 5.5, 6.2 petrol, 2.1 diesel/electric hybrid)
No car epitomises what Mercedes-Benz stands for better than this one - the E-Class. We've known it by that name since 1986 but the history of this model actually dates all the way back to 1953 and the introduction of the original 'W120' series design, widely regarded as the brand's first truly modern motor car. And this model has remained truly modern throughout the eight generations since, pioneering everything from safety passenger cell technology to turbodiesel engines, innovation that continues here in this much improved 'W212' series version, the most comprehensively revised Mercedes-Benz ever. And it needs to be. Much, after all, has happened in the executive saloon sector since this MK8 model E-Class was first introduced here back in 2009, with all-new versions of both its main competitors, the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6, as well as stronger opposition from lower volume segment rivals like Jaguar's XF and the Lexus GS. No longer was it enough for the Stuttgart's most important car to be merely big, refined, efficient and classy. Extra technology was needed - and a bit of extra character too, both of which are apparently provided by the vastly improved eighth generation version introduced early in 2013, the car we're going to test here. You'll recognise it by its more curvaceous nose but beyond the smarter look lie the more important state-of-the-art virtues this E-Class will need if it's to continue to be its maker's most profitable model. As before, its market appeal will be vast, with private buyers the focus of pretty Coupe and Cabriolet versions and the far larger business sector targeted by the saloon and estate variants we're going to talk about here. One of these must be almost all things to all commercial people, as appealing to, say, a taxi operator in ordinary base diesel form as in higher spec it will be to a top executive. It must, in short, be a very thoroughly developed product indeed. Let's put it to the test.
Mercedes is usually careful not to meddle too fundamentally with the things that define its most popular products, especially when it comes to aesthetics. Here, it's different. E-Class customers who previously defined this car by its twin headlamp set-up and that prominent Three-Pointed Star atop the traditional upright lamella grille must now get used to quite a different look. The traditional bonnet mascot's gone, replaced by a larger brand badge in the centre of a more prominent front grille flanked by a redesigned pair of curvaceously flowing headlamps. These now operate within a single lens that incorporates flowing light elements intended to maintain the typical four-eyed look that has come to characterise this car. The swept-back bonnet has also been restyled so that its contours merge elegantly with the smartened front end, while at the side, the shape appears to have been stretched thanks to a sharper creaseline beginning on the rear doors and extending into the tail lights. These have also been smartened, with a two-tone look and LED technology that offers up a distinctive nightime visual signature. We're talking then, of a package of changes that go a bit further than you'd expect from a mid-term facelift, an approach continued on inside. Slip behind the wheel and smarter materials with meticulous detailing serve to raise the perceived quality and functionality of this car. There's a redesigned centre console too, with extra storage space making up for the fact that the door pockets are as small as ever. As before, you sit quite low and you'd be excused for some initial confusion with all the stalks, paddles and buttons that need to be mastered on the nappa-leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, along with the endless menus of the standard COMMAND infotainment system whose 7" colour screen dominates the top of the dash. But you quickly adjust, not only to these but also to familiar E-Class anomalies like the foot-operated parking brake and the steering column-mounted gearstick. And once you have, you're set to more readily appreciate ergonomic design that's just that bit more special this time around. Perhaps it's the lovely analogue clock positioned between a smarter set of dash-top vents. The tight, precise panel gaps. Or the Artico stitched leather trim on the dashboard and the beltline of the doors. Moving into the back, the large door aperture aids easy entry and once inside, headroom is good, though there's not quite as much rear legroom as the car's dimensions might suggest. It's quite enough for long distance comfort though, provided you're not stuck in the middle where you've to straddle a prominent propshaft tunnel. Out back, the 540-litre boot is slightly bigger than you'll find in a BMW 5 Series, an Audi A6 or a Jaguar XF and for not much extra, you can have it with this neat pull-down Easy Pack boot box. Unfortunately, the option to extend the cargo area with a useful 60:40 split-folding rear bench is an expensive extra. Still, if that's something you're likely to be doing on a regular basis, you'd be better off looking at the spacious estate version, which ups luggage capacity to a 695-litre total, extendable to -1950-litres by flattening the back seat. That's significantly more than rival BMW 5 Series Touring and Audi A6 Avant models can offer.
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Insist on a full Mercedes dealer service history, especially for the most recent models whose lengthy warranty - effectively for the life of the car - is dependent on proper servicing by an authorised agent. Check that all the accessories work and watch out for cosmetic damage which can be expensive to correct. These are popular family cars, so check for wear and tear in the rear. Also look for the usual signs of wheel kerbing and poorly repaired accident damage. Mercedes experienced problems with the piezo electric injectors on the E250CDI and replacing them within factory tolerances seems to be a problem for many dealerships, resulting in sub-par economy.
(approx. based on E250 model) Allow around £90 for a set of front brake pads and £75 for the rear and about £375 (excluding catalyst) for a factory exhaust system. A full clutch replacement would cost around £295, a radiator is about £245 whilst a starter motor can be up to £250. A new alternator would be in the region of £500.
Some full-sized Executive saloons claim to be sporty: BMW's 5 Series, Jaguar's XF. Others, like this one, simply don't feel the need to try that hard - unless an AMG V8 happens to beat beneath the bonnet. It doesn't here. Like almost all E-Class buyers, I've chosen a diesel - but rather a nice one, the top 252bhp V6 E350 BlueTEC. Assuming you've not had the minor lottery win that would open up ownership of the top 5.5-litre E63 AMG turbocharged petrol flagship, the car I've got here represents the sole high performance option in the range, 620Nm of torque hurling you to 62mph in 6.6s en route to an artificially limited 155mph maximum. But would you really want to go that fast in an E-Class? Well, should the need arise, surprisingly these days, you just might. Dynamically you see, this car is much improved over the original version of the same design we first saw back in 2009. For a start, all models get an improved 'Direct Control' suspension set-up with selective damping with is further firmed up on AMG Sport models like this one. So the rear wheel drive chassis actually feels unexpectedly responsive when you pitch the car into a tight corner, especially if, as here, your car is fitted with the optional AirMATIC air suspension set-up with Adaptive Damping and you've switched off the magic carpet 'Comfort' mode in favour of 'Sport'. So you need to spend some extra money if you really want a dynamic drive. But then, to be fair, that's also the case with this car's two closest rivals, BMW's 5 Series and Audi's A6. Traditionally, the advantage with both of these cars was that you actually felt something back from their steering systems through the corners - in contrast to the vague old rack provided on the original version of this car. Mercedes though, has caught up a bit with this revised version, fitting a 'Direct Steering' system that more accurately varies the level of assistance to the speed you're travelling at. It's still not especially rewarding but it is an improvement. If you're fortunate enough to drive a top E63 AMG V8 model though, with its electro-mechanical speed-sensitive AMG steering, you can see just how much better it could be. The same applies to the gearbox. The 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed transmission all mainstream E-Class models use is smooth but not especially responsive unless you use the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Switch to an E63 and its AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed sports automatic set-up and you'll see how much better a Mercedes auto 'box can be. Talking of the E63, that model's bi-turbo V8 comes with either 557 or 585bhp but it only comes with two wheel drive: the desirable 4x4 E63 variant unfortunately can't be engineered in right hand drive form. This top V8 AMG version sits at the top of a slimmed-down petrol-powered E-Class range that's now based around a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine rather than the previous 1.8 - and rather a clever one too, with direct injection and twin scroll turbocharging. This efficient BlueDIRECT unit comes in two different states of tune, with even the base E200 offering 184bhp, good for 62mph in 7.9s on the way to 145mph. Beyond that, the pokier E250 has 211bhp and improves these figures to 7.4s and 151mph: not bad for a car able to return nearly 50mpg in normal use. That might make you think twice about choosing one of the 2.1-litre diesels that almost all UK E-Class buyers tend to want - but probably not for very long. There's 30% more pulling power on offer from the two four cylinder CDI units, with the 400Nm available from the 170bhp E220CDI, enough to get it to 62mph in 8.7s on the way to 141mph. With 204bhp on tap, the pokier E250 CDI improves those figures to 7.5s and 150mph. Exactly the same turn of speed in fact as you'll get from probably the most interesting variant in this revised E-Class line-up, the diesel/electric E300 BlueTEC Hybrid. This shares the E250 CDI's same 204bhp diesel engine but adds a 27bhp electric motor to it so that manoeuvring, parking and setting off a modest throttle loads for up to two-thirds of a mile are all conducted exclusively using power from the 19 kW lithium-ion battery. The diesel engine also switches itself off when coasting at speeds of up to 100mph. Truly future-proofed executive motoring.
Think of Mercedes and you might think of luxury limousines, glamorous roadsters, championship-winning racing cars or unbreakable commercial vehicles. In fact though, this car, the E-Class, is actually the rock on which the brand is built - and has been for over six decades. It hasn't always been the most inspiring choice in its sector, but legions of loyal owners have never minded that. Other Directorship-level models, they reason, might be slightly plusher or a little better to drive but none has the sense of occasion that this one brings with it. You'll have worked hard to be in a position to enjoy a car like this and you need to feel rewarded when at last, you take possession of the keys. Here you will be: it's as simple as that. And in a more efficient, smarter and more dynamic way at the wheel of this vastly improved eight generation version. It's a car now able to make a much stronger case for itself, not just amongst the typical heartland of Mercedes customers but also with younger buyers and those who would once have turned to a BMW for driving excellence and an Audi for design focus. What's more, it's managed this without diluting the very DNA that makes a Mercedes what it is. All of which means that if you've always wanted one, you've now more reasons than ever to wish upon a Star.
The nation's business elite usually take quite a shine to the Mercedes E-Class. June Neary decides whether the tenth generation version floats her boat.
The E-Class is an institution at Mercedes Benz, an executive car for the discerning customer that's not quite as over-blown as the S-Class luxury saloon but up a good few notches up the plush scale from the C-Class compact executive. Its arch rivals are the similarly Germanic BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 as well as Jaguar's elegant XF, the Lexus GS and a few others. The E-Class has a definite place in the world and in the market and that leaves Mercedes free to concentrate on getting it absolutely right. So much about the E-Class is to do with prestige. It isn't extrovert in the way that a sports car or a big 4x4 might be. It's actually quite low key to look at but those noble lines and the discreet cabin with its high quality materials are there to say something about its owner. The people who drive the E Class, they say, are mature, professional and discerning. They know a quality motorcar when they see one and they have the financial means to install one on their driveway. At least, that's the image Mercedes likes to groom for the car. I probably don't fit the bill as the typical E-Class customer but I know what I like and the signs for the tenth generation version of this executive express are promising.
There's a load of room inside the E-Class. I know that there's reclining seats and more space than most semi-detached houses in the back of the longer-wheelbase S-Class but most people don't really need all that. For most car journey purposes, the space in the back in the E is all you could want. With three rear seat occupants, things can get a little cosier but it's still no real inconvenience. There are lovely materials used on the door panels and the dash and while the controls might seem be a little complex initially, there's a lot to configure and the essentials can be grasped in reasonably short order. The amount of technology shoehorned into the E-Class really is remarkable and the most eye-opening features are aimed at improving the car's safety credentials. Mercedes likens the systems to an 'intelligent partner' who can detect and react to danger, which sounds like an automated back seat driver chiming in every time they think you're going to fast or too close to the car in front. The reality is that the systems are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible until stronger intervention is absolutely necessary. Probably the cleverest technology is provided by the optional 'DRIVE PILOT' system that when activated, allows the car to pretty much drive itself, working with the adaptive cruise control and active steering systems to keep the E-Class rolling in its chosen lane at any chosen speed up to 130mph. I tried it. It was eerie. Yes, I could live without it.
A lot about the character of your E-Class depends on the engine that you've chosen to have plumbed in up front. There's a 258bhp 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel unit fitted to the E350d, but most will prefer the 194bhp four cylinder powerplant installed in the volume E220d variant I tried. This all-new 2.0-litre engine is right up there with the best in class for refinement. Even when pressed hard, it refuses to be noisy or harsh, which all adds to the luxury feel. It also makes a solid business case thanks to 72.4mpg combined consumption and 102g/km carbon dioxide emissions. Rather than turning the E Class into a sports car (that job is left to some of the more exotic Mercedes-AMG variants further up the range), the E220d's engine invites you to waft around the place. It's very reassuring to know that there's this reserve of power there should you need it to overtake dawdlers or make it through that gap in the traffic. The effect is relaxing and it's enhanced by the creamy automatic gearbox and the comfortable driving position. The E-Class isn't small and it can be tough to thread through busy streets but you always feel shielded from the outside world and that's a mark of a good executive car. If you really don't want to fuel from the black pump but need efficient returns, there's a 184bhp E200 base petrol variant. And a 279bhp E350e petrol electric Plug-in hybrid derivative with a 20 mile all-electric driving range.
You didn't expect an E-Class to be cheap did you? It isn't but it's competitive with other mainstream full-sized executive rivals. Given the need for this E-Class model to slot into the Mercedes range between the smaller C-Class compact executive model and the larger S-Class full-Luxury segment saloon, you could pretty much guess at this car's pricing span: so if you're reckoning that most mainstream E-Class models will be sold at figures starting just above £35,000 and ranging up to just below £50,000, then you're about right. This car was launched in saloon and estate guises, with Coupe and cabriolet versions to follow. On to engines. All are paired with automatic transmission - in the case of mainstream variants the super-smooth 9G-TRONIC PLUS 9-speed set-up - and the sales focus is very firmly on diesel, possibly the 258bhp 6 cylinder 3.0-litre E350d diesel, but more probably the E220d variant I tried. Inevitably, this four cylinder derivative, priced from around £36,000, will be the volume seller but bear in mind that finding the extra £9,000 necessary to upgrade to an E350d does also get you a lot more equipment.
There'd be hell to pay at Mercedes-Benz if the E-Class was anything other than a leader in the executive car field and the people behind it can rest easy. The car impresses on numerous levels, with the comfort, technology, performance and efficiency of the E220d model coming in for particular praise. In short, you'd like one.