Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review
When looking for a premium executive saloon, there are only 4 real contenders, the German trio and Jaguar. Each manufacturer has a slightly different proposition to make them unique and appeal to a certain driver so they are not all things to all people.
The Audi is front wheel drive, but has also had its long-standing Quattro offering and is perhaps for the more conservative market. The BMW, being rear wheel drive appeals to the driver who doesnt just want to get from a to b but enjoy the drive on the way there. The Jaguar appeals, certainly in the UK market, to the patriotic and those wanting understated luxury and the badge, and then there is the Mercedes, another rear wheel drive offering but with more focus on show with its shinier accents and slightly more flamboyant styling inside and out.
To look at on the outside, the E-Class has undergone many changes over time and the latest model has brought back some sleeker lines and a more aggressive front end, something which was missing in the last model. It also has a bit of the CLS coupe look to it with its lines hinting at the more coupeesque styling whilst actually being staunchly a saloon. The sleeker rear end and more integrated rear light cluster moves away from the bolted on look with not a right angle in sight, shared across the rest of the range too. The E-Class no longer looks just like the BMW and Audi, it looks unique again (at least until the others catch up).
Inside it is all change again too. The new sleek dash with huge infotainment screen which leads to the instrument cluster has been well thought out and designed rather than a stuck on screen still found in much of the Mercedes range. However, it has maintained its flow into the door panels with high mounted seat controls to keep its signature Mercedes feel. The passenger is presented with a rather broad blank dash though which may not appeal to all.
Engine wise, Mercedes has changed things again here too now offering a new entry-level E200d 150hp 2.0l diesel to compete with the likes of the 518d and Audi A4 2.0TDi entry level engines, for those company car drivers who want the looks but still have to
keep an eye on BIK and fuel economy. The E220d has remained, with a more powerful 194hp engine, and the 250d engine has now been discontinued. However, the flagship 3.0l V6 diesel 350d (on test) remains, with an even more impressive 258hp capable of getting you from 0-62 in under 6 seconds yet returning an impressive 54mpg, not a patch on the de-tuned E200d or popular E220d both at 72.4mpg or . The other new engine on the block is their 350e plug-in hybrid. A 2.0l turbo charged petrol producing a respectable 211hp, combined with a 88hp electric motor giving total of 279hp, proclaiming a combined 134.5mpg and o-62 time of just 6.2s. Priced the same as the E350d, for the company car driver it could be a no-brainer. However, real life running costs (as we have seen with the likes of the BMW i8 (reviewed here) which proclaimed an equally impressive mpg, may be much less impressive. A nod must also be made to the new E43AMG 4MATIC sending 400hp from its turbo-charged 3.0V6 to all 4 wheels taking you to 62 in just 4.6 seconds, which is impressive. Having driven the turbo-charged C63sAMG reviewed here, I do wonder if the characteristic AMG drama has been lost again here. The E350 (on test) to drive was certainly smooth and powerful with huge amounts of torque on tap and a effortless ability to take you into licence losing territory far too quickly if you dont pay attention to the speedo. With the power being fed to the rear wheels via the 9-speed automatic box the car doesnt feel too heavy at the front in spite of the large 3.0l V6 diesel lump sat up there and it is certainly competent around the A and B roads, although eating up the motorway is where it feels most at home with a firm but supple ride.
As far as trim levels are concerned the standard SE covers most bases with Bluetooth, SatNav, DAB Radio, Park Pilot, 18³ Alloy Wheels, Full Leather Upholstery, Heated Front Seats, Cruise Control and the likes all as standard. For those looking for more assertive styling and larger wheels the AMG Line delivers this, however you are then given 1/2 Artico (fake) Leather and Cloth Upholstery which does feel like a step backwards. The Premium Package offers a significant upgrade with Hands Free access and Keyless Go, powered boot closing, Memory Seats, and Panoramic Glass Sunroof. For that bit extra again, the Premium Plus Package further adds LED Headlights and an 13 Speaker Burmester Surround Sound System.
Based on our experience and JCS Fleet having leased a good number of the E-Class the E220d SE, has been, and will continue to be the engine and trim level of choice for the vast majority.
As a package, the E-Class Saloon has just about everything, the looks, the economy, good performance, strong specification levels and the badge. As a fleet prospect of late it has been incredibly strong too, with deals in September 2016 making the likes of a Ford Mondeo look expensive. However, such silly pricing is rare and between £350- £400/month on a standard contract hire is a more realistic prospect whilst still being excellent value for money.
Facts & Figures (E350d AMG Line Premium Saloon on Test):
Engine: 3.0l V6 Diesel
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic
Top Speed: 155mph (limited)
Fuel Economy (Combined): 54.3mpg
CO2 Emissions: 144g/km
If you would like to find out more about leasing the new E-Class, or any other vehicle, please contact JCS Fleet on 01223 911 761 or complete our online enquiry form below.