£34,440 - £60,185 Price range
33 - 134 MPG
The new E-class is longer than the model it replaces so there’s more passenger space, especially in the back. The interior has been redesigned to bring it up to speed with other Mercedes models – primarily the C- and S-Class – making it one of the most luxurious cars in the class.
Offering supreme comfort is one of the E-Class’ biggest goals and the £1,495 optional air suspension makes the executive saloon impressively cosseting, while the car’s class-leading aerodynamics lower wind noise. Mercedes has also shaved 100kgs off the car’s weight to improve fuel economy and handling.
Two diesels make up the somewhat limited engine line-up from launch. However, they are impressively frugal, decently fast and quieter than in the old model. Petrol models are on the way and there is also a hybrid version that comes with numerous financial benefits.
The E-Class gets plenty of equipment as standard – you get leather seats, sat-nav with an 8.4-inch display, parking sensors with a reversing camera, a self-park system, autonomous emergency braking and a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Coupe and Convertible E-Class models will arrive later in the cars life and feature similar interiors and engine ranges to the saloon. Check out the paint options in our Mercedes E-Class colours guide and see if it’s the right size for you with our Mercedes E-Class dimensions guide. If you’re looking for a high-performance executive saloon that doubles as a sports car, check out the upcoming Mercedes-AMG E63.
See how it compares to its closest rivals in our dedicated Mercedes E-Class vs BMW 5 Series vs Audi A6 group test review.
Mercedes has given the E-Class’ cabin the feel of the luxury S-Class and the majority of the range comes fitted with two huge 12.3-inch digital displays that give the rest of the interior a simple, high-quality feel. The curvy dashboard features leather and high-quality plastic inserts that, in more-expensive models, can be in contrasting colours.
The centrally-mounted 12.3-inch Comand infotainment screen is standard on the E350d and a £1,495 option on the E220d (in conjunction with the £495 12.3-inch Cockpit Display that replaces conventional dials and can transform into a huge sat-nav screen). It’s responsive to use, understands voice commands, plus has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone pairing.
Both screens can be controlled through two touchpads mounted on the steering wheel so you can access many of the car’s systems without having to take your hands off the wheel.
Mercedes E-Class passenger space
A longer wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) means the new E-Class is more spacious, especially for rear-seat passengers. Meanwhile, front-seat passengers are treated to heated leather seats and also get generous amounts of head and legroom.
Mercedes E-Class boot space
With 540 litres of room, the E-Class’s boot can hold a lot – it beats the 520-litre BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6 with its 530-litre load area. The Jaguar XF can carry just as much as the E-Class, but comes with split-folding rear seats as standard – a £345 option on the Mercedes.
If you’re looking for a comfy cruiser then the new E-Class should be top of your shopping list.
Buyers will get three suspension systems to choose from, but the first models tested were fitted with the company’s optional air suspension, which floats over potholes that would send shudders through the cabins of lesser vehicles.
Even more impressive is the car’s suite of electronic aids, such as the £1,695 optional Drive Pilot – something no direct rival currently offers. It uses the car’s adaptive cruise control and electric power steering to drive it autonomously at speeds of up to 130mph. It can even overtake other vehicles by itself – something it does automatically when you stroke the indicator stalk on the desired side. It’s not completely independent of the driver – UK laws mean you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel. Fail to do this and the system will pause its guidance until your hands are back on the controls.
The final layer of comfort comes from the standard-fit nine-speed automatic gearbox. It shuffles up and down the gears smoothly and shifts speeds can be altered via the vehicle’s settings.
Although there’s plenty of grip, direct steering and a suspension system that resists lean in the corners, ultimately, the Mercedes isn’t as much fun to drive as the sportier Jaguar XF or BMW 5 Series.
Two diesel engines are available on the E-Class from launch, while six- and eight-cylinder petrol options will inevitably follow and a hybrid version is also on the table.
Mercedes E-Class diesel engines
The entry level E220d is brand new and promises spectacularly low running costs thanks to fuel economy of 72mpg and annual road tax of £20. That’s 10mpg more than an equivalent BMW 520d and 8mpg more than the most fuel-efficient Audi A6, yet the E-Class still gets from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. The E220d uses 2.0-litre engine that replaces the old clattery 2.1-litre diesel of old – and it’s a vast improvement because it’s quiet and refined under load.
The 258hp E350d is arguably as quick as you need an executive saloon to be. It gets from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds and is surprisingly frugal too, with a combined fuel economy figure of 54mpg, even the annual road tax bill of £130 isn’t too bad relative to the turn of speed the car offers.
The Mercedes E350e plug-in hybrid is the most eco-friendly model in the range. Small details mark it out from other E-Class models such as a couple of badges, blue coloured brake calipers and a charging socket located underneath the tail light.
Inside, an extra readout on the twin 12.3-inch screens gives the driver information about remaining electric range, power usage and energy flow. Passenger space and practicality is unchanged, apart from a small step in the boot where the batteries are now located.
Four driving modes let you prioritise between charging the batteries, running silently on electricity or preserving energy for when it’s needed. The fourth, Hybrid mode, makes the most sense, because it uses the on-board technology to balance between performance and battery recharging.
The hybrid E-Class can run solely on electric power for up to 40 miles and the electric motor pulls strong up to city speeds of 30mph. The batteries can be charged either by the 2.0-litre petrol engine on the move or by a wall socket (taking three to four hours) when parked.
Deploying the combined power output of 282hp from a standstill results in a quick 0-62mph dash in 6.2 seconds. The E350e emits just 49g/km of CO2 and qualifies for free road tax, free London Congestion Charge and a £2,500 Government grant.
The new E-Class was tested by Euro NCAP in September 2016 and earned a top five-star rating. It scored an impressive 95% for adult occupant safety and an almost unheard of 90% for child safety, but its fairly low score of 62% for safety assistance tech is because lots of that kit is optional.
That said, all models come with nine airbags, an active bonnet that protects pedestrians from the car’s hard internals in the event of collision and active brake assist, which can automatically slow the car when it detects an imminent crash.
From launch, the E-Class will be offered with just two trim levels, but that’s less of a problem when you see the generous list of standard equipment.
Mercedes E-Class SE
Entry-level E-Class models come with 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels (depending on engine) and all-round LED lights, while inside they get heated leather seats and something called Parking Pilot, which can search for suitable spaces and park the car autonomously. Going for the more expensive engine also brings more standard kit – you get the larger 12.3-inch infotainment, compared to the basic 8.4-inch standard system.
Mercedes E-Class AMG Line
For an extra £2,495, AMG Line trim makes your E-Class look more distinctive. It gets an AMG bodykit, 19 inch alloys and perforated brake disks. Inside, the sporty makeover continues with a flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel, aluminium pedals and black roof lining.
Likely to be popular options are the Premium and Premium Plus packs. Costing £2,795, the former gets you automatic boot closing and a memory function for the front seats, mirrors and steering column. A large panoramic sunroof finishes off the pack. For £1,100 extra, the Premium Plus adds to that with a powerful, 13-speaker Burmester sound system and adaptive LED headlights with 84 individually-controlled diodes.
Facing tough competition from the BMW 5 Series and all-new Jaguar XF, the old Mercedes E-Class was in long need of an update. Thankfully, the new model ticks all the boxes offering S-Class levels of luxury in a smaller package – rocketing the E-Class back to the top of the class. The new diesel engine gives a level of refinement that was missing in the old model, while the autonomous driving system, superb nine-speed automatic gearbox and quiet interior make it an extremely relaxing way to cover huge distances.
Some buyers will prefer the sportier setups of the XF and 5 Series, but for everyone else the new E-Class looks to be the pick of the class. Watch the video below to see how it compares to the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series.