Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (2020-2023) Review & Prices

The Mercedes E-Class is built for comfort and comes with an interior that oozes luxury, but if you’re after a big saloon that’s outright fun to drive then you’re better off looking elsewhere

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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Luxurious interior
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Great hybrid engine options

What's not so good

  • Alternatives are more fun to drive
  • Infotainment can be fiddly
  • Only AMG models get air suspension
At a glance
E-Class Saloon (2020-2023)
Body type
Available fuel types
Hybrid, Petrol, Diesel
Acceleration (0-60 mph)
5.1 - 7.4 s
Number of seats
Boot, seats up
370 - 540 litres - 4 Suitcases
Exterior dimensions (L x W x H)
4,953mm x 1,860mm x 1,481mm
CO₂ emissions
This refers to how much carbon dioxide a vehicle emits per kilometre – the lower the number, the less polluting the car.
33 - 188 g/km
Fuel economy
This measures how much fuel a car uses, according to official tests. It's measured in miles per gallon (MPG) and a higher number means the car is more fuel efficient.
39.2 - 235.4 mpg
Insurance group
A car's insurance group indicates how cheap or expensive it will be to insure – higher numbers will mean more expensive insurance.
44E, 36E, 41E, 38E, 43E, 45E, 46E, 37E
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Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (2020-2023)

Is the Mercedes E-Class Saloon a good car?

The Mercedes E-Class is the premium saloon for you if you’re after a more subdued, comfortable alternative to the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. In simpler terms, if the 5 Series is the Rolling Stones, the E-Class is all-out Barry White. It’s just smoother. 

There are plenty of models to pick from in the range, from entry-level cars that excel on a motorway cruise right up to the powerful AMG models that focus on performance above all else. There are Estate, Coupe, and Cabriolet models as well, which we’ve reviewed separately.

In 2020, every E-Class had some subtle design tweaks, including a new grille, bonnet and wheel designs, as well as new colour options. Inside things have changed too. There are new trim colours, leather seats come as standard, the seat design itself is new and the steering wheels have changed offering even more functionality.

The latest E-Class gets Mercedes’ newest infotainment set-up, which includes clever voice control features, a feature-rich sat nav and large twin displays. There’s a new touchpad controller for this system on the centre console, too, which does away with the old rotary dial controller. Some will like it, others won’t. 

There’s loads of room in the back seats, a big boot – especially in the estate model – and plenty of in-cabin storage, so the E-Class is a practical car. You’d hope so, given its dimensions.

You have to respect Mercedes for focusing on comfort with its E-Class, rather than worrying too much about sportiness

The latest E-Class features a range of new engines including petrol, diesel and plug-in power – the latter allowing you to drive to work on electric power alone. Even the more conventional engines feature mild-hybrid technology to improve efficiency. 

While not quite as fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series, the E-Class drives more smoothly over bumps on its standard-fit adaptive suspension. AMG models get adaptive air suspension as standard, which has a slightly stiffer default set-up. 

Clever driver assistance tech helps take the slog out of motorway trips, and Mercedes’ optional autonomous cruise control is one of the best systems of its type. It’s not perfect but is smoother than some other manufacturers’ systems. That said, it’d be nice if it was standard…

So, overall the E-Class is more suited to comfort than performance – so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a companion for long trips or a regular commute. Check out our latest Mercedes E-Class deals or have a look some great used Mercedes E-Class vehicles.

How much is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The price of a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (2020-2023) on Carwow starts at £25,240.

Alternatives to the E-Class include cars like the Audi A6 (starting from almost £39,000) and BMW 5 Series (Over £41,000), which make the Mercedes look expensive on paper. However, the E-Class comes with a higher level of standard specification in basic form – compared to high-end versions of the A6 and 5 Series, the gulf in prices isn’t so stark.

Performance and drive comfort

The Mercedes E-Class has multiple personalities – it’s easy to drive in town, comfortable on the motorway yet reasonably capable on country roads. But the BMW 5 Series has it licked for driving enjoyment

In town

The Mercedes E-Class creams over bumps like they’re not there and does an amazing job of cushioning you over speed humps, especially if you go for the admittedly pricey optional adjustable suspension that lets you choose from Comfort and Sport settings.

You’d think a big car like the E-Class could be a little intimidating to drive in town, but the opposite is true. All-round visibility is pretty good – even the back window is big – which makes it easy to spot cyclists and pedestrians.

Mercedes has also got the car’s control weights spot on. Its brakes are powerful but easy to modulate – dabbing them will not result in you headbutting the windscreen – and the light steering is perfect when you’re trying to negotiate 1800kg of German engineering down narrow streets.

The visibility, brakes and steering combine to make the E-Class pleasantly easy to manoeuvre. Its automatic gearbox means you can position the car at a crawl using the standard all-round parking sensors and reversing camera to ensure there are no expensive hiccups.

Naturally, you can upgrade to a 360-degree camera and if you can afford it then it’s worth doing because A – it looks cool and B – it’s actually very handy for avoiding wheel scuffs. 

On the motorway

The Mercedes E-Class is made for the motorway. At cruising speeds it glides along like the road is made of glass, the cabin is very quiet (though UK cars don’t come fitted with the double glazing you can have in Germany – grrr!) and the multi-adjustable seats are belters. 

Shove your foot on the accelerator and even basic models have decent overtaking power, aided by the car’s hybrid system which dishes out a mild electrical boost under acceleration and recoups power when you take your foot off the gas. Clever, clever stuff. 

The cruise control is not short of intellect either. It can accelerate, brake and steer itself on the motorway – all pretty standard – only Merc’s system can also adhere to speed limits, slow for junctions and steer around imminent collisions automatically. It’s good, although has a habit of detecting speed limits on other roads, suddenly cutting the car’s speed because it thinks you’re going too fast.

On a twisty road

Select Sport+ (the fruitiest of modes in the E-Class’ drive select system) and the car’s steering gets heavier, the throttle response gets sharper, the gearbox shifts more aggressively and the suspension gets firmer. The result? Well, clearly the E-Class is no sports car, but it grips with tenacity. 

It’s this multifaceted character that makes the E-Class such an easy car to recommend.

Space and practicality

The E-Class driving position is excellent, the back seat’s roomy and the boot is big and well designed. The only small gripe is that the admittedly large boot could be more practical 

The Mercedes E-Class interior has a laser focus on comfort – it really is extremely well thought out.

It nails the basics you’d expect of a car like this. You get multi-adjustable, very comfortable seats and a steering wheel that offers plenty of movement – but also covers things you may not have considered. 

The seat controls, for instance, are on the doors, where you can see them, so you don’t have to blindly fumble at the floor as you do in a BMW 5 Series. 

The steering wheel also moves electrically, so it’s easy to get it set just right, and behind it, you’ll find a stalk for the gearbox – so much easier than reaching down for a gear selector. 

The interior looks the business, too, and you get plenty of smaller storage spaces so it doesn’t end up looking like an episode of Hoarders. The door bins swallow a large bottle with room to spare, the glovebox is a decent size and you get a cubby for your phone in the centre console, complete with a USB-C, 12V socket and wireless charging. 

Under the centre armrest, you’ll find more storage and two more USB-Cs, plus the top of the armrest splits so you can trail cables out one side while resting your arm on the other. 

Space in the back seats

Tall adults will be happy in the back of the Mercedes E-Class, where they’ll have plenty of space and a decent amount of headroom even in cars fitted with the optional glass roof. That being said, a BMW 5 Series has a tiny bit more space.

Nevertheless, three adults will fit in the back of the Merc okay. You get more room than you would in the smaller C-Class although your middle passenger’s feet will have to straddle the large transmission tunnel running down the centre of the floor, and the low front seats mean they can’t squeeze their feet underneath.

On the upside, the E-Class’s large rear doors and the sheer amount of space on offer mean slotting a baby seat into the car’s ISOFIX mounts is easy, even with big baby seats.

And your rear-seat passengers won’t feel short-changed once they’re belted in. They get their digital controls for the ventilation system as well as a pair of USB-C plugs and a 12V socket. You’ll also find more storage under the back seat’s centre armrest along with a couple of cupholders that pop ou of the front. 

Boot space

The Mercedes E-Class has a class-leading capacity of 540 litres, 'blowing away' the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6’s boot capacity by, erm, 10 litres. Actually, the boxy shape of the Audi’s boot means it is slightly more practical.

You’d be pulling hairs to find much fault with the Merc’s load bay, though. Its lid rises electrically (a bit unnecessary) to reveal a fairly wide load opening and a small load lip for a saloon, which means you can load the car without breaking your back. 

It’s practically thought-out with tethers in the floor for your luggage, hooks for your shopping and netted storage for smaller items. You’ll find storage under the floor for soft bags and you can hook the boot floor in an upright position so it doesn’t get in the way. 

Folding the back seats is easy, they drop down at the touch of a couple of buttons in the boot and the resulting additional space is big enough to swallow an adult’s bike. 

Problems? Well, you’d probably swap Mercedes’ trademark collapsable boot box for a handier 12V power socket.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The high-quality cabin that would be expected of the big Mercedes, and the screens are lovely, although others maybe do it slightly better. And the steering wheel-mounted touchpads aren’t the easiest thing to use

The Mercedes E-Class’s interior looks lush. Its sweeping design hasn’t aged and the latest model comes with a choice of new trims that make it feel even fresher. 

Quality is also pretty good. Real leather is used for the seats, while the fake leather on the doors and dashboard still feels nice. As good as a BMW or Audi? Not quite, the Audi has a more consistent feeling of quality and literally, no plastics in the BMW feel cheap.

What neither of those cars can offer are the Mercedes’ huge infotainment screens that look classy and expensive housed under a single piece of glass. Unlike in other markets, in the UK you get the two big screens as standard, and they are sharp and colourful in equal measure.

The centre touchscreen is easy to swipe through, and the new touchpad control on the centre console is easier to use than the scroll wheel fitted to older models. You also get touch controls on the steering wheel, but they’re a bit awkward to use. 

The same steering wheel controls are used to switch displays on the digital instrument binnacle that, again, looks fantastic with a variety of setups for you to choose between.

Prefer a good-old fashioned button? Fear not, they’re still used for the ventilation system so you can turn up the heater quickly and easily.

Or you can just use the car’s voice commands. That’s right, saying the phrase “Hey Mercedes” sparks the infotainment system into life and a colloquial command like “I’m cold” sees the car respond by turning up the heater. 

Prefer just to plug your phone in and use its apps on the car’s big screen? Why wouldn’t you… Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both fitted, although you can only display their maps on the centre screen, not behind the steering wheel like you can with the inbuilt sat nav system. 

There is another downside – it’s called the Polestar 2. It has an Android-powered infotainment system that’s that bit slicker to use and has an even bigger centre touchscreen than the Mercedes.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Mercedes E-Class is available as a petrol, plug-in hybrid petrol-electric, diesel and plug-in hybrid diesel-electric.

While diesel might not be the fashionable fuel at the moment, you’ll find it hard to see past the basic E220d’s mixture of power and fuel economy. Its 2.0-litre engine produces 200hp – enough to sweep the Mercedes from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. It’s marginally slower than the 197hp E200 petrol, but its effortless mid range means it’s a better bet for overtakes.

Where it takes a chunk out of the petrol is fuel economy, though, because while the E200 won’t get better than 40mpg, the E220d gets close to 60mpg and only costs £190 per year to tax at present.

The 265hp 300d and smooth six-cylinder 330hp E400d diesels offer more performance and 4Matic four-wheel drive as standard, but at the expense of fuel economy. 

If you have your heart set on petrol and can stomach high running costs, the E450 4Matic has a silky purr and E63-rivalling performance – it’ll hit 0-62mph quicker than the five seconds – but won’t return fuel economy better than 30mpg.

That leaves the plug-in hybrid E300e petrol and E300de diesel models. Their ability to run for over 30 miles on battery power alone could make them a sensible buy if you have a short commute and somewhere to charge the car. Both are cheap to tax, quick (0-62mph in under six seconds) and get excellent fuel economy so long as their battery is charged.

Safety and security

The Mercedes E-Class was awarded five stars for safety when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2016 – scoring higher than both the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series for adult and child occupant safety. The E-Class comes with numerous airbags, automatic emergency braking and an active bonnet that’ll protect pedestrians from the engine below in a collision. It also comes fitted with an alarm and immobiliser.

Reliability and problems

The Mercedes E-Class scores slightly better than the BMW 5 Series in customer satisfaction surveys, although neither fully live up to the standards you might expect of a premium brand. 

A list of recalls that includes problems that can cause a loss of power, risk of fire and short circuits, seems to confirm the Merc is not bullet proof although, on the bright side, these issues only affect early cars built in 2016. 

The warranty offer is an unlimited mileage three years, which is better than the 60,000-mile limit that is the most basic of standard offerings.

Buy or lease the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (2020-2023) at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
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