Although the E-Class’s model history only goes back 20 years, Mercedes has a long tradition of making executive cars in this market sector.
The current model was launched in 2010, with a facelift in 2013, and remains one of the most compelling and versatile offerings in the class.
The E-Class is the only nameplate in this particular class offered in four different body styles – saloon, estate, coupe and convertible – and each has its own selection of engines and trim levels that recognises the different roles they fill.
It’s the saloon model that underpins the range and represents the best value and the most general-purpose option. It’s available from £35,515 for the E220 BlueTEC diesel (2.2 litres, 177hp) model in SE specification – also the most fuel-efficient car in the range at 64.2mpg - but can also be selected with the E350 diesel (3 litres, 258hp) or E250 petrol (2 litres, 211hp).
Even at this most basic of trim levels, the E-Class is exceptionally well-appointed. SE specification includes intelligent LED headlights with adaptive main beam and cornering, rain sensing wipers, full leather upholstery with heated front seats, active parking assist, DAB digital radio and automatic climate control as standard equipment.
For just £1,790 more you could have the E-Class in estate form. This has exactly the same engine and trim range as the saloon, but adds a class-leading load bay. Able to take 600 litres with all the seats in place, the boot swells to 1,855 litres with the rear seats folded.
Like the saloon, the estate starts with the SE trim or can be upgraded to AMG Night specification. This adds AMG body styling a selection of high-gloss black exterior body parts, stainless steel sports pedals and exhaust tailpipes, a flat-bottomed nappa leather steering wheel and direct control sports suspension.
The coupe and convertible models are also available with the E220 and E350 diesel engines, but add an E250 diesel (2.2 litres, 204hp) between the two. In addition to the E250 petrol there’s also an E200 petrol (2 litres, 184hp) and the E400 petrol (3.5 litres, 333hp).
To go with the sportier nature, these cars are available in only two specifications, with AMG Line as standard on all models except the E400, which has its own specific trim level called “E400 AMG Line”. The former trim includes agility control sports suspension, AMG bodystyling, intelligent LED lights, DAB radio and the COMAND Online system, while the latter adds more AMG accoutrements – boot spoiler, sports seats and 19-inch wheels.
Of course the jewel in the E-Class range is the E63 AMG. Available in only the saloon and estate body styles and from £74,725, this adds a 5.5 litre V8 engine, producing 557hp and propelling the E-Class to 60mph in just over 4 seconds. Alongside significant suspension and braking upgrades, interior enhancements include an AMG instrument cluster with a race timer.