With optional air suspension and self driving tech the Mercedes E-Class is very comfy – but it’s in no way sporty unless you go for the high-performance AMG models
The Mercedes E-Class is available with a wide range of engines covering everything from a 2.0-litre diesel right up to the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol that’s fitted to the high-performance E63.
The 194hp 220d model is the one to go for if you’re looking for a balance of fuel economy and performance. It’s quiet and smooth for a diesel and powerful enough to accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds so it has no issues overtaking slower traffic on busy A-roads. Despite this, it’s not particularly thirsty – Mercedes claims it’ll return 72.4mpg but you’ll be able to manage around 55mpg in normal driving conditions.
There’s a more affordable E200d model, but its no cheaper to run and it’s noticeably slower – accelerating from 0-62mph takes 8.7 seconds. If you spend lots of time doing long motorway journeys, there’s a smoother six-cylinder E400d but it’s quite pricey and will struggle to return more than 40mpg in day-to-day driving. It’s pretty rapid, though – blasting from 0-62mph takes just 4.9 seconds.
The E-Class is blooming lovely to drive – it does comfort and luxury very well indeed
If you don’t cover many miles, want a proper turn of speed and a sporty engine note, then the E43 is worth a look. It bridges the gap between regular Mercedes E-Class models and the nutty E63, so you get four-wheel drive and a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that’ll get from 0-62mph in under four seconds. The tradeoff for this pace is pretty poor fuel consumption – getting anywhere near Mercedes’ claimed 33.6mpg figure will require some serious rationing of the accelerator pedal. The E53 tones things down a little – it has a 3.0-litre V6 – but still delivers power in spades for a lot less cash than the 63.
If running costs are your main concern, there are also two Mercedes E-Class hybrid models to choose from – a petrol-electric E300e and a diesel-electric E300de. Both can drive for up to 30 miles using electric power alone and take 90 minutes to charge from 10% to 100% using a dedicated wall charger. Similarly, both versions feature a 120hp motor, but E300e cars come with a 211hp 2.0-litre petrol engine while the E300de version gets a 194hp 2.0-litre diesel engine. As a result, the E300e is a smidge faster, taking 5.7 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph compared to the E300de’s 5.9-second time.
In terms of fuel economy, you can expect both models to return in the region of 80mpg – some way off Mercedes’ claimed 141mpg for the E300e and 148mpg for the E300de.
You buy an Mercedes E-Class because you want to get from A to B as comfortably as possible and the car’s supple suspension, which irons out bumps, and quiet cabin are key to this. The Mercedes E-Class is even better when fitted with the £1,495 air suspension that means you literally float over bumps on a cushion of air.
If you do a lot of tiring motorway journeys then the £1,695 Driver Assistance Plus package should also be on your shopping list. It bundles together a list of acronyms as long as your arm – including ABSA, ABA, ALKA and ESA. They basically mean the E-Class can drive itself down the motorway steering, braking and accelerating (and adhering to the speed limit) autonomously. All you need to do is keep your hands on the steering wheel. It makes the Mercedes E-Class, which was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP back in 2016, even safer.
It’s just as relaxing in town as on the motorway. The standard, nine-speed automatic gearbox seems to know exactly what gear to choose and when to choose it. Visibility is also pretty good for a big saloon car and all models come with a beautifully detailed camera display, so it’s not as hard to park as you might think. You also get Active Park Assist fitted as standard – it can choose a spot and park the car for you.