With optional air suspension and self driving tech the 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 the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol that is fitted to the high-performance E63.
The 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 its 194hp is enough to get the E-Class from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, so it will have no issues overtaking slower traffic on busy A-roads. You can enjoy that performance even more because it will return fuel economy of up to 72.4mpg officially and 55mpg during real-world driving. The E200d’s slower, but no cheaper to run; the E300 petrol’s quick, but pricy to run; and the E350e hybrid is expensive to buy, but – because it can travel 20 miles on cheap electric power alone – will make sense if you have a short commute and somewhere to charge it.
The six-cylinder 350d is quieter, smoother and quicker, but fuel economy takes a hit – it’ll return 51.4mpg officially and more like 40mpg in the real world – so you’re better off saving your money.
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 E-Class models and the nutty E63, so you get four-wheel drive and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 that’ll get from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds – or as fast as a Porsche 911! You pay for this performance with 33.6mpg fuel economy, although it’s a little bit better than the E63 will manage.
You buy an 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 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 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.