When it’s time to settle back a bit and relax, it’s time for an E-Class
When you’ve finished your days hooning around in your hot hatch, and you want to just settle it down a bit, there’s no need to settle for something mediocre. If you get a fourth-generation E-Class that’s second-hand, then it definitely won’t be second-rate.
The fourth model came out in 2009, with a facelift in 2013. The later model came with some upgrades including the very desirable AEB – automatic emergency braking – so if your budget would stretch to the £14,000 to £15,000 mark we’d recommend going for it.
You could pick up an early model for only about £7,000 but whether that represented value for money is a moot point. If possible find another couple of grand, and then you could well pick up a decent earlier model.
On the other hand, if you’re after something sportier and more aggressive, then the E63 AMG prices start at around £25,000 and go north quite quickly.
The E-Class is one of those perennial models where you know you’re getting a large, cossetting car that has premium style and a great deal of comfort, pretty much whatever the model or trim – with the exception of some of those sportier trims where the ride can become somewhat harsher.
Pre-facelifted models were called Sport for the, indeed, sportier trim, whereas after 2013 that became the AMG Sport and AMG Line. We’d seriously recommend you get a good test drive before going for one of those as you might be surprised how hard they ride.
But for a trim at the more prosaic SE or Avantgarde levels you’re getting pretty much all you need in terms of equipment, and you’ll gain that sumptuous ride. Most of these are diesel-powered as you get a big fat wodge of easy-going torque and running costs can be surprisingly reasonable.
If your budget can be put on the rack and stretched, we’d choose the E350 since it has the V6 diesel, which is much creamier than the four-pot 2.1-litre diesels in the 220d models.
Just looking at an E-Class, you can see that it is a complex piece of kit, with a lot of equipment, safety systems and all manner of electronics. Which is great when new, but it makes sense to go over everything to ensure it works as errant electronics can be tricky and expensive to fix.
However, against that is the warm feeling that Mercedes in general and the E-Class certainly has a strong reputation for reliability. Very early cars had problems sometimes with their fuel injectors, so check that was sorted if you buy a pre-2013 model, but otherwise it should be a solid addition to your household.
The Mercedes E-Class is one of those cars that makes a statement. It’s large, opulent, well made, stylish in a quiet and refined way, and a sophisticated companion when you want to waft serenely along, and then park it in the driveway, where it adds to the ambience rather than subtracting from it.