Mercedes E-Class and E63 AMG: Prices, specs and reviews
The latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class is shaping up to be one of the plushest – and priciest – entries on the market
Next year sees the introduction of the seventh-generation BMW 5-Series - but Mercedes-Benz has beaten its rival to the market a new mid-sized executive saloon.
The latest E-Class, which is on sale now, has been given a svelte makeover compared to the previous model, with a fluid new design and an S-Class inspired interior. It's the quiet and comfortable offering in the executive saloon market and an impressive package – Auto Express named it executive car of the year for 2016, thanks to its "imperious quality and refinement".
At the moment, the E-Class is available as a saloon or an estate, but coupe and cabriolet versions will appear in 2017.
Here are all the details.
The new car has a much rounder, smoother design than its predecessor, which looks boxy when compared to the sleek bends and curves of the latest model.
It's a design heavily inspired by Mercedes' flagship executive car, the S-Class saloon, and even the smaller C-Class now boasts similar touches. The E-Class is the final piece in the jigsaw, making for a saloon range with Russian doll-like qualities in a bid to promote a premium image right across the forecourt.
The fluid shape is best seen in the curved shoulder line running down the top of the doors, feeding into a curvy rear end and downward roofline. At the front is the trademark large grille and Mercedes badge.
All in all, it means the E-Class is very slippery – a drag coefficient of just 0.23cd is reported - and when the shape is married to one of the car's more efficient engine choices, it's also frugal.
The car's exterior can be altered through different trim levels – for instance, AMG Line cars get sportier bodykits and there's a range of alloy wheels on offer too.
One of the new Merc's most impressive aspects is the cabin. Carwow says that Mercedes "has given the E-Class’ cabin the feel of the luxury S-Class". Overall, it resembles the cabin you'll find in the company's flagship saloon, considering it has the same four centrally mounted vents and infotainment screen arrangement, plus the wide centre console pouring out from underneath the dashboard with controls galore.
Standard cars get an 8.4ins infotainment screen mounted in the middle of the dashboard, which can be upscaled to 12.3ins. However, even more screens can be added to the interior. Speccing the Virtual Instrument Display attaches another 12.3ins screen to the one already in the middle of the dash, feeding behind the steering wheel in place of manual instruments for an interface dominated by monitors.
A scroll wheel and touchpad control the screens, as can touch sensitive buttons mounted on the steering wheel. They respond to small swipes and jabs, meaning you can control the infotainment system like a smartphone, but without ever taking your hands off the wheel. Voice control features too.
As for the materials Mercedes has used, there are plenty of high quality gloss plastics, leather upholstery and aluminium trim. The wheelbase is 65mm longer than the previous E-Class, allowing for more passenger space inside.
There are plenty of customisation options, from a plethora of display set-ups to trim inlay choices and seat colours, as well as different interiors. The Seat Comfort package can be specced for £195 and introduces adjustable lumbar support.
Satellite navigation comes as standard on even the entry level E220d E-Class in SE trim. While it's certainly a pull factor, it's displayed through the standard 8.4ins screen in the middle of the dashboard. With sat nav already thrown in as part of the car's overall price tag, it makes upgrading to the bigger 12.3ins display even more tempting.
That larger display already comes on E350d cars, as well as the upgraded infotainment package featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to link your smartphone. These models also get touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel thrown in as standard.
Two packages – Premium and Premium Plus – doll up the E-Class with even more tech. Plucking for the £3,895 Premium Plus gives you the standards, such as a panoramic sunroof, adjustable electric seats with memory functions and a self-closing boot, as well as get a seriously high-end Burmester surround sound system.
Drive Pilot is the E-Class's headline act when it comes to technology, a £1,696 optional extra that introduces autonomous driving features.
On motorways, the car will practically take over. It can accelerate, brake and steer, keep in lane and maintain a safe distance from the car in front – all at speeds of up to 125mph. To change lanes, all you need do is put the indicator on and Drive Pilot will work out when it is safe to move.
It's fitted alongside a handful of other ingenious autonomous features, such as remote parking controlled through a smartphone app, as well as standard automatic emergency braking.
Practicality and comfort
The soft chassis lends itself to a car in which comfort is key, while the plush interior is not just well made and good-looking, but spacious and comfortable too.
This year's E-Class is longer than its predecessor and the wheelbase has been stretched by 2.5ins, so there's more space than ever. Backseat passengers will reap the rewards most and find a lot more knee room. It is perfect for families of four, but five adults may find longer journeys a bit of a squeeze.
The cabin also has plenty of storage spaces. A deep, central cubbyhole divides the driver and front-seat passenger and there's a large tray in the centre console, placed behind the multimedia controller. Four deep door-bins run the length of each door and the glovebox is also generously proportioned.
The boot is 540 litres – 20 litres up on the BMW 5-Series - and has a flat, square, loading bay, with the lid opening high enough to load awkward items.
If that's not enough, the E-Class Estate has a standard boot space of 670 litres with the rear seats in place. Fold them down and it opens up a 1,820-litre cargo bay.
The new E-Class promises to be a very safe car too. As standard, there are nine airbags, as well as automatic emergency-braking features and tyre-pressure monitors. Blind-spot assist and lane-departure warning features also make the cut.
Equipping the Driving Assistance Plus package introduces a handful of other safety related additions. Building on the automatic emergency braking feature is Active Brake Assist and Evasive Steering Assist, which work in tandem to detect potential hazards and prevent collisions.
The system can warn the driver of an upcoming hazard and step in if necessary – the steering assist function detects an evasive action and rapidly applies extra steering lock.
If a collision is inevitable, the car's bolsters rapidly inflate to move occupants as far away from a side impact as possible, while some crashes will see the speakers rapidly blare "pink noise" ahead of the impact, preparing the occupants' ears for the loud noise to come.
For most buyers, the E-Class's diesel engines will make most sense, as they are the cheapest to buy and run. The only petrol variants announced so far are AMG edition models and the E350e plug-in hybrid.
Diesels kick off with the entry-level E200d, which uses a 2.0-litre engine with 148bhp that Mercedes claims is capable of delivering 72.4mpg. CO2 comes in at 102g/km, meaning you'll pay £20 to tax it. The 2.0-litre engine is also found in the E220d, but with 192bhp. Mercedes claims the same MPG figure and it also scores 102g/km CO2.
The largest diesel engine is found in the E350d. It gets a six-cylinder motor, packing 254bhp, with a reported 54.3mpg and emissions of 136g/km CO2. It's worth noting that cars in AMG Line trim are slightly less efficient, as is the optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive system on the E220d.
Petrol options begin with the E350e, which uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder in tandem with an electric motor. Combined power is rated at 282bhp and Mercedes rates it as being capable of 134.5mpg. CO2 emissions of 49g/km means it's road tax free and the battery pack enables a 20-mile range on electric power only.
The first of three AMG variants – all of which are all-wheel drive - is the E43 AMG. It uses a turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 396bhp, which is good for 0-62mph in 4.6secs and a top speed of 155mph.
It'll be joined by two V8-powered E63 versions, both with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8s, with the standard E63 producing 563bhp compared to the 604bhp E63 S. You'll do 0-62mph in 3.5secs and 3.4 secs respectively and top speed is limited to 155mph for both.
Every E-Class gets a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
AMG E63 and E63 S
A high performance version of the E-Class is on the way, as Mercedes-AMG has fitted the mid-size saloon and estate with its monstrous twin-turbo V8 engine.
It has tweaked the engine, which can also be found in the AMG GT sports car, to produce 563bhp as standard and 603bhp in the range-topping E63 S variant, allowing the car to go from zero to 62mph in 3.5secs and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
Buyers can only spec the E63 AMG with a 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system, but drivers can adjust the distribution of torque for a more rearward bias. Channelling power evenly across the front and rear axle improves stability, while moving it towards the rear wheels improves cornering. S models also get a "Drift Mode", which sends all power to the rear axle to allow the car to easily slide.
Both E63 models now sport boisterous bumpers with large air intakes, as well as a slightly wider track and carbon fibre highlights inside and out. As with most AMG models, there's a quad exhaust layout and a small carbon fibre spoiler on the boot lid.
Prices start at £81,130 for the entry-level E63, with the E63 S begins at £90,400. An optional sports exhaust can be added on both models for £1,000, while E63 S buyers can spec ceramic brakes for £6,995.
Mercedes now offers the new E-Class as a Coupe, in which form it bears a striking resemblance to the company's flagship S-Class Coupe.
The designers have aimed to reducr the lines on the two-door E-Class variant to give the Coupe a sleeker and more luxurious outline. It also features the iconic double-bubble bonnet, which first appeared on the legendary 300SL.
Inside, the E-Class Coupe's cabin incorporates the saloon's swooping dashboard design and lashings of leather. Behind the steering wheel sits a 7ins digital instrument cluster, with an 8.4ins touchscreen display located above the centre console.
Kicking-off the range is the E220d, which features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that Mercedes says can achieve 64.1mpg. Above that are two petrol units, an E300 and E400, while Autocar suggests an E50 4Matic hybrid could enter the range later this year.
Prices start at £40,135 for the entry-level E220d, with costs rising to £50,775 for the range-topping E400 - which is only £4,000 short of the E43 AMG E-Class saloon.
Click here to read more about the E-Class Coupe.
Prices and release
Prices for the new E-Class start from £33,770 for the E200d saloon version in its most basic SE trim level, under £1,500 less than you'll pay for a corresponding E220d, which is priced from £35,265. Plucking AMG Line trim on either car pushes their prices up by around £2,500.
The most powerful diesel option, the E350d, starts from £44,130, with the same £2,500 premium if you want to upgrade to AMG Line trim.
Regarding petrols, the hybrid E350e kicks off at a comparable £44,260, although there's a hefty premium to step up to the range-topping E43 AMG, priced from £54,525.
The estate version costs around £2,000 more than the saloon and order books are only open for the wagon with the E220d engine, priced from £37,935.
Pricing for the E63 models hasn't been announced yet.
Auto Express gives the E-Class a full five stars, with particular praise for the its interior. It's not quite as fun to drive as some key rivals, like the Jaguar XE, but comfort and cabin quality are areas which score highly for saloons and Mercedes has nailed them, it says.
While you'll pay more for the Mercedes than you would for equivalent cars made by BMW and Audi, the entry level version of the E-Class gets way more standard kit and overall, it’s a "comprehensively equipped efficient and stylish package". Of the engine and trim level combinations available right now, the magazine believes in keeping in basic and lists the E220d in SE trim as its choice.
What Car?'s report is largely the same, although they award the E-Class four stars rather than a perfect score. Again, the quality of the interior shines through as one of the flagship features and it's the class-leading cabin thanks to its baby S-Class inspired design and features. The magazine also picks out the huge double-monitor infotainment setup as an optional extra "well worth considering".
It recommends the cheaper E220d, especially if you're a company car driver – the low CO2 figures of 102g/km are a big bonus, being more efficient than equivalent engine options on key rivals, while being "surprisingly punchy".
The Daily Telegraph gives the E-Class a score of 9/10, praising its interior, tech options and "pillow-soft ride".
Despite its size, it's an easy car to drive and an "absolute joy to twirl around", adds the paper, but still not as good dynamically as the BMW 3-series and Jaguar XF. However, it continues, Mercedes has intentionally biased the E-Class towards comfort, so the trade-off is intentional.
Another niggle for the Telegraph is the price, considering drivers will pay a noticeable premium for an E-Class over its rivals. But the paper concludes it's a more aspirational car and sits rightfully at the top of the tree as the most desirable car in its class.
As for the E-Class estate, Auto Express has been behind the wheel and says that once again the car's luxurious qualities shine through.
The new estate car has the same high-quality interior and refined driving experience of the saloon, but comes in a much more practical package. With the biggest boot in its class, you'll struggle to find a better quality load-lugger. Go for it and "you'll have one of the most comfortable, practical and luxurious estate cars on the market", says the magazine.