Look at it from the front and you’ll think this E-class is a completely new car. That’s what Mercedes would have you believe too, but the reality is it’s very similar to the outgoing model.
Fresh styling is the most obvious change. The executive stalwart has shed its twin rectangular headlamps in favour of a softer nose. The rear has also been redesigned, but the overall profile is still pretty similar to that of its forbear. Merc assures us alterations have been made to the interior – steering wheel, vents, materials and stitching – but it’s another case of spot the difference.

Of greater note to businesses is the E-class’s latest trim delineation system and equipment. Avantgarde trim has been ditched, simply leaving SE and AMG Sport (the AMG moniker wasn’t there before either), while Mercedes claims the E-class now has extra kit worth more than £4000 in exchange for a £2280 price rise over the old car.

LED headlights, parking aids, auto dimming mirrors and Merc’s Comand infotainment system incorporating a DAB radio are all now standard with entry-level SE cars. Trick new optional technology includes a horde of new safety features, a camera able to create 3D images of the road ahead, and full beams that automatically bend the light around oncoming cars to avoid dazzling drivers – but still illuminate the surrounding road. Don’t expect such things to come cheap, though.
The biggest change as far as engines are concerned is the introduction of an new 2.0-litre petrol – the E250 – sporting headline figures of 47.9mpg, 138g/km, 211hp and 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds.
BusinessCar sampled the E250 CDI, as diesels will still be the dominant corporate choice. It proved quiet, smooth at low revs, and adept at hauling the big car along. It was gruff and unrefined further up the rev range though, rendering the pricey but silky 252hp E350 CDI the sweet spot of the available models.

The E-class is as comfortable, sturdy and refined as we’ve come to expect from Mercedes, but the handling, while decent, doesn’t come close to the levels of feedback and resultant appeal that emanates from chief rival BMW’s equivalent.  

The E220 CDI was unavailable to test at Mercedes’ launch event. It’s the smallest diesel (2.0-litres with 170hp) and likely to be the most sought after by fleets, especially when the Blue Efficiency version arrives shortly after the conventional models, with 119g/km and 62.8mpg – figures identical to those of BMW’s 520d Efficient Dynamics.

It may be more of a facelift-cum-model upgrade than a completely new car, but the E-class remains a strong contender. Badge appeal, good RVs and heaps of kit won’t do it any harm.


Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI AMG Sport
P11D price £38,910
Model price range £32,400-£43,815
Residual value 38.6%
Depreciation £23,910
Fuel £7117
SMR £3245
VED £360
National Insurance £3544
Cost per mile 80.8p
Fuel consumption 54.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 136g/km (22% – 2013/2014)
BIK 20/40% per month £143/£285
Service interval 15,000 miles
Insurance (1-50) group 37
Warranty 3yrs unlimited mls
Boot space 540/N/A litres
Engine size/power 2143cc 204hp
Top speed/0-62mph 150mph/7.5secs
On sale April 2013
Score 8/10
Verdict Little different to its predecessor but welcome trim simplifications and equipment upgrades