If you want a slice of the executive lifestyle, the sharp-looking, high-technology, luxury Mercedes-Benz E-Class fits the bill perfectly. It’s available both as a large saloon and an even more practical five-door estate. Great for long-distance business trips or packing it full with the family and heading to the Lakes.
The fifth generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class arrived in the UK in 2016. You can quickly tell the difference from its predecessor by glancing at the front. The earlier models have a double headlamp design and feature the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star on top of the bonnet.
A large star badge takes a prominent position right in the middle of the front grille on the later versions, and all the lights are incorporated into a single headlamp unit. Happily, the previous model is still a great-looking car that oozes class and prestige like an automotive version of a five-star hotel lobby.
A great-looking car that oozes class and prestige
What’s it like to drive?
If you've had a mega stressful day at work, come home, have your tea, wait until the traffic dies down and then take your Mercedes-Benz E Class out for a drive again. It’s so relaxing, hushed and comfortable to be behind the wheel of, you might just want to keep going. It’s perfect for soaking up motorway miles.
Models equipped with the optional air suspension are even better and make you feel like you’re floating along on your own personal magic carpet. On twisty roads and around town, the E-Class feels perfectly fine to drive, even if the handling isn't quite as sharp as a BMW 5 Series or a Jaguar XF.
It’s perfect for soaking up motorway miles.
If you have high expectations of owning a Mercedes-Benz, the E-Class certainly won’t disappoint when you step inside. The cabin is elegantly designed and beautifully put together. Even when you’re stuck in London traffic going nowhere, this car always exudes a touch of class that makes you feel good.
Information is displayed in stunning clarity on dual 12.3-inch screens. To keep your hands where they should be, Mercedes has cleverly added control touchpads to the steering wheel.
Getting comfortable behind the steering wheel is effortless, and all models feature heated seats. Step into the back, and the feeling of quality and sense of luxury remains strong. There's lots of space in the back, which is hardly a surprise as, at home in Germany, Mercedes-Benz builds a version of the E-Class for taxi drivers.
The 2016-onwards entry-level SE trim comes very well equipped indeed. Leather trim, super-bright LED headlights, keyless entry, digital radio and a reversing camera are all fitted as standard. And get this, for its party piece, the E-Class can search for parking spaces it will fit into and then park itself. AMG models add a sporty-looking body kit, along with vegan-friendly synthetic leather, that looks and feels every bit as good as the real thing.
The E-Class provides sufficient space in the back for passengers, with great leg room considering it's a long car (4.7 metres). But on the other hand, the sloping roof means that headspace may be a little snug if your passengers in the back are over six feet tall. There's no fifth seat in the back, meaning there's plenty of space for the two in the back with a storage tray and cup holder separating the two seats which makes the car feel more spacious.
The boot can hold 450 litres but bare in mind it's fairly shallow. But the rear seats fold down well so you could easily slide a bike in or more luggage if required.
Running costs and reliability
Shame on you if you hit a drive-through coffee stop on the motorway and risk spilling your coffee on the dashboard or dropping egg mayo sandwich filler on the leather seats. If you insist on eating inside the E-Class, at least you’ll find plenty of cupholders and cubby holders to store food throughout the cabin.
The boot is a decent size - it has to be, to enable all those taxis to carry people’s luggage at Munich airport. The only slightly cheeky thing is that despite Mercedes-Benz being generous with equipment in most areas, the two little levers in the boot that flip the back seats down are an optional feature.
What we love
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a little bit pricier than some of its rivals. It’s so well equipped and so comfortable, we think it’s worth it. Although not the most powerful engine in a line-up that offers petrol, diesel and hybrid power units, the 2.0-litre diesel should provide all the performance you’ll need.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class can be one of the most relaxing cars money can buy. We love how it soaks up the bumps, especially if your car has the optional air suspension fitted. Wind, tyre and road noise can barely be heard, and you can often arrive at your destination feeling fresher than when you set out.
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Let's get the single potential downside front and centre. For the seriously sporting driver, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class doesn't handle quite as well as rivals like the BMW 5 Series and the Jaguar XF. Frankly speaking, who cares? It still tackles corners and twisty roads perfectly well. Style, class and comfort are what people want in a large executive car, and the E-Class has those attributes inside –along with a lot more besides.
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