Luxurious, practical executive car brimming with clever tech
- Class-leading 2.0 diesel engine
- Incredible comfort and noise isolation
- Stunning interior design and finish
- Genuine five-seat accommodation
- Futuristic safety and convenience tech
- Limited range at launch
- Some rivals are more fun to drive
- Looks like cheaper C-Class
- Desirable equipment costs extra
The E-Class is one of Mercedes-Benz’s most storied models. Robust, stylishly understated and practical, it has traditionally been as popular with taxi drivers as company directors, and more than 13 million have been sold over multiple generations.
Key rivals in the class include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF. While the BMW and particularly the Jaguar focus on driving enjoyment, the new E-Class plays the luxury card, offering a level of in-cabin style and luxury no other car in the sector can match.
Larger than ever and full of tech
Longer but lighter than the outgoing model, the new E-Class Saloon has a wheelbase stretched by 65mm to deliver additional interior space. But the area where it really outpaces the competition is in interior style and quality. An optional 12.3-inch colour display replaces the traditional speedometer and rev counter with customisable digital versions, and stretches almost to the other side of the dashboard. Not even the S-Class limousine can match the E-class’s tech-meets-luxury ambience.
A step closer to autonomous driving
Mercedes is investing huge sums in autonomous driving technology and although a fully self-driving car bearing the three-pointed star is still years away, the E-Class takes us one step closer. Using the Remote Parking Pilot, owners can actually get out of their car, which will then park by itself in response to a prompt from their smartphone. The E-Class also features the latest version of Mercedes’ adaptive cruise control, a system that can maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front, right down to a stop, and even steer between the white lines at motorway speeds, although it requires some level of input at the steering wheel every 30 seconds or so.
Other innovations include seat bolsters that actively push you towards the centre of the car when a side impact is imminent, steering that intervenes to help you steer around obstacles in an emergency, and a ‘smart’ key saved in your phone that replaces a traditional key - although this technology is only suitable for Android, and not Apple phones.
Diesel power only for now
The E-Class is only available from launch as an E220d saloon. That’s likely to be the most popular model even when alternatives do come on line thanks to its impressive combination of 150mph performance and a claimed combined consumption figure of 72.4mpg. Later in 2016 an E350d, powered by a six-cylinder diesel, and an E350e plug-in hybrid, will join the range, followed by high-performance AMG models and an estate.
Choice of two trim levels
Initially, trim levels are restricted to SE and sporty AMG Line. SE models come with parking sensors, a reversing camera and the self-parking system, LED headlamps, satellite navigation and autonomous braking. AMG Line cars add 19-inch wheels and sportier interior and exterior styling tweaks including different bumpers, seats and dash inlays.
Like its C-Class brother, the E’s handling is reassuringly stable. It’s highly competent but rivals like the Jaguar XF are more engaging to drive. If you’re looking for the most comfortable, refined car in the class, however, look no further.
Read the full Parkers Mercedes-Benz E-Class review to learn about the new saloon in more detail.
What owners say about this car
The car is nice to drive, very well appointed, comfortable and remarkably fuel efficient for such a large vehicle. It... Read owner review
Delivered to me about a month ago, changed from 2013 Jag XF Premium Plus which was a great, reliable and... Read owner review
This is my third e220. I tend to change every three years so have owned all three of the last... Read owner review