Review

Mercedes E-Class saloon

Price  £35,935 - £51,320

Mercedes E-Class saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Lots of engine choices
  • High-quality interior
  • Very safe and quiet
Cons
  • Interior is quite reserved
  • AMG models expensive to run
  • Not as much fun as a BMW 5 Series

At a glance

The greenest
E220d SE 4dr £35,935
The cheapest
E220d SE 4dr £35,935
The fastest
E350d AMG Line 4dr £47,425
Top of the range
E350d AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr £51,320

“While it’s due for imminent replacement, the Mercedes E-Class is comfortable, well built saloon that sells in vast numbers with good reason.”

The Mercedes E-Class has long been a standard-bearer in the executive saloon market, selling in huge numbers and offering luxury, comfort and lots of in-car technology. The default decision company-car drivers usually have to make is between a C-Class, a BMW 5 Series or an Audi A6, but the Lexus GS and Jaguar XF offer something slightly different, while order books for the forthcoming Volvo S90 are now open, broadening executives’ options further.

There's a new E-Class looming large on the horizon, but the current car received a facelift in 2015 that brought more standard equipment and an improved range of engines. While the E-Class has always played second fiddle to the 5 Series in terms of outright driver involvement, it's arguably a more comfortable car on the road. The E-Class has, by default, smooth suspension for those who want their journeys to be cosseting, while some of the higher-spec models have sports suspension, which makes the E-Class feel a bit more agile in corners.

As the new model is already being built in Mercedes’ factories, the outgoing E-Class is only available in two core trim levels. We recommend the ‘entry-level’ SE, which comes with faux-leather seats, DAB radio, sat nav and climate control as standard. The AMG Night Edition adds a host of styling touches as well as sports suspension – although at almost £3,000 more than the standard car, it's hard to recommend.

Mercedes makes an E-Class Estate, E-Class Coupe and E-Class Cabriolet as well, and we’ve reviewed these cars separately. There's also the Mercedes-AMG E63 performance saloon, which has a spectacular turn of speed – but at over twice the price of a standard E-Class, this is best thought of as a separate model entirely.

The majority of E-Class drivers choose a diesel engine for their car. The E220d strikes a good balance between performance and economy: its 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds is paired to 64.2mpg fuel economy, while CO2 emissions of 114g/km mean road tax is only £30 a year, and Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company car tax is 22%. Do note that the new E220d will be better for company car drivers, with lower CO2 emissions incurring just 20% BiK tax. It's also worth mentioning that while the E-Class diesels are economical, they’re also slightly noisy – something that's been addressed with the new model.

Despite its status as an outgoing model, it's good to see that the E-Class remains a reliable car with satisfied owners. While a 61st-place finish (out of 200 cars) in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey may seem good rather than outstanding, the E-Class’ 67th-place finish for reliability was far better than the BMW 5 Series’ 119th-place result in this area – although that car is also due for replacement soon. The E-Class also scored the full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests, adding further reassurance.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.8 / 5

Entry-level Mercedes E-Class engines offer tax-friendly CO2 emissions

Engines, drive & performance

3.8 / 5

The driving experience in the Mercedes E-Class can be anything from mild to wild depending on which model you choose

Interior & comfort

4.4 / 5

All seats are comfortable in the Mercedes E-Class – the driver’s seat is highly adjustable, and the rear seats are slightly reclined

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

Rear-seat passengers in the Mercedes E-Class saloon have loads of head and legroom, while storage inside is decent

Reliability & safety

3.5 / 5

The Mercedes E-Class offers a vast and impressive list of safety equipment

What the others say

3.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"Although the Mercedes has a classy appearance, it's not quite as good looking as the Audi A6 or as good to drive as the BMW 5 Series. If you're after a car that puts comfort above driving dynamics, however, the E-Class is well worth a look. It is relatively expensive, though."
4 / 5
"With most of the engine choices, there's barely a whisper from under the bonnet when cruising, while wind and road noise are sealed out with ruthless efficiency. It makes for laid back driving mood in the Merc."
3 / 5
"The materials in your eyeline are pleasant and there's a sense of solidity. Look elsewhere, however, and the quality and finish of some panels are disappointing compared with some rivals."
What owners say 
4.368
4.4 /5 based on 100 reviews
72%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
14 Apr 2016
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