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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020
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Review: The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is effortlessly elegant - I was gutted to hand back the keys

We test the Mercedes-Benz E-Class on Irish roads.

THE MERCEDES-BENZ E-Class is a good looking, comfortable and refined luxury saloon. In fact, it is one of the nicest cars I have driven all year and I was gutted to hand back the keys. It is one of those cars that makes driving very pleasurable, effortless even.

From the outside it is cookie cutter design from Mercedes – the E-Class looks like the C-Class which looks like the S-Class – but that’s no bad thing. The E-Class is a very handsome car with elegant lines and well-suited sporty features thanks to the styling of the AMG Line trim. You’ll notice the star emblem is centred within the grille and those 19-inch alloys fill the arches rather nicely.

Source: Melanie May

When you sit into the cabin you’ll appreciate that the car is styled on the flagship S-Class as the interior is swanky. Everything is soft touch and scratchy plastics are few and far between. The centre console is elegant and one of the nicest of any cabin. The black ash wood finish adds a touch of class – yet the cabin feels very modern with its dramatic air vents and massive 12.3-inch display screen.

The interior looks very funky at nighttime when the interior ambient lighting is visible. You can choose from 64 different colours but I loved the purple light.

But it’s not all about the style. The E-Class is practical too with loads of storage and plenty of room all around. Back seat legroom is partially good as is the boot size at 540 litres – bigger than most of its rivals. However, the shape is a little restrictive in terms of loading and unloading bigger items.

Usually, a return trip across the country in a day wouldn’t be something I’d look forward to but the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a dream to drive over long distances. The wonderfully comfortable, heated seats as well as a very comfortable driving position made the drive simply pleasurable. No back twinges at all.

Source: Dave Humphreys

The comfort was aided by the excellent onboard tech making my trip almost effortless. The cruise control with variable speed limiter did most of the work and the voice controls made selecting songs, setting destinations and placing calls safe and stress free.

I did find the COMAND System a bit fiddly and not as easy to use as the systems found in rival BMWs and Audis. But I loved the touch buttons on the steering wheel.

Source: Dave Humphreys

I was mightily impressed with the entry-level engine of this E 220d model. It is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel unit with an output of 194 hp and peak torque of 400Nm. It is a very refined and lovely and smooth too. It is mated to an equally smooth and quick shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The setup is well suited to the car, and it never felt underpowered or overwhelmed. On top of that the claimed combined fuel economy is a really good 4.3 litre/100km (65.7mpg) and I averaged a decent 5.3 litres/100km (53mpg)

This car was designed with comfort in mind. If you want sporty you need to look elsewhere but if you want a car that will demolish motorway miles with ease and refinement then this is the car for you.

The suspension is nice and supple, but you can upgrade to air suspension for added ‘driving on a cloud’ like feeling. There is plenty of grip too, body lean is well controlled and the steering feels nice and direct. The cabin is also very well insulated from wind, road and engine noise which all adds to the relaxing feel of the car.

In terms of price, the E-Class starts at €48,200 with this automatic AMG Line car starting at €53,085. The E-Class saloon can be had with petrol, diesel or petrol-electric powertrains and can also be had with 4Matic four-wheel drive.

Overall, the Mercedes-Benz takes class honours for me. I really enjoyed how it drove and handled and the interior is just marvellous, and trumps that of its rivals. It is also well priced when compared to the BMW 5 Series (currently priced from €48,750 with a 9% discount) and is just slightly more expensive than the Audi A6 saloon which starts at €46,160.

READ: 6 sunny weather driving tips for stress free summer road trips >

READ: Review: The Subaru XV is rugged and ready – but might fly under your radar >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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