Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016)

Rating:

Distinctive and sharp looks. Excellent CDI diesels. Good motorway cruiser. Very comfortable and refined. Feels very well built.

Steering could do with more feel. Interior not as inviting as other premium saloons. Numerous reports of automatic transmission problems and software glitches.

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016): At A Glance

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is now in its ninth generation and sees Mercedes-Benz return to its core qualities of cossetting comfort, safety and high luxury. But most importantly, Mercedes says it signals a return to engineering integrity. After the issues and reliability problems that dogged the previous Mercedes E-Class, especially in the early days, this is an important area for the firm if it wants to regain its reputation for strong build quality and reliability.

First impressions are very favourable and the E-Class certainly feels well built when you get behind the wheel. From the heavy 'thud' of the doors, to the solid feel of the dash and buttons, it's clear this is a far superior car to its predecessor. There's also a welcome return to the more angular interior styling of older Mercedes models, giving a functional and sturdy feel - although it's perhaps not as inviting as other premium cars such as the Jaguar XF.

The bold and sharp exterior styling is certainly a big departure from the previous model, but it retains that disctinctive Mercedes-Benz look. And there are big changes under the bonnet too with new petrol and diesel engines that offer significantly improved fue consumption and better performance too.

On the road the E-Class is everything you'd expect from a Mercedes saloon with a smooth ride, a cossetting cabin and superb refinement. It's not quite as good in corners as a BMW 5 Series, but is still reassuring and composed nonetheless. It's also available with some sophisticated and genuinely useful technology such as a blind spot warning system and adaptive highbeam which automatically dips the headlights if a car is coming in the opposite direction.

Mercedes Benz E63 AMG 2009 Road Test and Video

What does a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016) cost?

List Price from £38,150
Buy new from £28,352
Contract hire from £307.36 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4856–4892 mm
Width 1822–2071 mm
Height 1450–1483 mm
Wheelbase 2854–2874 mm

Full specifications

The interior of the E-Class has a very modern appearance, especially Sport models (as shown in the picture above) with their brushed aluminium trim and sports steering wheel, which is great to hold. The sports seats offer decent side support too, but while the cabin has some nice details, such as the metal switches for the climate control, it's a little soulless and lacks the warmth and individuality of alternatives like the Jaguar XF.

There are some neat touches such as the ambient lighting (on Avantgarde and Sport models). Thanks to optical fibres behind certain parts of the trim on the dashboard and doors, they create a band of soft light, which is particularly soothing at night. However, some of the plastics feel a little hard too and there are switches shared with the much cheaper Mercedes A-Class, which isn't what you'd expect on an executive saloon.

But there is no denying the build quality and this is an area Mercedes-Benz has clearly focussed on following criticism of some of its previous models from the mid 1990s. It feels very hard-wearing and the finish is top notch. It's surprising that the E-Class still uses a foot-operated parking brake though, when most other executive saloons use an electric version.

The driving position is good though and there's lots of reach adjustment in the steering, while all cars get heated front seats as standard which are a great luxury in the winter! This E-Class is longer and wider than the previous model which means extra leg and elbow room for all passengers. But it's most noticeable in the back, which feels noticeably more spacious (good news for all those taxi drivers), especially in terms of legroom.

The boot is large too and the wide opening along with a capacity of 540 litres - around the same as an Audi A6 - means you can fit in four sets of golf clubs or two large suitcases. There's a further 78 litres of stowage under the boot floor which is ideal for keeping useful things (like de-icer) hidden away. However, if you want folding rear seats, they're an optional extra while another useful option is the Easy-Pack Boot Box which is ideal for looking after bags of shopping to stop them sliding about the boot.

Equipment from launch (May 2009):

SE is the entry-level model (available only with four-cylinder models) comes well equipped as standard with seven airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, Artico upholstery, heated front seats, Advanced Parking Guide, aluminium interior trim, leather steering wheel, electric windows and door mirrors plus climate control.

Avantgarde adds 17-inch alloy wheels, full leather upholstery, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, ambient cabin lighting, black ash wood trim, 15mm lower suspension, an auto-dimming rearview mirrors and a bespoke lower front grille.

Sport is the top of the range trim and gets full AMG bodystyling, AMG floormats and pedals, a sports steering wheel, sports seats, brushed aluminium interior trim, variable ration Direct steering, paddle shifters for 7G-TRONIC automatic gearbox, sports suspension, uprated brakes, sports suspension and 18-inch AMG alloy wheels.

Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016) like to drive?

Mercedes-Benz saloons have always been renowned for refinement and this generation of the E-Class is no different. While BMW may have the best-handling saloon with the BMW 5 Series, the E-Class leads the way in terms of long distance comfort - matched only by the Jaguar XF. It's supremely quiet and cossetting over long distances, with minimal intrusion from road or wind noise. As a result, long journeys are more often than not a relaxing experience.

This is down to the excellent ride quality which not only irons out potholes and rough roads, but also deals exceptionally well with bumpy roads. Of course, this is all dependant on what model you choose. The top of the range Sport has a noticeably firmer ride due to sports suspension and larger wheels, but it's still more comfort biased than sport models from other premium saloon makes. Avantgarde models are focussed more toward luxury, but still have lower suspension (by 15mm) than the entry SE version.

Where the E-Class doesn't shine as brightly is on demanding roads. The steering feels quite artificial, although it's fairly well weighted, but overall the Mercedes lacks the agility of a BMW 5-Series, although the Sport models come closer thanks to firmer sports suspension. It's still very composed and reassuring though, so for everyday driving, you won't be disappointed.

There's a wide choice of engines, offering everything from economy to outright performance. Most people choose one of the economical but punchy diesels starting with the E200 CDI with 136bhp. This is the best choice for economy as it is capable of averaging 54.3mpg (with the standard six-speed manual gearbox) but for more performance, there's the E220 CDI which is the same newly developed 2.2-litre diesel engine, but with power increased to 170bhp. It's only marginally less efficient (at 53.3mpg) but feels more punchy when pulling in-gear, helped by 400Nm of torque.

This model is ideal for long distance driving and ideal on the motorway where it's quiet and economical, yet still delivers plenty of performance when needed. The E250 CDI also uses this same engine, but with power boosted to 204bhp, however the real performance diesel is the exceptional E350 CDI.

This is the only six-cylinder diesel in the line-up and it has that muscular sound and feel you'd expect from a performance diesel. It delivers 231bhp but the figure of most importance is torque at 540Nm. It's a really effortless engine and gains speed easily and quickly - 0-62mph takes just 6.8 seconds, but it's the sheer grunt that really impresses on the move.

The petrol line-up starts with E200 CGI and like all the petrols, it's fitted with a turbocharger to boost performance but help wth efficiency. Despite the same, it's actually only 1.8-litre engine but produces 184bhp so 0-62mph comes up in a brisk 8.4 seconds. The same engine is used in the E250 CGI but with power increased to 204bhp.

It offers useful economy with an average figure of 37.2mpg but it lacks torque compared to the diesels and so needs to be worked quite hard to get meaningful performance, especially when you've got a full load of passengers and luggage. It comes with a five-speed automatic gearbox as standard, but this combination doesn't work especially well, particularly when you consider than other manufacturers offer more advanced automatics with six-speeds.

You often have to force it to kickdown in order to get decent acceleration which results in high revs and a rather unpleasant strained engine note. This obviously has an adverse affect on fuel economy too, so achieving the claimed figure can be a real challenge.

The high-performance petrols include the E350 CGI - a V6 with 292bhp while the top of the range version is the thunderous E500 which is powered by a 5.5-litre V8 with an immense 388bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
E200 7G-Tronic 46–48 mpg 7.9 s 138–142 g/km
E200 CDI BlueEfficiency 55 mpg 10.2 s 134–141 g/km
E200 CDI BlueEfficiency Automatic 55 mpg 9.5 s 134–141 g/km
E200 CGI BlueEfficiency 40 mpg 8.5 s 165–172 g/km
E200 CGI BlueEfficiency Automatic 44 mpg 7.9 s 152–160 g/km
E200 Kompressor 34 mpg 9.1 s 195–210 g/km
E220 BlueTec 7G-Tronic 64 mpg 8.3 s 121 g/km
E220 CDI 46–61 mpg 8.4–8.7 s 120–167 g/km
E220 CDI 7G-Tronic 61 mpg 8.4 s 120–131 g/km
E220 CDI Automatic 61–64 mpg 8.2 s 116–121 g/km
E220 CDI BlueEfficiency 57 mpg 8.7 s 130–139 g/km
E220 CDI BlueEfficiency Automatic 58 mpg 8.4 s 129–138 g/km
E250 7G-Tronic 46–48 mpg 7.4 s 138–142 g/km
E250 CDI 7G-Tronic 55–58 mpg 7.5 s 129–134 g/km
E250 CDI BlueEfficiency 57 mpg 7.7 s 130–139 g/km
E250 CDI BlueEfficiency Automatic 58 mpg 7.5 s 129–138 g/km
E250 CGI BlueEfficiency 43 mpg 7.7 s 154–162 g/km
E300 BlueTec Hybrid 69 mpg 7.1–7.5 s 107–110 g/km
E300 BlueTec Hybrid 7G-Tronic 67–69 mpg 7.1 s 107–110 g/km
E300 Hybrid 66 mpg 7.5 s 111 g/km
E350 BlueEfficiency 41 mpg 6.3 s 161–164 g/km
E350 BlueTec 40–48 mpg 6.6–7.8 s 154–188 g/km
E350 BlueTec 9-speed Auto 53 mpg 6.4 s 136 g/km
E350 CDI Automatic 54 mpg 6.4 s 136 g/km
E350 CDI BlueEfficiency 47 mpg 6.2 s 156–159 g/km
E500 26 mpg 5.2 s 253–261 g/km
E63 AMG 29 mpg 4.2–4.3 s 227–230 g/km
E63 AMG S 28 mpg 4.2 s 230 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

75%

Real MPG

19–58 mpg

MPGs submitted

991

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009 – 2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What sort of diesel regeneration does my car have?

I have a 2013 Mercedes E250. What sort of diesel regeneration does it have? I drive 50 miles or more on main roads at least weekly.
It has an EGR and a diesel particulate filter. The DPF should regenerate passively on your longer runs and, if it hasn't regenerated enough passively, it will actively regenerate using post-injected diesel to fire itself off and burn the soot in the DPF. If it also has an SCR system requiring AdBlue then there will be a blue filler next to the diesel filler under the fuel flap.
Answered by Honest John
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