First Drive Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Independent review by Ian Donaldson
- High performing
- Dynamic feel
- Top-level technology
Mercedes-Benz is working as hard as any major carmaker towards a totally electric future – but it has not arrived quite yet.
Billions are being poured into providing battery-only personal mobility that will have us all plugging our new cars into the mains to make them move.
Until then, we have choices to make and here is one of the latest – and perhaps most sensibly practical – for the driver with a family to support and generous income to help do it.
Engine and Performance
For the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class that we drove, a diesel engine is paired with an electric motor and battery to make the longer journeys an economical drive and shorter ones extremely inexpensive. If your trip is less than about 31 miles, you can do the whole journey on battery power for mere pence.
You can also choose to program your car to use only electric power, just diesel, or to charge up the battery, resulting in a flexible and economical drive.
The result is an official fuel consumption of an astonishing 176.6mpg, however in real life conditions we found this to be a little lower, but still an impressively cost-effective drive.
When the battery's range is exhausted, the frugal diesel engine kicks in. And business users will be pleased with a rating of 41g/km CO2 emissions and BIK tax rate of just 13 per cent.
An owner is not going to feel short-changed on the performance front either, even with a diesel doing much of the work.
The E-Class can be charged, via a neat plug beneath a rear light cluster, in around five hours from a standard UK three-pin domestic socket or from a 7.2kW charger in just over an hour.
A combined output of 302bhp and 516lb ft of pulling power from the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel engine and electric motor working together mean this big and roomy saloon will touch an electronically limited 155mph and hit 62mph in 5.9 seconds.
Design and Practicality
Compromises to add battery power to the E-Class are restricted to a smaller boot, with a mildly awkward step up in the floor and 400 litres of capacity, down from the 540 litres of the non-electric model.
There is also the more luggage friendly estate version, with its 480 litres of load space - or a huge 1,660 litres with the back seats folded flat.
Equipment and Technology
Standard kit includes a smooth shifting 9-speed automatic gearbox, reversing camera, LED headlamps, four-way lumbar support for driver and front seat passenger and electric adjustment and heating too, cruise control, DAB radio, satellite navigation and alloy wheels.
AMG Line trim adds additional exterior body styling, 18-inch alloy wheels, black open-pore ash wood trim with Artico Dinamica leather upholstery, an AMG steering wheel with touch control buttons and privacy glass.
All of this achieves a level of refinement that has made the E-Class the senior management's natural choice for decades, mixing a sense of restrained class with an ability to simply get on with the job.
With plenty of technology, impressive performance and an economical and enjoyable drive, there is not much the Mercedes-Benz E-Class can not offer.