There's no denying that the Mercedes E-Class is a fantastic executive saloon car – its sleek dimensions are subtle yet stylish, the interior is pure quality and the handling as good as you could wish for. It comes in three main specifications – entry-level SE, mid-range AMG Sport and the top-of-the-range performance model, the E63 AMG – and has an extensive selection of engines, with even the cheapest E200 CDI turbodiesel offering good performance. Fuel economy is equally impressive, especially with the introduction of the E300 Bluetec Hybrid diesel. While it can’t match the Jaguar XF or BMW 5 Series for driving experience, the E-Class is definitely safer and much more comfortable. The E500 and top-spec E63 AMG can go seriously fast, with the E63's 5.5-litre V8 producing a mammoth 549bhp. We’d recommend going for the E220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY for its great economy and cheaper price, but consider the E350 CDI for the best blend of performance and economy, if you don’t mind the higher price. As well as the saloon car, you can get the E-Class as an estate, a three-door coupe and a convertible cabriolet, all of which get a new front end and further improved interior from an update at the beginning of 2013.