Used test: BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class interiors

Either of these two top-notch, used luxury saloons could be on your driveway for just £17,000, but which one deserves your cash? We have the answer.....

New BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class

What are they like inside?

The Mercedes E-Class can look and feels like a junior Mercedes S-Class from behind the wheel, and there aren’t many bigger compliments than that. Just bear in mind that it's quite dependent on how it's been specced.

The giant display that appears to stretch continuously from the middle of the dashboard to behind the steering wheel, for example, was another option on our car (from new, you’d have had to splash out extra for the Comand infotainment system and for the 12.3in cockpit). But again it’s worth seeking out an E-Class with it because it puts more important information closer to your line of sight, as well as making the interior feel much more special.

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Unfortunately, if you’re more than six feet tall, you may find the steering wheel blocks your view of some of the E-Class's instruments. You’re less likely to have this problem in the BMW 5 Series because its front seats drop lower into the car and, if anything, it has an even classier interior. True, it might not be as eye-catching to look at but touch any surface or switch and there’s a real feeling of quality. Prod the E-Class’s dashboard and there’s a disagreeable squeak.

Even if you do find an E-Class with the optional Comand system, the 5 Series still has the better infotainment system. In fact, it’s one of the best we’ve ever tried, with an extremely slick interface and a clear 10.2in display. You even get live traffic updates and a built-in hard drive to store your music on.

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On the other hand, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration comes as part of the Comand system on the E-Class, but would have cost extra on the 5 Series.

Both cars carry four adults easily enough, although rear leg room is less generous in the BMW 5 Series. Equally, rear head room could be better in the Mercedes E-Class although our car was fitted with an optional panoramic glass roof, which probably didn’t help. There’s not much in it for outright boot space, but access is better in the 5 Series. The 5 Series’ load bay is also taller and broader at its widest point but tapers to a narrower point just behind the rear seats.

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