The Mercedes E-Class has recently been completely overhauled helping propel it straight to the head of the executive saloon class. We compare it side-by-side to the hugely desirable Audi A6 to help you decide which luxurious cruiser is for you. See how the E-Class and Audi A6 fare when compared to the BMW 5 Series in our video review with Mat Watson.
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Mercedes E-Class vs Audi A6 – styling
The new E-Class draws obvious styling cues from the current C-Class and S-Class. The design was heavily influenced by aerodynamics and weight saving, featuring lightweight aluminium panels to help performance and efficiency. UK models all get a sports grille as standard with the Mercedes emblem placed in the centre rather than atop the bonnet. Taillights with two bright LED elements echo the rest of Mercedes’ range, too.
The Audi A6 looks more squat than the E-Class with more sharp creases in lieu of the Mercedes’ curves. A broad hexagonal Audi grille defines the front end and gives the car an imposing appearance. The A6 also has the option of stylish matrix LED headlights – which adapt to road conditions to avoid dazzling other road users.
Mercedes E-Class vs Audi A6 – interior
The E-Class’ interior combines an array of upmarket materials that lend it an extremely stylish and luxurious feel. It’s spacious, packed with tech and exceedingly comfortable. On the other hand, the button layout can seem a little confusing and the infotainment system isn’t as user-friendly as that in the Audi or rivalling BMWs. The switchgear makes up for it, however, with even window switches featuring a metal finish – a small detail but one that seriously ramps up the perceived quality.
The A6’s interior is also well equipped, with plush leather seats and optional pinstriped wood trim adding a dash of luxury. Its button layout is much more straightforward than the Mercedes and its infotainment system is simpler to navigate. Where it falls down, however, compared to the Mercedes is its general design – while it’s handsome in isolation, it just doesn’t look as upmarket or as special as the Mercedes inside.
Mercedes E-Class vs Audi A6 – driving
As modern cars go, the A6 is by no means an uncomfortable car but it does fall short of the E-Class in almost every respect. The steering is less responsive and it doesn’t deliver the same sense of stability nor the same composure over bumps. It hits back with the optional quattro all-wheel drive system which adds all-weather ability and more grip in general.
Two suspension packages are offered for the E-Class – traditional steel springs and optional air suspension – the latter being unique in the class. Like the A6, optional 4matic all-wheel drive makes the E-Class a better option for those living in very rural areas. Compared to the Audi, the Mercedes has faster steering helping it feel more agile at speed and easier to manoeuvre around town while the suspension is marginally more able to deal with poor surfaces and sends fewer vibrations through the driver’s seat.
Mercedes E-Class vs Audi A6 – engines
The E-Class’ engine options include an efficient new 2.0-litre diesel with 195hp, a more powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 258hp and a petrol-hybrid E 350 version with 279hp – the latter can return 134mpg and emits a tax-busting 49g/km of CO2.
The Audi offers a choice of 2.0 and 3.0-litre diesels, but there’s no petrol option unless you select the performance focused S6. The diesel engines have all been proven in other Audi models and will be more than sufficient for most owners.
Mercedes E-Class vs Audi A6 – value for money
The E-Class saloon is priced from £35,935 but climbs to £47,425 for the E 350 d AMG Line. In terms of practicality, the Mercedes offers plenty of room inside and has 540 litres of boot space – fractionally more than the A6.
Audi A6 costs from £32,000 and climbs to £56,000 for a top-of-the-range model. There’s more than enough room for occupants in the Audi and it offers 530 litres of boot space.
Mercedes E-Class vs Audi A6 – verdict
Both the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6 are excellent luxury saloon cars that deliver excellent practicality, performance and efficiency. The A6 is slightly cheaper compared to the E-Class but, for us, the Mercedes has the edge.
The Mercedes offers a slightly more balanced driving experience with slightly more comfort and driver involvement. It also has a noticeably nicer interior that shames many luxurious cars from the sector above let alone its direct rivals.
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