It’s a wonderful thing, competition. Without it, we would all still be driving Mr Ford’s no-added-extras vision of the motor car. So, we have a new Mercedes E, designed in direct response to what BMW, Jaguar and Audi have been doing in the class.
And the Audi A6, Jaguar XF and BMW 5-series have brought the best out of Mercedes, who are chucking a new design, better trim and engines into this new beast, which is sure to be a popular company car.
The cosmetic changes are quite striking. The front end has been much improved; it’s smoother with nicely curved lamps and a more prominent grille. In fact, the whole look of the car is a step forward, looking sleek and modern in its new incarnation.
Inside, it is as smooth as out, and any executive would be happy to hang his suit jacket in the stylish, leather and leather-look interior. There’s a Mercedes Comand sat-nav system and the multimedia control panel is just as easy to use.
Nice and trim
In a bid to inject a little sporty life into the brand, Mercedes have added some new trims. Out goes the Avantgarde, which was always a little dull to be honest, and the Sport trim to be replaced with a new AMG Sport.
The SE set up comes with larger alloy wheels, lowered suspension, LEDs in your headlamps, a sat-nav and DAB radio. You also get the Collision Prevention Assist system, and an Active Park Assist, which allows you to sit back and let the car park itself. It’s not much of a step up from the Avantgarde except in price, more than £2,000 more.
The AMG Sport trims will stick £2,495 on top for everything that comes with the SE plus 18in wheels, sportier suspension and seats, better brakes and a body kit.
As of yet, there haven’t been any diesel models available for test, which is a shame because that’s how most British drivers choose their E class Mercs. In the past, the diesel Es have been somewhat noisier than they should be.
The E250 is a good model to try though. It’s very good on mileage with a 2-litre turbo. It’s more powerful at 208bhp with better torque too. From already impressive economy figures, the new E250 gets 48.7mpg with CO2 emissions at 135g/km.
The rather lacklustre performance of the engine is a reminder why so many go for the diesel option.
The gearbox is a seven-speed automatic, which is standard in almost the whole range. It’s very smooth, to the point that you’ll hardly notice its shifts.
The ride is good, particularly if you stump up for the Airmatic suspension option.
BMW, Audi or Merc?
If you’re looking for a car lease deal, then this new Mercedes should be on your shopping list. If you are splashing out your own money though, you might want to take a look at the smoother BMW 5-series, unless you’re after the family-friendly E Estate with its massive storage. It’s in car leasing deals that this smooth, economic motor that maintains all of its makers best traditions will probably win its competition.