- Any body you want
- Fab cabin
- ...with lots of room
- All-wheel drive, even on coupe
- Hybrid or diesel, your choice
- Busy angularity works on coupe, less so on sedan
- COMAND's futzy interface
- Some button clutter on the console
- Base sedan wears vinyl upholstery
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup is many vehicles in one, with comfort and luxury across the board and sporty manners for those who want them.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is many things to many people, but at the core, the E-Class is a comfortable mid-size car that does luxury right and can even be a bit of fun to drive.
The E-Class offers many different options for a wide variety of buyers. There's a traditional sedan and wagon, as well as coupe and convertible models. Add to that a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive, and five different engine options, including an AMG variant that puts out up to 577 hp, a diesel, and a hybrid.
Since its last full redesign in 2010, the E-Class has improved in several graduated steps. Last year brought improved fuel economy and performance, more safety technology, and a cleaner look. This year, the E-Class gets a new twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that's sprinkled throughout the lineup.
See our Mercedes-Benz E-Class page for information on the history of this model line
For the 2015 model year the E-Class is offered as a E250 BlueTEC sedan; an E350 sedan or wagon; an E400 sedan, wagon, coupe or cabriolet; an E550 coupe or cabriolet; and an E63 AMG sedan and wagon.
The E-Class' unmistakable German presence is now a bit softer, having lost its starched lines last year. Luxury models wear a three-bar grille and a star on the hood, while Sport models get the star integrated in the grille itself. The other major design changes include the clean-up of the rear quarter panels, now without the flared and creased look of the last four model years, and LED running lights and taillamps with a signature night-time look. It's less busy--maybe less interesting to some--and the new design is undoubtedly sleeker and more elegant. The E-Class' cabin fared better, especially after a recent refashioning, and the fine materials and trims we've come to associate with Mercedes are in full effect, as is the solidly constructed feel of most of the controls. It takes to expressive use of trim very well: the standard vinyl and wood can be upgraded to supple leather, aluminum or carbon-look trim, or furniture-grade wood.
A huge range in drivetrain offerings almost guarantees there's an E-Class for any point on the economy/performance curve. The basic E350 gasoline engine has direct injection and makes 302 horsepower, while the 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the E550 throbs with 402 horsepower. A new twin-turbo E400 makes 329 hp, replacing the E350 in some body styles and the E550 in others. At the top of the gas-powered lineup, a spooled-up E63 AMG performance edition now churns out 550 hp from a 5.5-liter biturbo V-8--or, in "S" trim, 577 hp. Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive is also optional on some coupes and much of the sedan range (and standard on wagons), and it's also standard on the AMG versions this year. Any of these versions accelerates to 60 mph in 7 seconds or less--with the AMG versions throttling the pavement into submission into as few as 4 seconds.
Two green versions make the E-Class one of the few vehicles sold anywhere in the world to have gas, gas-electric, and diesel drivetrains. The E250 BlueTEC gives up some torque and a bit of acceleration to the outgoing six-cylinder E350 BlueTEC turbodiesel--but since it's a four-cylinder, highway fuel economy is 42 mpg. There's also an E400 Hybrid that shares lithium-ion batteries and motors with the S400 Hybrid, and earns a 30-mpg highway rating. The choice between the two should factor mostly on whether you post more city or highway miles, respectively.
Regardless of the model or engine chosen, however, the E-Class range rewards the driver with available adjustable suspension settings, a responsive seven-speed automatic, and improved, yet still comfortable, driving dynamics. The E63 AMG kicks the whole show up a notch, with a reworked AMG-tuned suspension and lots of power.
Interior space was improved with the latest E-Class redesign, with excellent head and leg room for both the front and back seats. The E-Class sedan seats five adults comfortably. Coupes and convertibles can carry four, with relatively big back seats. Wagon models have even more versatility, with fold-down seats, an open cargo space, and two temporary-duty, rear-facing third-row seats available on non-AMG models. Wagons also get a power tailgate. Across the line, build quality is tight, materials selection is mostly excellent, and quietness is a strength.
Standard equipment no longer includes satellite radio, and a rearview camera is optional on the base models, but Bluetooth and a power sunroof are standard. Other luxury upgrades include voice-controlled navigation; Sirius and HD Radio; a surround-view camera; heated seats; numerous electronic safety assists; air suspension, and adaptive sport seats. The most coveted feature is sure to be the 1200-watt, 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with exquisite rendering of sound.
The E-Class family offers an impressive number of above-and-beyond active-safety features--many of them optional--to detect driver drowsiness, monitor blind spots, control high beams automatically, maintain a set following distance, and help keep you in your lane. And two of the body styles have earned Top Safety Pick+ status from the IIHS. A front-mounted stereo camera system enables three-dimensional imaging of road obstacles and traffic at distances up to 55 yards, with overall system effectiveness stretching out to 550 yards. Together with driver drowsiness detection systems, forward-collision mitigation systems, braking assistance, and several flavors of lane-keeping assist, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class can even steer itself in limited circumstances while radar cruise handles speed regulation--a first step to autonomous driving.
Fuel economy varies greatly depending on trim level, from 28 mpg city, 42 highway for the diesel, to 15/21 for an AMG S Model wagon. All engines are paired with seven-speed automatics, and even the performance-oriented versions include fuel-saving technologies like engine stop/start and Eco modes.