In a car such as this you’re looking for and entitled to expect a persuasive blend of both quality and quantity. And the E-Class delivers both.
While some rivals focus providing an interior that reflects the sporting image of the car or the owner’s fashion sense, Mercedes has instead plumped simply for one that works.
There is an immense sense of solidity to the structure, build standards now finally feeling commensurate with those of the gloriously over-engineered W124-generation of the late 1980s and early ‘90s. It feels like a Mercedes should.
Inside while the dash is gently sculpted and while every finisher that looks like metal really is metal, the cabin doesn’t have that sense of being overtly styled in quite the same way as you’d find in Jaguar XF or Audi A6.
It may be hot on its heels, but here form continues to follow function. The dials are easy to read, the ventilation brilliantly good at directing gusts of hot or cool air at your face and feet. The sense is of a company trying to make a car that’s as easy to live with as it is good to drive.
Even so the COMAND infotainment system which was world class when introduced into the previous generation S-Class back in 2005 is now merely very good and has been eclipsed by, in particular, the most up to date iteration of BMW’s iDrive controller.
Where the E-Class is beaten by no other car in the class is the generosity of the interior space. Any executive saloon or estate should be expected to carry five adults in comfort (though they’ll struggle in an XF) but the E-Class goes further: there’s not just lashings of head and leg room in the back, there’s also uncommonly long seat runners in the front, meaning even the freakishly tall will be able to get comfortable behind the wheel with ease, particularly as the steering column has a commensurately long reach extension too.
Boot space is class leading for the saloon too, so long as you don’t specify either the 3-litre diesel or the hybrid, both of which lose carrying capacity to fit an 80 litre fuel tank and battery pack respectively.
As for the estate, its 1950 litre total load capacity is not just the class best, it’s more than any other estate on sale, more closely rivalled by the Skoda Superb estate than any BMW, Audi or Jaguar.