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Used test: BMW 530e vs Mercedes E300e costs

You can save almost £20,000 on either of these luxurious hybrids if you buy them at two years old, but which should you choose?...

BMW 530e 2021 side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

At two years old, the BMW 5 Series 530e and Mercedes E-Class E300e will set you back around £35,000 each. The 530e was the more expensive car when new, so it has lost more value, by around £2000.

The E300e will cost you a little bit more to insure, though. It's in insurance group 41, putting the cost at around £1015. The 530e is in group 39 and should come in at around £983. For a two-service plan of the E300e through Mercedes, we were quoted £1056. For a single service of the 530e through BMW, we saw £613.

For years two to six of either car's life, owners will be taxed an extra £355 (due to their new car prices exceeding £40,000). This goes on top of the £155 in regular road tax, though that would be £165 if they were solely petrol or diesel models, not hybrids. 

Mercedes E300e 2021 side

Both cars should come with a Type 2 charging cable for home wall boxes 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 on petrol power to get around, the 530e remains more efficient car, managing a reasonable 35.5mpg in our True MPG test. That compares with 34.0mpg for the E300e.

BMW 530e 2021 rear seats

The E300e gets more standard kit from new, 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 other goodies.

In our latest What Car? Reliability Survey the 530e ranked fourth out of 10 cars in the luxury car class. The E300e wasn't specifically represented, but the E-Class as a whole came sixth. As brands, BMW came 16th out of 32 manufacturers featured, while Mercedes placed 23rd. 

Neither plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model has been specifically tested for safety by the experts at Euro NCAP but the regular 5 Series and E-Class received five-star ratings.