Elegant styling, superbly comfortable ride, luxurious cabin, refined
Poor manual gearboxes, slightly soft in corners
Luxury executive travel doesn't come any better than the E-Class. With it's understated and elegant looks, superb ride comfort and sophisticated image it's little surprise that the Mercedes saloon is such a hugely popular model. The main alternatives are the Audi A6 and BMW 5-Series - but neither is able to match the effortless cruising ability of the E-Class, nor its supreme levels of comfort.
This does of course come at a price if you're buying new and the Mercedes isn't the most involving of saloons to drive, especially when compared to the BMW. However there's a huge choice of engines including some strong yet frugal diesels and passengers in the back get plenty of space. Changes in 2006 promised an end to the electrical problems of earlier cars and added yet more technology along with new engines.