SALE – 50% off Breakdown Cover
For a limited time, get 50% off our vehicle and personal breakdown cover from just £5.75 a month*.
By Jonathan Crouch
Cars arerarelyas crucial to their makers or buyers as this E-Class model always has been to Mercedes. This full-sized Executive segment contender has long been the backbone of the German company's range and a perennial favourite of the corporate car park. In 2020, improved Saloon and Estate versions of the fifth generation 'W213'-series model retained a sensible side but dialled up the desirability, aiming to offer a smarter, more prestigious approach to Executive class motoring than close competitors. They did so with more efficient engines, cutting-edge drive technology and comfort that made original customers question the need for a larger luxury saloon. Rivals from Audi, BMW and Jaguar had quite a benchmark to aim at.
4dr Saloon / 5dr Estate (2.0 diesel [E220d] / 3.0 diesel [E300d/E300 de/E400d] / 2.0 petrol [E200] / 3.0 petrol [E400/E 53 AMG] / 4.0 petrol [E 63 AMG])
No car epitomises what Mercedes-Benz stands for better than the E-Class. Here, we look at a significantly updated version of the 'W213' model we first saw in 2017, which found over 1.2 million global customers in its first four years on sale before we saw the much improved version of this design in 2020, the car we're going to look at here. And a model which aimed to bring a touch of S-Class to the brand's core full executive contender.
The E-Class of course, has quite a history. Back in 2020, Mercedes believed this to be the tenth generation version of this car, though by then there had only actually been five designs in this model line badged 'E-Class', the first of them launched back in 1993, which was merely an updated version of the 'W124'-series model launched seven years earlier. A proper redesign, the 'W210' model, followed in 1996, then a 'W211' series model in 2003 and a 'W212'-series design in 2010, the direct predecessor of the 'W213'-series design launched in 2017.
The roots of this model line though, really stretch way back to 1953 and an original 'W120'-series 'Ponton' design widely regarded as the company's first truly modern vehicle. Some at Mercedes put the start of this model line even further back to 1946 and the post-war launch of the 170V saloon. Wherever your starting point is for E-Class heritage, there's lots of it, initially through illustrious models like the 'W114' of the 'Sixties and Seventies (which introduced diesel engines and a Coupe body style option) and its successor, the 'W123' (which established a reputation for quality and sold into the Eighties). Throughout, the car we now know as the E-Class stayed resolutely modern, pioneering everything from safety passenger cell technology to turbo induction for diesel engines. Which is the kind of innovation that continued here in this revitalised 'W213' series model.
That was essential of course.When your rivals include cars as good as theAudi A6, the BMW 5 Series and the Jaguar XF, you can't afford not to try and set the standard. By 2020, all three of those cars had been fundamentally improved, hence the need to introduce this significantly updated version in mid-2020. A lot was different here, but most of it you couldn't see. Under the skin sat a totally overhauled electrical system, which not only provided for a wider range of driver assist functions but also allowed certain engines to adopt the brand's EQ Power 48V mild hybrid tech. There was also a fresh level of cabin media technology. And subtle visual changes that reflected current Mercedes styling trends.
As before, customers could have their E-Class in a variety of forms, including Coupes and Cabriolets, but the core of the range was still made up by the Saloon and Estate variants we're going to focus on here. We've completed separate E-Class used Reviews on the Estate body style, the E 53 performance model and the E 300de EQ Power plug-in diesel hybrid, so search for those if you're after those specific variants. Otherwise, stick with us here as we cover the Saloon and Estate E-Class range in Car & Driving's usual comprehensive detail. The 'W213'-series E-Class range sold until mid-2023, after which a new sixth generation version of this model was launched.
What You Get
One of the defining aspects of automotive design lies in creating styling characters so brand-specific that badges are hardly needed. This 'W213'-series E-Class model always delivered that; it could only be a Mercedes. But what kind of Mercedes? You might have expected the changes made as part of this mid-term facelift to take it aesthetically closer to its larger S-Class stablemate. Instead, the styling updates added to the Saloon and Estate variants we're focusing on here actually positioned these body styles visually closer to the next model down in the range, the 'W206'-series C-Class.
This remained though, a stylish piece of design, the powerfully-extended silhouette characterised by short overhangs, a long wheelbase, large wheels and taut, well-defined flanks. Broad shoulders sit above the wheel arches and the profile is defined by a powerful waist-level swage line that flows from front to rear through the door handles, while a further crease lower down sits above a distinct sill line to give the flanks some shape. The alternative Estate version adds 10mm of length and both body styles in this revised form gained revised aero-influenced wheels, rims ranging from 17 to 20-inches in size.
We should get to the update changes made as part of this mid-term facelift. There were certainly quite a few of them, as owners of earlier pre-2020-era 'W213'-series models will note at the front. The swept-back power domed bonnet flows down into a grille that was turned upside down, in this revised form being wider at the bottom than the top; a little disappointingly, it was now no longer possible to have it with an upstanding bonnet ornament. The LED headlights flanking the grille were different too - and, in pricier 'AMG Line'-series variants featured Mercedes' MULTIBEAM tech with 84 individually controlled LEDs and integrated daytime running lamps. These top models also gained a bumper closer to the more assertive style of that used by the Mercedes-AMG performance versions, which gained more overt corner cut-outs characterised by twin strakes on either side. It was even more different at the rear - or at least it was with the saloon body shape anyway, which gained much wider, horizontally-orientated LED tail lamps that got segmented by a restyled boot lid and sat above a revised bumper.
And inside? Well take a seat up-front and if you're familiar with the original version of this 'W213'-series E-Class design, at first glance, there won't seem to be too many improvements over what went before, but delve into the detail and you'll find that quite a lot's different, thanks to the change to the brand's more sophisticated MBUX multimedia system, physically evidenced by the switch to a centre console-mounted touchpad interface. The multimedia colour display that helps to control this pair of bonded 12.3-inch monitors was standard across the range and could also be activated by touchscreen or the provided 'Hey Mercedes' voice-activated functionality. Also improved was the steering wheel, enhanced to be a capacitive touch-sensitive design incorporating a restyle that allows for two separate bars of switchgear to be installed along the two horizontal spokes. The dash and fascia design doesn't have the dramatic, futuristic appeal of the seventh generation S-Class of this period, but at first glance, there's much the same feeling of opulence and quality. Plus the powered, heated leather seats are perfectly contoured and fitted around the driver to give ample comfort during long trips.
In the rear, the first thing you find inside is more than ample space - again, no great surprise given this E-Class model's private hire popularity, though head room might be a touch tight for those over 6 foot. If the front passengers have their seats at the lowest setting, you might find room for your feet slightly limited, but otherwise the rear footwells are big and broad, plus there are pronounced knee room cut-outs in the front seat backs.
Let's finish with a look at trunk space, rated at 540-litres for the Saloon model - an unbeaten figure in the class for the period - though that falls to just 370-litres if you opt for a Plug-in hybrid variant. A standard 40:20:40 split-folding backrest allows you to extend the boot area if need be. The alternative Estate body style remains the most spacious in the segment for this period, offering 640-litres of boot space in conventionally-engined form, which can be extended to 1,820-litres by folding the rear bench.
What You Pay
We'll base our prices here for the post-2020-era version of this W213-series E-Class model on the saloon. The estate values at around £500 more. Prices start at around £31,200 (around £34,250 retail) for a typical E220 petrol on a '20-plate with base 'Sport' trim, rising to around £37,400 (around £41,750 retail) for one of the last W213-series '22-plate cars.
For the E220d diesel, prices start at around £28,750 (around £32,750 retail) for a typical E220d diesel on a '20-plate with base 'Sport' trim, rising to around £32,700 (around £36,750 retail) for one of the last W213-series late-'22-plate cars. For the E300 de plug-in diesel, prices start at around £39,800 (around £44,250 retail) for a typical E300 de diesel on a '20-plate with typical 'AMG Line Premium' trim, rising to around £44,700 (around £50,250 retail) for one of the last W213-series late-'22-plate cars.
For the Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+, prices start at around £45,800 (around £52,250 retail) for a typical 'Premium' variant on a '20-plate, rising to around £53,100 (around £60,500 retail) for one of the last W213-series '22-plate 'Premium'-spec cars. For the top Mercedes-AMG E 63 4MATIC+, prices start at around £66,000 (around £74,000 retail) for a typical 'Night Edition Premium Plus' variant on a '20-plate, rising to around £84,800 (around £92,750 retail) for one of the last W213-series '23-plate 'Final Edition' cars. All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. Click here for a free valuation.
What to Look For
Most E-Class (W213-series) owners in our survey were satisfied, but inevitably, there were some who'd experienced problems. We came across a few owners who'd experienced failed NOx sensors - there are two that are a part of the selective catalytic reduction system. The cause is usually extreme exhaust heat and replacing the sensors isn't cheap. The M274 2.0-litre petrol engine has in certain cases sustained piston damage, a consequence of issues with the wrist pin or the gudgeon pin. The OM654 2.0-litre diesel engine has exhibited very few problems except for excessive wear of the roller and roller rocker arms. This leads to rough idling and strange noises coming from the air intake system, so keep a look out for that. We also come across issues with brake judder and screeching, so look out for that on your test drive. And we've heard it reported that the body paint is rather thin and sensitive, so scratches and spots are common. Check the paintwork thoroughly.
Some owners have reported failing LED light bulbs that illuminate the floor under the side door mirrors. And if the car you're looking at has air suspension, we understand that the relay for the AIRMATIC system is prone to failure - that relay can get stuck in the off position, meaning that the compressor won't engage and the suspension won't drop the car towards the ground. Otherwise, it's the usual things here; interior trim and electrical issues were the most commonly afflicted things that came up. Check for uneven panel gaps and paint flaws. Inspect the electrics and the air conditioning functionality - it should blow our really chilled air. As usual, insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
(approx based on a 2021 E300 de - Ex Vat) An air filter is around £26. An oil filter is around £13. A fuel filter is around £36. Front brake pads sit in the £42-£84 bracket for a set (for rears it's around £63). Front brake discs cost in the £112-£127 bracket. Rear brake discs can cost in the £146 bracket. A set of wiper blades is around £42.
On the Road
Some full-sized Executive saloons and estates claim to be sporty: like versions of the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF. Others, like this one, simply don't feel the need to try that hard - unless an AMG six cylinder or V8 powerplant happens to beat beneath the bonnet. It's unlikely to. This improved version of the 'W213'-series E-Class was still predominantly chosen with black pump-fuelled engines, usually the 194hp 2.0-litre diesel found in the volume E220d model. And this E-Class was the only car in its segment - and virtually the only car on the market - that could be had with a diesel Plug-in hybrid powertrain. The WLTP efficiency results for that PHEV diesel variant were impressive, for the Saloon a combined average of 235.4mpg and up to 33g/km of CO2 - plus you get an all-electric driving range in the 31 to 34 mile bracket. All of this EQ Power tech was part of an increasing move towards engine electrification that headlined the changes made to this fifth generation E-Class model.
Two of the units on offer in the range you can plug-in, this E300 de model paired with another 'EQ Boost'-badged variant, the petrol E300 e. And two others got a mere dusting of electrification in the form of the brand's mild hybrid 48-volt tech - you'll find that with the line-up's two primary petrol powerplants, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit found in the entry-level E200 and the potent in-line six cylinder unit that features in 367hp form in the E450 and in 435hp guise with the performance-orientated E 53 model. All the more powerful bigger capacity models in the line-up had to be had with the brand's 4MATIC+ 4WD system - the 330hp E400d diesel and the two petrol Mercedes-AMG performance models (which also got full-air suspension), namely the E 53 variant already mentioned and the wild 612hp V8 E 63. We've found that each of the engines work well with the wafty, relaxed gait that characterises this Mercedes, aided by effortless changes from a further refined version of the brand's 9G-TRONIC PLUS nine-speed automatic gearbox. And the experience is further embellished by the optional 'Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC' technology many original owners specified, which allows the car to virtually drive itself in traffic jams or at highway cruising speeds.
The E-Class has always been a cutting-edge statement of Mercedes style and technology - and in this post-'20-era enhanced guise, this 'W213'-series version put in an impressive performance. In its original form, this fifth generation design felt like quite an expensive car. In this improved guise, it became a car that, though still pricey, had evolved to offer quite a compelling value proposition. It drives with genuine polish, yet is capable of stepping from cruiser to carouser without breaking a sweat. Operating the car is relatively easy and you rarely feel as if it's imposing its will on you, unlike certain period rivals we could mention. The abiding impression is that this is a very carefully considered vehicle, developed by a company steeped in a proud engineering tradition.
In summary, this is, in short, very much a 21st century full-sized Executive sector conveyance. True, it's slightly more expensive than the competition. Also, there are rivals you could choose that'd be more dynamically rewarding to drive, though as Mercedes well knows, that kind of thing doesn't tend to be prioritised by many likely customers. Certainly if you can see beyond these two issues, then what's on offer here remains arguably the ultimate statement of technology and luxury from the 2020-2023 period in this part of the market - and possibly even a package good enough to leave you questioning the need to spend more on a larger S-Class model of similar vintage. 'The best or nothing' was the slogan that Mercedes founder Gottlieb Daimler's lived by. If it's yours too, then we think you'll like this car.
What Is The Most Common W213 E-Class Problem? The most common W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class problem is the countless interior rattles and infotainment problems. There are no major engine problems with these cars.Is the Mercedes W213 reliable? ›
Most E-Class (W213-series) owners in our survey were satisfied, but inevitably, there were some who'd experienced problems. It's the usual things here; interior trim and electrical issues were the most commonly afflicted things that came up. Check for uneven panel gaps and paint flaws.Is used Mercedes E-Class a good car? ›
Exec cars are costly to buy new and tend to be dear to run, so often depreciate at a greater rate than smaller alternatives. The E-Class is no exception, which is why it's so easy to recommend second-hand: it can represent tremendous value and it's one of the most desirable family cars available at any price.Which year E-Class is most reliable? ›
2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan: Top scores in reliability and safety from U.S. News, the 2012 E-Class sedan packs a powerful V8 and an opulent interior into one smooth, luxury ride.What is the problem with the Mercedes W213 engine? ›
Due to a manufacturing error, the engine's crankshaft could have surface damage. If crankshaft failure occurred, the engine may experience sudden damage and stop running – this increased the risk of a collision, posing a hazard to vehicle occupants and other road users.Which is better W212 or W213? ›
Amazingly, the same 2.0 litre M274 DE 20 AL turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine powers both these cars, despite the differing generations and badging. Predictably, the W212 E 250 is the more powerful of the two, developing 211 hp at 5,500 rpm and 350 Nm of torque between 1,200 and 4,000 rpm.What is the life expectancy of a Mercedes E class? ›
The Mercedes C-Class is considered to have the shortest lifespan of any Mercedes model, usually hovering closer to the 150,000-200,000 mile range. On the other hand, a Mercedes Benz E-Class can have a long lifespan, edging closer and even past the 250,000 mile range.What is different about W213 facelift? ›
Primary changes include a new front grille that is now slimmer than before. The new nose is accompanied by smaller and more angular headlamps, which come as full-LED units as standard that can be upgraded to Multibeam items (with Ultra Range high beam).How long do Mercedes E class engines last? ›
According to reputable automobile sources, a Mercedes E350 can last anywhere between 200,000 to 250,000 miles with the original engine and transmission. Driving habits play a significant role in a vehicle's lifespan.Is it expensive to maintain a Mercedes E-Class? ›
Mercedes-Benz maintenance costs are pretty expensive compared to other brands. In one study by YourMechanic.com, it came in second place just behind BMW's maintenance costs. Drivers pay about $908 on average per year to maintain and repair their Mercedes vehicles, according to RepairPal.com.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs. E-Class. What are the differences between Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class Sedans? Just for starters: the E-Class Sedan has a higher starting price, more standard features, and more powerful available engines.Do Mercedes E-Class hold their value? ›
A Mercedes-Benz E-Class will depreciate 45% after 5 years and have a 5 year resale value of $45,701.Should I buy S-Class or E-Class? ›
The S-Class is a much more spacious sedan when it comes to rear legroom. It's got 43.8 inches of rear legroom compared to 36.2 inches in the E-Class sedan. When it comes to total length, the S-Class has 208.2 inches of room from tip to tail, while the E-Class has 194.3 inches.What is the new E-Class in 2023? ›
What's New for 2023? For the 2023 model year the only change to the Mercedes-Benz E-class line is a slight bump in standard content as non-Manufaktur metallic paint options are now included in the base price.Why is E-Class more expensive? ›
The E-Class sits above the C-Class in the Mercedes lineup, and is therefore a little larger, more refined and , as a result, more expensive.What problems do Mercedes E class have? ›
- Rust problems. Problem: ...
- Heating problems. Problem: ...
- Rough idling. Problem: ...
- Window Closing Unexpectedly. Problem: ...
- Wipers Stop Working. Problem: ...
- Malfunctioning Headlights. Problem: ...
- Unresponsive Steering. Problem: ...
- Engine Cuts Out. Problem:
- 8 W205 C300.
- 7 W220 S-Class.
- 6 W168 A-Class.
- 5 W163 ML-Class.
- 4 Mercedes Vaneo.
- 3 X164 GL-Class.
- 2 W210 E-Class.
- 1 X-Class.
The W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the fifth-generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Sold from 2016 (as a 2017 model), it is the successor to the W212/S212 E-Class models. The coupe/convertible models share the same platform as the sedan/wagon, in contrast to the previous generation.