Parkers overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 4.6
  • Massive full-width digital dashboard impresses
  • Styling and build quality is closer to S-Class than C
  • Multi-colour ambient lighting looks great at night

The E-Class blows the opposition out of the water when it comes to interior style, borrowing heavily from its S-Class big brother, and in some areas, actually improving on it.

The build quality is excellent - closer to that of an S-Class than the C-Class below it. The Bentley-like organ stop heater vents add to the sense of luxury.

Standard cars come with two traditional style instruments and an iPad-like (but not touch-operated) multimedia screen on the top of the dash.

For maximum wow you need to choose the optional dual-screen set-up, which actually looks like one hugely long screen stretching from the driver’s side almost to the passenger’s.

Mercedes doesn’t believe touchscreens are safe so has added a small thumb control on the steering wheel spoke to help you operate the multimedia functions. It’s not easy to operate at first, but feels natural with time.

Every E-Class has an automatic gearbox controlled by an indicator-like column stalk and an electric handbrake that frees up useful storage room in the centre console.

Comfort

  • Great ride on standard springs
  • Air suspension is luxurious
  • AMG cars feel purposefully firm

If you’re looking for the most relaxing big saloon on the market, look no further. No other car in the class can match the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class for comfort and refinement.

Whether you’re idling at traffic lights or pounding the motorway, engine, tyre and wind noise are impressively hushed.

Ride comfort is excellent in all versions, but the air-spring suspension (standard on higher-spec E-Classes, optional on others) has a clear advantage here, isolating occupants from smaller-frequency bumps that would be felt with the standard coil springs.

Optional adaptive dampers help smooth the ride on cars without the air suspension. Changing the drive mode selector on the console from Comfort to Sport or Sport Plus tightens the handling at the expense of comfort.

The front seats are extremely comfortable, and available with both heating and cooling functions. The rear bench has a flat middle section meaning the car can be used as a five-seater if needed.

Mercedes-AMG ride comfort

Both E 53 and E 63 models come with air suspension but don’t expect the same wafty ride as you get in the normal E-Class. The AMG cars have a special performance set up and that means a purposeful firmness that you’ll notice most on lumpy roads.

The six-cylinder car is very easy to live with while the full-fat E 63 is less cushy even in its least aggressive drive mode, and sharpened up in Sport+ it feels very hard indeed.

On undulating back roads the E 63 S actually feels faster in Sport or Normal mode, the softer suspension allowing the car to flow better over the cracked tarmac.