A history lesson…
“A car for your retirement”, “boring”, “stuck in the ‘90s” are all typical responses to the Mercedes E-Class. It’s a crying shame because in reality, the E-Class is a fantastic car. It’s been with us for a few decades now and, in its current incarnation; it’s become the real deal.
Always bordering more on the luxury executive saloon rather than the budget saloon, the E-Class has been one of Mercedes’ most important cars since the late 1990’s. It continually fights with the BMW 5-Series for domination, and while it may not be as popular in the UK as its German rival, the E-Class is loved worldwide and that’s why Mercedes keeps with it.
Bang for your buck
In many ways, the E-Class is like a mini S-Class. It’s got loads of technology, gadgets and kit to keep any driver happy and confused. For your money, you do get a lot of car, but then again, you do have to pay a premium for it. And considering Mercedes’ rather poor reliability results over the last decade, it does make you question whether it’s worth it.
The diesel E-Class is probably the best option, as you get a lovely, smooth diesel engine with plenty of poke and respectable economy figures. The petrol models don’t really make much sense, unless you go for the E55 AMG, which has a seriously powerful V8 engine.
What you’ll pay
Prices can be varied for the E-Class because it’s been in production for so long. The E220CDi starts off at £6,400. While for an 02-plated Classic with all the trimmings sits in at around £7,000.
What to check
Modern day Mercedes are not as well-made as the cars they were churning out pre-1997. Unfortunately, the cars made from that era up until around 2005 were deemed as poorly made by critics, but with the newer models Mercedes claims the build quality is coming back.
Be careful to check everything from the leather, the air-con system, the automatic gearbox to the functionality of the electric windows.
A clutch assembly will be around £185. A starter motor will set you back about £215 and a radiator around £195. An alternator is a sobering £325 while a full exhaust is a frightening £755
How it drives
It’s a bit of a pudding on the road, to be honest. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s a very softly sprung and is much more accustomed to driving on motorways than blasting down B-roads. If you’re used to the dynamic drive of a BMW, you will be disappointed, there’s no two ways about it.
If you’re not interested in performance, then the E-Class does make a lot of sense. It is much more comfortable than any BMW, drives like you’re on a cloud and looks regal and expensive. It’s probably more suited to older executive types who just want to live lavishly and like lots of leather.
The boot is huge, the performance is respectable and it’ll look great parked outside your home. The Mercedes E-Class is a great car, just probably not for the younger generations.