As big names go, Mercedes-Benz is up there with the best, and years of experience, designs, models, engines and refinements have been poured into its latest E-Class generation. Vanarama Content Editor Tom Roberts takes you on a whistle-stop tour of the E-Class Saloon E220d.
With the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the big question for me was what does the "E" stand for? Executive? Efficient? Exciting? Extremely lovely? Being a curious sort, I shot over to Wikipedia where I discovered the "E" used to stand for "Einspritzmotor", the German word for "fuel injection engine". But then all Mercedes-Benz cars began using fuel injection engines and the company decided to keep the "E" as a model identifier – and that's that!
The E-Class is incredibly popular, with its size and durability making it a perfect example of a multi-market car. It's found success in a variety of roles including personal car to being a frequent sight as a taxi in Europe and Asia, and serving as extremely capable special-purpose vehicles – such as ambulances or police cars.
Talking 'bout THIS generation
The fifth and current generation of the E-Class hit showrooms in 2016, taking a lot of its design cues from the larger S-Class and smaller C-Class. Mercedes-Benz has abandoned some of the more flat and angular surfaces we've seen over the years – who can forget the W123 model of the 1980s, and that chino-brown colour that was inexplicably so popular?
Today's model is a curvy, streamlined animal, with instantly recognisable intakes under its eye-like headlights. The grille is stately-looking, with a huge Mercedes-Benz badge sat in the centre, and it blends perfectly onto the hood. Big alloys, low-profile tyres and understated wheel arches make the vehicle look low to the ground, brimming with power. And finally, the body sweeps back over the cockpit to an aerodynamic finish.
Let's talk comfort and ability
Top Gear described the E-Class' engine as "polite and powerful", and that's this car in a nutshell. It breaks down like this: understated exterior, luxuriously modern interior, packed with top-class tech that's mostly really easy to use. Sounds good to me.
Now to the drive…it's easy. You sit in the comfortable cabin, the car spreads itself out across the road, and that's it. Off you go, on the road again, in gorgeous comfort. Nestled in the cabin you simply while away the miles, arrive, go about your business, then step back into the car to envious gasps.
Mercedes-Benz have built on the E-Class' plus points in the latest generation. Make no mistake, this is probably one of the most comfortable and beautiful-looking cars you're likely to find on the road today.
And yet, this is not a "driver's car", it isn't meant to flung around corners or accelerate at nose-bleeding speeds. The E-Class is a luxury saloon, it's here to carry you in style from A to B. And it does that incredibly well – and at the price we're offering right now…it's also a bit of bargain!