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Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016) Buying Guide

Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)
Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

For many, a Mercedes represents the pinnacle of automotive engineering and prestige, and when you look at an E-Class it's easy to see why. Beautifully built, brilliantly engineered and bristling with safety tech, the Mercedes E-Class is a cut above most of its rivals. With the fourth-generation edition, codenamed W212 by Mercedes, the German company excelled itself with a range of highly desirable saloons, estates, coupes and cabriolets. Expensive when new, these cars aren't as exclusive as you might think and as a result they can represent excellent value as a used buy - but while the Merc's efficient engines can be more parsimonious than you might think, running costs can still be high. Still, sometimes it's worth making sacrifices.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Spacious cabin
Efficient engines
Build quality
Wide model range
Safety levels
Not that exclusive
Potentially high running costs
Key Dates 
6/09The Mk4 E-Class saloon and coupe arrive. There are E200, E250, E350 and E500 CGI petrol saloons, along with E200, E220, E250 and E350 CDI diesels.
8/09The 525bhp E63 AMG debuts.
1/10The capacious estate reaches showrooms, with the same engines as the saloon.
3/10There's now an E-Class cabriolet.
11/12The E300 BlueTec hybrid debuts.
3/13A facelifted E-Class brings revised exterior styling, extra equipment, cleaner engines and SE or AMG Sport trims in place of the previous SE, Avantgarde and Sport.
9/14A refresh brings extra standard equipment, a nine-speed automatic transmission and more efficient engines.
  • Each successive trim level increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, so potentially the road tax cost.
  • All facelifted autos have seven speeds; before this (March 2013), four-cylinder automatic E-Classes got only five speeds.
  • This is a great family car, but the transmission tunnel hinders anyone in the middle of the rear seat.
  • The factory-fitted diamond-cut alloys can corrode under the lacquer, but they're refurbished easily enough.
  • Some diesel models were fitted with faulty injectors, so check for misfiring and black exhaust smoke.
  • Folding rear seats are only optional in the saloon, so find a car that features them if practicality is key. They really boost the car's practicality.
  • The four-cylinder engines are quick enough, but can be harsh; the six-cylinder units are much smoother, and still decently economical.

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