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Mercedes E-class: Test Drive

Date: 16 March 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Mercedes E-class 2009
Category: Executive
P11D price: £28,863 (estimate)
Key rival: BMW 5-series

While the rest of the motor industry is increasing prices, Mercedes has lowered like-for-like pricing on the all-new E-class.

And as if that wasn't enough to tempt corporate buyers, the German maker has added more standard equipment and made the car much more efficient, putting it on at least a par with its rivals.

Mercedes is openly targeting the fleet market and to that end the biggest sellers will be the E220CDI and the E250CDI. Both use a 2.1-litre diesel engine, but in different states of 'tune', the 220 producing 170PS and the 250 producing 204PS. Both, though, produce the same CO2 and mpg figures, the manual delivering 53.3mpg and 139g/km, with the more popular automatic offereing 47.1mpg and 159g/km. However, there will be an engine upgrade for the auto in September, which reduces CO2 to 149g/km. Hold off purchasing until then will save 2% points benefit-in-kind, equating to £228 per year for the driver on 40% income tax.

Mercedes has hugely simplified the E-class range, with the help of Cap, to maximise residual values. The set-up now broadly follows the C-class system of SE, Avantgarde and Sport.

SE spec, just, has the upper hand on the equivalent BMW and Audi with standard kit including, parking sensors front and back, cruise control, climate control, Bluetooth, and heated seats. Avantgarde adds leather and larger alloys, plus Mercedes' new clever eight-stage automatic headlights. Sport adds a more aggressive body styling kit, sports steering wheel, sports suspension and even larger alloys.

As a result the whole-life costs are expected to be so close to the BMW 5-series and Audi A6 as to make next to no difference.

All E-class models get...