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Mercedes E-Class saloon review (2016-2023)

"The Mercedes E-Class is a large executive car with a winning focus on comfort, luxury and technology"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.7 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£55,600 - £86,600

Pros

  • Excellent diesel engines
  • Comfortable
  • Hi-tech

Cons

  • Derivative styling
  • Some rivals are cheaper
  • BMW 5 Series better to drive

Verdict - Is the Mercedes E-Class a good car?

The Mercedes E-Class is in many ways the perfect representation of the German luxury car brand. It’s sleek, sophisticated and modern, but also traditional – being a saloon rather than an SUV – and built to a high standard. The latest version, updated in 2020, brings the kind of luxury you’d expect of a more expensive limo at a more reasonable price point.

Mercedes E-Class model models, specs and alternatives

The E-Class is a large executive saloon, which means it’s a rival for the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Lexus ES. While the 5 Series and even the A6 are more fun to drive, the E-Class has a more luxurious feel inside and is packed with the latest technology.

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Although it employs an eye-catching grille and a large Mercedes badge at the front, the E-Class saloon is quite understated overall. It has a less aggressive look than rivals such as the Lexus ES and Volvo S90, for example. In 2020 the car was updated with a refinished grille, different rear lights and new LED headlights, but you're only likely to notice them if you directly compare it to the previous version.

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The E-Class isn’t the best large executive car to drive but it instead focuses on the key area owners will care most about: comfort, especially at high speed. It’s very smooth on the motorway and stays very quiet inside, too.

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Diesel suits longer trips best, and the E 220 d model is a great option overall. It has 197bhp using a 2.0-litre diesel engine and is able to return up to 57.7mpg thanks in part to mild-hybrid assistance. Note that this is not a full-hybrid system like in other models in the E-Class range that can use electric power - it’s simply a tiny electric motor that boosts efficiency, hence the ‘mild’ term.

There are also more powerful and smoother diesel engines available too. The E 300 d 4MATIC (Mercedes’ name for its four-wheel drive models) is a more powerful version of the E220d that’s a bit less efficient, while the E 400 d 4MATIC uses a six-cylinder engine with 325bhp so it’s very luxurious to drive.

There’s even a plug-in hybrid diesel model, which is excellent for those who do only short and long-distance trips rather than something in between. It’s called the E 300 de and uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Low emissions and excellent fuel-efficiency make this a top choice for company-car drivers.

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Petrol engines kick off with the E 200, a 2.0-litre turbo with 194bhp, capable of around 40mpg, while the E 300 e plug-in hybrid model uses the same engine but combines it with an electric motor and 13.5kWh battery pack for 37g/km emissions and an official fuel-economy figure of over 170mpg.

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At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Mercedes-AMG E 53 manages a 0-62mph time of just 4.5 seconds thanks to the traction of its 4MATIC four-wheel-drive system and a boost from its ‘EQ’ electric motor. This is the first hybrid AMG model, with the technology used primarily to boost performance over the outgoing E 43, rather than shrink running costs. The E53 AMG is a strong rival to the Audi S6, BMW M550i xDrive and Jaguar XF S.

Star of the speed show is the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S. Its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 wields 604bhp and takes this big car from 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds. It's more than powerful enough to challenge V8-powered German rivals like the BMW M5 and Audi RS6, and we've reviewed it separately.

Mercedes has recently launched an all-electric version of the E-Class called the EQE. This shares very little in common with its combustion-engined sibling and has a near-400 mile range and a hi-tech interior with Mercedes’ new Hyperscreen infotainment system.

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Although the higher-end models usually make the headlines, no E-Class is a disappointment to drive. It doesn't seek to challenge the BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF for sharp steering and cornering reflexes, but it doesn't lag far behind. Its real trump card is a smooth and refined ride that makes long motorway journeys a pleasure, and its well-appointed interior helps, too.

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It's full of stylish design touches, is built from top-notch materials and loaded with standard equipment. There’s an air of modernity and high technology, too – with twin 12.3-inch screens coming as standard in the facelifted version, turning the dashboard into something more akin to a flight deck. It adds up to an experience rivals can't currently match.

The regular E-Class consists of two core trim levels AMG Line and AMG Line Premium, with the latter spawning the AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus version as well. A huge number of options and packs are available if you want to personalise your E-Class.

As the entry-point into the E-Class range, AMG Line specification cars are exceptionally well equipped, with adjustable driving modes, twin 12.3-inch infotainment screens with sat nav, DAB radio, keyless entry and leather upholstery with heated front seats.

The AMG Line Premium gets upgraded AMG alloy wheels and a 360-degree parking camera as standard, while the top-spec AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus trim enhances the car’s styling with gloss black trim, up to 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof and a different grille.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    E220d Sport 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £39,270

Most Economical

  • Name
    E300e AMG Line Advanced 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £67,160

Fastest

  • Name
    E450d 4Matic AMG Line Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £79,145
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