Mercedes E Class review

Category: Luxury car

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:petrol, diesel/plugin elec hybrid, hybrid, diesel
Available colours:
Mercedes E Class 2020
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  • Mercedes-Benz 2019 E-Class saloon rear left tracking
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RRP £39,055What Car? Target Price from£35,772
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The plug-in hybrid E300e combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a large battery pack and electric motor, a combination that results in a 0-62mph time of only 5.7sec and an electric range of just over 32 miles according to official figures. That’s faster than a BMW 530e, but with a shorter all-electric range. Performance is electric-only mode isn’t quite as swift, but there’s enough shove to keep pace in the cut and thrust of busy traffic.

The transition from electric to petrol power is smooth when it happens, and gearchanges in both modes are almost imperceptible. You’ll also feel the electric motor boosting the petrol engine from low revs to give plenty of acceleration without having to work the engine hard. When you really do put your foot down, the engine doesn’t get too vocal and is every bit as quick as the 0-62mph time suggests. Overtaking is rarely an issue and it feels noticeably stronger than a the 530e. There’s also an E300de, which combines  the plug-in hybrid system with a diesel engine, but we’re yet to try it.

Don’t rule out the more conventional engines, however. The E220d has traditionally been our favourite E Class engine; it’s smooth, quiet and pulls strongly from around 1500rpm. As for the six-cylinder petrol and diesels, they’ll crack 0-60mph in around five seconds, while the AMG E53 knocks another half a second off of that. The top dog is the V8 Mercedes-AMG E63, a car so specialised that it gets its own bespoke review. All of these have a nine-speed automatic gearbox, which kicks down promptly when you floor the accelerator. 

The latest E Class saloon is available only with regular steel springs and adaptive dampers unless you opt for an AMG model. When we drove a non-UK spec car on air suspension, though, it tallied with our previous experience of the model; soft springing that gives a comfortable motorway ride without it feeling floaty or wallowy, but which can’t completely absorb expansion joints or potholes. Over these, and on especially crumbling urban roads, you’re jostled around in your seat, particularly when the larger alloy wheels are fitted. We’ll reserve final judgement on ride smoothness until we’ve tried a car in UK specification, but as it stands, you’ll need a BMW 5 Series on adaptive suspension for the best ride in this class. 

If you’re interested in cornering prowess, the E-Class is tidy, but not class-leading. Non-AMG  models (you can read about the AMG E63 in its own review) have plenty of grip, light but accurate steering and not too much body lean, but the E Class never feels as agile or as willing to be hustled down a country road as a 5 Series. 

Cruising refinement is generally good, with little wind noise at 70mph and bearable levels of  road noise. That said, larger-than-standard alloy wheels do generate noticeably more noise on the motorway, while a BMW 5 Series is even more impressive when it comes to quietness.

Mercedes E Class 2020

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