Mercedes has revealed the all-new E-Class for 2016. This fifth-generation model replaces the outgoing one which, on its release in 2009, was well-received for its impressive refinement and faultless build quality.
Replacing a car that was held in such high regard is no easy task, so how does the new car compare to the model it replaces? We’ve studied the two side-by-side to see what advantages the new car is set to bring to this competitive class, already occupied by the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.
Mercedes E-Class old vs new styling
The changes between old and new are fairly easy to spot from the outside. The 2016 E-Class has a smoother, softer appearance than the slightly broad-shouldered look of the previous car. The sleek shape is backed up by some impressive aerodynamic figures – a drag coefficient of just 0.23 is class-leading and should mean the new car is both significantly more frugal with fuel and less susceptible to wind noise at speed. The new model has grown slightly too – length has extended by 43mm and the wheelbase by 65mm.
It’s perhaps a shame that the new car loses the four headlight arrangement of the old pre-facelift E-Class – a feature unique within the Mercedes saloon car lineage since the second-generation E-Class launched in 1996. As a result, some might feel that the E-Class has lost some of its unique identity, a belief harmed further by the fact that, in profile, the new car looks remarkably similar to both its smaller C-Class and larger S-Class siblings.
Mercedes E-Class old vs new interior
The outgoing E-Class was one of the most sturdily built car in the segment but, compared to its latest rivals, its tall, narrow centre console is starting to look a little dated. The new model addresses this with a dashboard design heavily inspired by the larger S-Class. Four circular air vents dominate the centre of the cabin and two high resolution displays, each measuring 12.3 inches, sit side by side above them – one an optional replacement for the traditional dials, the other for infotainment duties.
Mercedes claims build quality has taken another step forward, and that the seats have been redesigned to boost comfort – something that was hardly found wanting from the old car. While exact interior dimensions are yet to be confirmed, the new car is claimed to be roomier than the outgoing model and, judging by the increased wheelbase, this seems very likely.
Mercedes E-Class old vs new driving
To improve both the driving experience and refinement, the new model benefits from much greater proportions of high-strength steel and aluminium in its construction – the front wings, bonnet and boot are all made from the latter metal. As a result, the latest E-Class weighs on average about 100kg less than the outgoing model.
The optional Air Body Control air suspension should deliver impressive levels of ride comfort, while the standard setup features adaptive dampers that can be adjusted to suit both road conditions and driving style. A sport set up drops the ride height by 15mm but might be too harsh for pitted British roads.
Mercedes E-Class old vs new engines
Once production of the new E-Class enters full swing, as many as eight engine choices will be available to buyers. From launch, however, two four-cylinder diesels will be offered.
The first, the E 220 d, replaces the somewhat rough 2.1-litre unit from the outgoing car. The twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre produces 195hp and 295lb ft of torque – the former representing a 25hp improvement over the old car. As a result, the 0-62mph time has dropped by 0.4 seconds to 7.3.
The more powerful launch option, the E 350 d, is a direct replacement for the old E 350. Figures of 258hp and 457lb ft represent improvements of 27hp and 59lb ft respectively. This has helped the 0-62mph time improve from 6.8 seconds to 5.9 seconds.
The reduced kerb weight, improved aerodynamic efficiency and standard-fit nine-speed automatic gearbox has had a significant benefit in fuel efficiency for both units. The E 350 d now achieves a claimed 55.4mpg – a huge 14.5mpg better than before – while the E 220 d is more frugal still. An official 72.4mpg means that not only is the E-Class far more efficient than before, but beats even the formerly class-leading (and less potent) Jaguar XF 2.0d.
A petrol-electric hybrid model is due to enter the range later in 2016. It will offer a total output of 279hp and, thanks to its ability to run for up to 19 miles on EV power alone, it is claimed to return a very impressive 134.5mpg.
Mercedes E-Class old vs new specs
In a first for any production car, the new E-Class features touch-sensitive controls mounted on the spokes of the steering wheel. Said to behave much like the screen of a smartphone in operation, they control many of the car’s infotainment functions, allowing the driver to keep their hands on the steering wheel. An optional wireless charging point for mobile devices adds further cutting edge tech lacking on the outgoing model.
Mercedes E-Class old vs new prices
The E 220 d in SE trim kicks the new model range off from £35,935 – £135 less than the equivalent version of the outgoing car. Prices for the 350 d have increased slightly though – the new £44,930 price tag represents a £2,920 increase. The new models are available to order now, with the first UK deliveries to be completed in May.
Save money on your Mercedes E-Class
As Mercedes seeks to rid itself of stocks of the old model, it’ll offer some fantastic discounts. Put the outgoing Mercedes E-Class in our car configurator to see the deals on offer. For more options, head over to our car chooser to narrow down you search.