Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016) Review

The Mercedes E-Class is a large saloon car that's comfortable, luxurious and spacious

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Comfortable and relaxed to travel in
  • Plenty of space
  • Broad range of engines
  • Some noisy diesels
  • Top-spec E63 AMG very expensive to run
  • Not as fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series
Mercedes-Benz E Class prices from £13,995.
Finance from £305.85 / month.

Even though it was designed almost a decade ago and is no longer on sale, the previous-generation Mercedes E-Class is still up with the best cars that you can buy when it comes to driving comfort, even if the new model is even better.

Set up to be more relaxing and comfortable, rather than sporty, this large saloon car - which is also available as an estate - smooths over the bumps and dips of Britain’s roads, making it an ideal choice for longer journeys.

For maximum comfort, you should find a model with AirMatic air suspension, which is excellent at absorbing road imperfections, and keeping the car stable, so it doesn’t bounce around on rough surfaces or lean in corners. The suspension also has different settings, so you can put the car into a sportier mode. The main effect is to make the E-Class feel a bit more uncomfortable. If you really want a car that feels engaging and nimble through corners, then a BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF is a better bet.

From the start, the E-Class came well-equipped with climate control, heated front seats, a dashboard screen and Bluetooth so you can connect your mobile phone wirelessly. The cheaper models came with Artico leather on the seats - Mercedes name for an artificial leather that looks realistic, but is still plastic. More expensive models had genuine leather upholstery.

However, the best E-Class cars arrived in April 2013. These were redesigned to look more modern, with two headlights at the front, rather than the four separate lights on earlier cars. Equipment levels were also boosted to include a digital radio

Despite the update, the E-Class is noticeably boxier than the current model - particularly at the back - but it doesn’t look too dated. Inside, there are more buttons than you’d expect on a modern car, but it still feels luxurious and sturdy.

The smooth automatic gearbox is best-suited to the car: the manual gearbox doesn’t feel as if it’s been made to the same high-standards as the rest of the car, although that’s just the impression you get; there aren’t any particular reliability concerns.

If you opt for a diesel car then fuel economy will be good - even in the earliest models. You’ll have to put up with a bit of clatter when you accelerate hard, though. The petrol engines sound smoother, but use more fuel. All diesel cars built since 2014 were fitted with AdBlue systems, which reduce harmful emissions.

A high-performance E63 AMG edition of the car was also sold. In complete contrast to the rest of the range, this is more like a muscle car with a powerful, growling engine and sportscar performance that pushes you back in your seat when you accelerate.

The E-Class is a big car - similar in size to the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, so there’s a large amount of room inside, ensuring that adult passengers will remain comfortable for hours. That’s less likely to be the case if you put somebody in the middle seat at the back, because there’s a large hump in the floor, so they will have to spread their legs either side.

Further back, the boot is enormous. Pick the estate version and you’ll have 1,950 litres of luggage space with the rear seats folded, which is around 300 litres more than the car’s competitors of its time: the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Nets and hooks help keep your belongings from being hurled around this chasm.

When crash tested by the independent Euro NCAP organisation in 2010, the E-Class gained a full five stars, but these results can’t be compared to more recent cars because the tests have been significantly toughened up.

Key facts

Warranty 3 years / unlimited mileage
Boot size 540 litres
Width 1852mm
Length 4923mm
Height 1468mm
Tax (min to max) £30 to £505


  • April 2009 Mercedes E-Class revealed with a range of new petrol (CGI) and diesel (CDI) engines available
  • April 2013 Significant updates to the car, which was redesigned with two headlights, rather than the four separate lights of earlier versions. Basic SE cars gained a digital radio, automatic parking and folding side mirrors.
  • September 2014 Automatic braking - Collision Prevention Assist Plus - is added as standard to all E-Class models. Power and fuel economy are improved across the engine range, and new options packs are added. Premium includes panoramic sunroof and reversing camera. Premium Plus adds keyless start and a Harman Kardon stereo. Diesel engines now have Adblue technology and have BlueTEC badges, but don’t come with a spare wheel
  • May 2016 The E-Class is replaced by an all-new model

Understanding Mercedes-Benz E Class names

Engine E220 BlueTEC

The number after the letter E gives you an idea of the engine power: the bigger the number, the more powerful the engine. Diesel engines were initially badged ‘d’ or ‘CDI’. Later versions were labelled BlueTEC.

Trim level SE

The trim level gives you an idea of the equipment that’s fitted as standard. The range began with SE, followed by Avantgarde and Sport, which were dropped in 2013 by AMG Sport. The last E-Class models were available in AMG Line and AMG Night Edition trim

Mercedes-Benz E Class Engines

Petrol E250 Diesel E220 BlueTEC, E250 BlueTEC & E350 BlueTEC Hybrid E300 BlueTEC Hybrid

The most powerful and efficient E-Classes available are those that were built towards the end of the car’s life.

All of the diesel engines available in 2016 were powerful and economical. The cheapest E220 BlueTEC diesel engine is the most efficient, with an official fuel economy figure of 64.2mpg. There’s enough power to accelerate smoothly and quickly up to motorway speeds, so there’s no need to choose any other model.

If you want extra power then there are two other diesel engines to choose from: the E250 BlueTEC, which is the same engine as the E220 BlueTEC, just designed to produce more power. The E350 BlueTEC is a bigger engine. It’s smoother and less noisy than the other options, and will accelerate much faster.

If you want a petrol, there’s only the E250 to go for. It’s got plenty of power and feels quick, but the impact this has on running costs will be noticeable, as the economy figures are well down on the equivalent diesels.

There’s a hybrid option, too - the E300 BlueTEC. It combines the 2.1-litre diesel engine from the E220 and E250 BlueTEC models with an electric motor. It’s powerful but it’s expensive to buy and won’t be as economical as the claimed figures in everyday driving. If good fuel economy is your main concern, then the E220 BlueTEC is best and less expensive.





0 - 62mph

top speed





7.4 secs


E220 BlueTEC




7.3 secs


E250 BlueTEC




7.5 secs


E350 BlueTEC




5.9 secs


E300 BlueTEC




7.5 secs


Mercedes-Benz E Class Trims

SE, AMG Line, AMG Night Edition

The trim levels offered on the Mercedes E-Class varied throughout its life, so it’s worth getting a full run-down of what’s fitted to the car before you buy it. For example, an E-Class SE sold after April 2014 should have come with folding side mirrors and a digital radio as standard. These were optional extras on earlier cars.

The final E-Class models sold in 2016 came in three trim levels. The cheapest, SE, still had plenty of equipment, including sat-nav, climate control, a digital radio, Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity and artificial Artico leather.

AMG Line and AMG Night Edition cars were meant to be sportier, and were adjusted to make the ride a bit harder. While this brought some small benefits in making the car feel more agile in corners (but not much), it made the car a little less comfortable over bumps. These cars also had chunkier bumpers and larger alloy wheels.

From 2014, two extra option packs were made available and these were commonly chosen by buyers. Vehicles with a Premium pack gained a panoramic sunroof, parking camera and multi-way electrical adjustment of the front-seats.

Premium Plus cars added a Harman Kardon sound system and keyless entry to the list.

Mercedes-Benz E Class Reliability and warranty

This version of the Mercedes E-Class marked a return to reliability after a few years where the company took its eye off the ball. It was ranked a respectable 57th out of 150 cars for reliability in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power satisfaction survey, ahead of the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6

Running costs are higher than average, but owners otherwise praised the car’s build quality and in-car technology.

When new, the car came with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty. If it still applies, then this is transferred to anyone buying a second-hand model.

Used Mercedes-Benz E Class

On sale for seven years and updated twice, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to the Mercedes E-Class. The car’s specification changed throughout its life, so it’s worth double-checking that any car you’re looking at does include the equipment that you expect.

If your budget allows, then it’s best to search for a car built after April 2013. These came with more equipment, including digital radio, automatic parking and folding lights, but were also redesigned. You can identify older models immediately because they have four headlights at the front. The later models only have two, which makes them look much more up to date.

The engines were updated and improved at the same time as the rest of the model range -in April 2013 and September 2014, but it’s not worth paying a big premium for a newer engine alone, as fuel economy is only slightly better in real-world driving.

Pick a BlueTEC car for a cleaner conscience: these feature extra measures to reduce harmful emissions, including AdBlue - an additive that is injected into the exhaust gases, which will need refilling periodically.

The E-Class has been around since 2009, so there are plenty of cars available if you’re looking to buy one second hand. What can be confusing, though, is the range of trim levels and engine names, as Mercedes has tweaked these several times over the course of the E-Class’ life.

Although cars in SE trim do come well-equipped, cars higher up the range came with genuine leather upholstery. Despite Mercedes’ best efforts with the artificial material, you can tell the difference.

You’ll find plenty of high-mileage E-Classes, because they are popular as company cars or executive taxis. In many cases, they will have been used for long-distance journeys carrying just one or two people, which is less damaging than fully-loaded short trips. As long as the cars have been regularly serviced, then there’s no need to steer clear.

Other Editions

E Class (2016)

Still the leading luxury family car, the Mercedes E-Class also offers the latest tech - at a price

E Class Estate (2016)

Space, luxury, cutting edge tech and a smooth ride: the Mercedes E-Class does it all - but it comes at a price

E Class All-Terrain (2017 – 2020)

A car designed specifically for owners who need the flexibility to cope with urban, highway and rural driving.