What are they like inside?
The BMW M5 has a well-appointed, classy interior that puts all the important controls within easy reach of the driver. A smattering of discreet ‘M’ badges and an array of buttons on the centre console that allow you to tune the steering, the suspension and the gearbox are the only real clues that you’re driving something special.
Interior quality was never the strong suit of this generation of Mercedes E-Class. However, most of the drab, grey plastic you’ll find in a lesser diesel version has been wrapped here in leather, so the E63 feels more upmarket. The suede-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel is another bespoke touch that sets this range-topping E-class apart from more mundane versions.
Special mention should also be made to the dynamic front seats fitted to our test car – a rare option, but worth having if you can find them.
The M5 gets BMW’s brilliant iDrive infotainment system. The features – such as the stereo and navigation – are controlled using a rotary dial on the centre console, and the user-friendly menus make it safe and easy to operate.
Mercedes’ Comand system is also controlled via a dial on the centre console, but the system is slower to respond to inputs and the menus aren’t as intuitive.
Both cars offer plenty enough space in the front and rear for five passengers, though the middle passenger in the rear of both cars has to make do with less leg room thanks to the high transmission tunnel running through the car. And while both have a capacious boot, the Mercedes offers slightly more room, not to mention a wider aperture through which to load things.
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