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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Refined, classy and well finished

Against Not the best car to drive; reliability questions

Verdict A great executive model that's majors on comfort and refinement

Go for… E220 CDI Avantgarde

Avoid… E350 Sport

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon
  • 1. The E-Class places the emphasis on ride comfort, but it is also enjoyable to drive with reasonable handling
  • 2. Of the eight engines available, the diesels are by far the best options
  • 3. The majority of E-Class examples are automatics; manuals are less desirable unless fitted to the smaller-capacity engines
  • 4. Emissions for the diesels range from 167g/km to 194g/km, while the petrols don’t fare as well, with start at 195g/km, and rise to 273g/km
  • 5. The automatic gearbox can be temperamental and, in the worst cases, owners could face a substantial replacement fee
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon full review with expert trade views

This version the E-Class is a heavy revision of the previous car, rather than an all-new design. The changes include a modified chassis, new engines and a refreshed cabin, as well as some advanced driver aids and safety technology.

The E-Class places the emphasis on ride comfort, but it is also enjoyable to drive with reasonable handling.

There’s plenty of space to stretch out inside the E-Class, but the large transmission tunnel and limited headroom mean the rear seats are better suited for two people, rather than three. The boot is spacious and sensibly shaped.

Trade view

A diesel E-Class is the best choice; think twice before buying a manual.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Of the eight engines available, the diesels are by far the best options.

The 168bhp E220 CDI is a great starting point to the range, and the most common on the used market. Although it’s not fast, it has enough power for a car of this size. The 187bhp E280 CDI is more enjoyable to drive, and a good trade-off between power and economy. There’s also an E320 CDI with 221bhp, but it’s not that common.

If you really want a petrol E-Class, consider the supercharged E200K with 182bhp or the 228bhp E280. There is also a 255bhp E350 and a 388bhp E500. A fuel-efficient 288bhp E350 CGI was introduced in 2008.

The majority of E-Class examples are automatics; manuals are less desirable unless fitted to the smaller-capacity engines.

Classic models get climate control, wood trim, cruise control and alloys, while Elegance adds chrome detailing and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Avantgardes have xenon headlamps, part-leather seats and window glass that reflects bright sunlight. Sport models get lowered and tuned suspension, upgraded alloys and full leather trim. In mid 2008 the Executive SE edition was added, based on the Classic but including upgraded wheels, exterior and cabin trim.

Trade view

Big, classy and comfortable – the E-Class is a very refined executive saloon.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

When it comes to depreciation the diesels are king and, as a result, highly attractive to used buyers. Consider a petrol model only if it’s cheap and you don’t intend to do many miles.

The smallest diesel averages 44.8mpg, while the E280 CDI achieves 39.2mpg and the E320 CDI 38.7mpg. The petrol models aren’t as efficient, with the E220K averaging 34.4mpg, while the E280 does 30.1mpg. The E350 averages 29.1mpg, the E350 CGI 32.5mpg and the E500 24.6mpg.

Emissions for the diesels range from 167g/km to 194g/km, while the petrols don’t fare as well, with start at 195g/km, and rise to 273g/km.

Mercedes dealers are an expensive place to service an old car, and you won’t harm the car’s value if you use a reliable independent garage.

Trade view

A diesel E-Class is the best choice; think twice before buying a manual.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The previous generation of E-Class ('02-'06) didn’t do any favours to Mercedes’ reputation for reliability. Thankfully, this newer model restores some of the good faith, but it’s not perfect.

The automatic gearbox can be temperamental and, in the worst cases, owners could face a substantial replacement fee, while the largest diesel engine can suffer terminal issues with the injectors. There’s also a possible problem with the camshaft position sensor, which could cause the car not to start.

Other concerns include noisy rear suspension, especially on Sport models. Not every car is affected and dealers can struggle to resolve the problem.

Some E-Class suffer mystery electrical issues, which can affect anything from the alarm to the parking sensors.

Trade view

Big, classy and comfortable – the E-Class is a very refined executive saloon.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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