New Mercedes E300e vs BMW 530e: costs

Serious opulence meets low running costs in this battle of the plug-in hybrid luxury saloons. But which is best?...

BMW 530e 2021 side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Both cars come with a Type 2 charging cable for home wallboxes and another that plugs into a three-pin domestic socket. It’ll take just over three and a half hours to charge the 530e at its maximum charging rate: a rather disappointing 3.7kW. The E300e is capable of charging at a faster 7.4kW, dropping the time down to less than two hours, even though it has a slightly larger battery. You can’t rapid charge either car using a CCS charger.

Official fuel economy figures of 188.3mpg for the 530e and 176.6mpg for the E300e show what’s possible if you top up the batteries regularly and do mostly short journeys.

If you let the batteries go flat and you’re relying solely on petrol power to get you around, the 530e remains the more efficient car, managing a reasonable 35.5mpg in our test. That compares with 34.0mpg for the E300e.

Mercedes E300e 2021 side

As a result, you’ll save around £440 in combined petrol and electricity bills over three years by driving the 530e, assuming regular journeys of 40 miles and always starting with a fully charged battery.

The 530e is also cheaper to service and insure, plus you’ll get a bigger Target Price discount on it. Tot everything up and the 530e will save a private buyer nearly £5000 over three years.

If you’re buying on PCP finance, the 530e will cost you £77 a month less on a three-year deal with a £5400 deposit and a limit of 10,000 miles per year. It’s slightly cheaper to lease, too. The 530e has to give best to the E300e when it comes to benefit-in-kind tax for company car drivers, but the difference is only £9 a month.

BMW 530e vs Mercedes E300e costs

The E300e gets more standard kit, including an extra climate control zone for rear passengers (the 530e makes do with separate ones for the front occupants), along with keyless entry, an electric bootlid and the other goodies we’ve mentioned already.

Although BMW as a brand was found to be more reliable than Mercedes in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, things were closer between the 5 Series and E-Class. The former topped the luxury car category, with the latter in second place.

Neither car has been specifically tested for safety by the experts at Euro NCAP, but the regular 5 Series and E-Class received five-star ratings. However, you’re less likely to be injured in a crash in the E300e, whether you’re an adult up front or a child in the back. Automatic emergency braking is standard on both.