This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Mercedes-Benz has been deliberately bold with the exterior styling of the E-Class, insisting on a double-headlamp each side as in the previous two generations of the car. Other Mercedes-Benz saloons, the C-Class and S-Class seem much softer in comparison, but the E-Class certainly looks distinctive. The instrument layout is very similar to the previous model, but some of the other cabin design echoes the larger S-Class.

An aluminium controller - similar to BMW's iDrive system - is used to access many of the controls, as well as special 'hot-key' buttons allowing fast access to frequently used functions. Aluminium trim is fitted to SE models so there are no base models with cheap-looking interior parts.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class comfort is pretty impressive. SE models come with Artico artificial leather and the firm has added an extra layer of padding under the seat cover. Electronic climate control is standard, although an upgrade to a more sophisticated system, which includes separate controls for rear passengers, can be chosen at extra cost. Various upgrades for the seats can also be chosen when ordering (partial electric adjustment for the front seats is standard), including Active Multi-Contour for front-seat occupants, with inflatable air chambers and a massage function.

Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel (the latter being optional) are among the options that make life inside the E-Class a little more pleasant. There is also more interior room compared to the previous E-Class and rear accommodation and access are easier than before. Class-leading aerodynamics mean wind noise is almost eliminated but while engine noise is well insulated from occupants, the four-cylinder diesel in particular seems noisy from the outside.