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2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

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2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Expert Review

By Matt Degen

KBB Expert Rating: 9.5

Slotting between the compact C-Class and flagship S-Class, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the German brand's well-established midsize-luxury car. While most know it as a sedan, the E-Class is also available as a versatile wagon or sportier and stylish 4-seat coupe and cabriolet. This varied lineup appeals to equally varied tastes, and sets the E-Class apart from rivals like the BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS and Audi A6. No matter the form, the 2018 E-Class packs impressive technology and safety features, impeccable build quality, stately driving manners and the prestige that comes with a Mercedes-Benz badge. The newly available V6 in the E 400 sedan grants appreciable power beyond the base 4-cylinder, and for those who want to tip the scale far more on the performance side, Mercedes-AMG variants are available (and reviewed separately).

You'll Like This Car If...

Beyond its posh ride quality, premium amenities and envy-inducing badge, the E-Class is filled with surprise-and-delight features. From systems that fill the cabin with fine fragrances to others that can steer for you or prevent a collision, the E-Class has a remarkable way of mixing technology that serves and amenities that coddle.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Though handsome, the E-Class may not look as sexy to your eyes as a Jaguar XF or Volvo S90. The Lexus GS is expected to hold its value better in the long run, while the Genesis G80 undercuts the E-Class' roughly $54,000 starting price by over $11,000. Want a diesel luxury sedan? Look to Jaguar.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.5
  • 9.4
  • 9.4
  • 9.2
  • 8.9
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#4

out of 13

Fuel Economy

#13

out of 13

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The E-Class sedan and wagon were all-new last year, and this year it's the coupe and convertible's turn for a full revamp. These 2-door, 4-seat models boast the same technological and safety upgrades as the sedan and wagon, while now offering more room in back. New for the E-Class sedan is the E 400 trim, with a twin-turbo V6 engine.

Driving the E-Class
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

With four different forms and several engines to choose from (including the AMG performance models), the 2018 E-Class remains a different-strokes-for-different-folks proposition. For the sedan, most buyers will be perfectly...

... fine with the E 300 model, which uses a turbocharged 4-cylinder that has enough power to scoot this executive sedan to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That's not quite as fast as BMW's 530i, but it's hardly shabby. Still, if you want appreciably more oomph, we recommend the new E 400. Using the same twin-turbo V6 that serves in the wagon, coupe and convertible E-Class, we expect the sedan to shave at least a second off that benchmark acceleration time and to have more in reserve for high-speed passing. A Sport mode is available in the Dynamic Select drive program, but the standard E-Class shouldn't be confused with a sports sedan. It is far happier as a comfortable cruiser than a tarmac-shredder. If that's what you're looking for, check out the Mercedes-AMG variants, higher-performance BMW 5 Series, or an Audi S6. The E-Class' engines are paired to a refined 9-speed automatic transmission. With their standard lowered suspension and selective-damping system (optional on the sedan and wagon), the E-Class coupe and cabriolet are sportier but remain on the plusher end of the performance-comfort spectrum. Alternately, for those seeking an even cushier ride, the sedan and wagon are available with a comfort suspension option.

SEMI-AUTONOMOUS DRIVE MODES
The 10th-generation E-Class takes us one step closer to car as driver. Available driver-assist and safety features can do everything from steer the car in a corner and pace the vehicle ahead in traffic to make an evasive maneuver if the Mercedes senses an impending collision.

BURMESTER AUDIO
These optional audio systems in the 2018 E-Class remain among our favorites out of every new car available. Clear, precise and immersive, these German audiophile systems sound simply superb.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Details
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

When Mercedes' latest S-Class flagship sedan debuted a few years ago, its cabin became the benchmark for mainstream luxury opulence. The latest E-Class, which was all-new just last year, took many of its bigger brother's fineries and bettered them in some ways, such as with the introduction of not one but two 12.3-inch screens that turn the dashboard into something like a very wide-screen high-def TV that displays navigation, audio, phone and myriad other functions. For all its elegance, performing simple tasks like changing fan speed and temperature is simple thanks to easy-to-reach buttons. While the forward cabin of each E-Class variant is similar, the coupe replaces the sedan and wagon's 3-person rear bench with two individual seats, limiting total seating to four. E-Class wagon traditionalists will be happy to know that it retains its 7-passenger capacity thanks to the rear-facing 3rd-row seats. When not in use, the seats fold flat into the floor. With the 2nd-row seats up, the wagon has a generous 35 cubic feet of space. When folded, that space expands to an SUV-like 64 cubic feet.

Exterior
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class photo

With their latest revamp, the 2018 E-Class sedan and wagon look fresh but familiar. We like the understated nature of this German luxury car, and think its design will hold up well into the future. If you're looking for massive grilles and head-turning flair, you'll probably want to shop elsewhere. But most E-Class buyers appreciate substance as much as style. The 2-door coupe and convertible are naturally sportier with their lower height and slightly shorter length. The E-Class convertible uses a power-folding fabric top (available in four colors), while the E-Class coupe continues to stand out as one of the few new cars available with no B-pillar between the front and rear windows. When both windows are down, it creates a large opening to let the outside in, not to mention a dramatic look.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even in its least expensive form -- around $54,000 -- the 2018 E-Class sedan is well-equipped. Included are dual-zone climate control, power front seats, sunroof, universal garage-door remote, 12.3-inch center display with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, navigation, and five years of Mercedes-Benz's mbrace Connect service that lets you check and control some functions of the car remotely from your phone. Leather is still extra on the sedan and wagon, while genuine hide replaces the MB-Tex in the pricier coupe and convertible. While it's easy to appreciate the amenities you can touch and feel, equally impressive is Mercedes' roster of safety and driver-assistance features. Standard is an automatic emergency-braking system that will first warn you of a potential collision and, if no action is taken, apply the brakes. The Crosswind Assist system can help keep the car stable in high winds, and in a nod to future-proofing, there's the Car-to-X Communication system that will allow the E-Class to communicate with other cars.

Optional Equipment

Oh, the choices you have and the features with which you can bless your new E-Class. Want front seats that cool your bottom or massage your back? They're available. From a heated wood steering wheel to a choice of Burmester audio systems (see Favorite Features), in-cabin fragrance system, panoramic roof to soft-close doors, the options list is long and tempting. The E-Class can be made significantly more intelligent with semi-autonomous driving features such as active cruise control, active steering assist (which helps keeps you in lanes) and even an active blind-spot system that not only monitors for vehicles you can't see, but can keep you from colliding by braking individual wheels. Other tech offerings include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster to complement the central screen of the same size, a 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi system, rear-seat entertainment package and wireless phone-charging cradle. 

Under the Hood
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Engine photo

The standard E-Class is powered by one of two engines: a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 241 horsepower, or a twin-turbo V6 that makes a more significant 329. For 2018, only the base E 300 sedan offers the 4-cylinder, while the E-Class coupe, convertible and wagon come standard with the V6 and are called the E 400. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard on all but the wagon, and all can be had with Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which is standard on the wagon. All use a 9-speed automatic transmission and an engine start/stop system that cuts engine power at idle. If you don't like the re-starts or find it odd that your engine shuts off at traffic signals, the system can be de-activated. If you're looking for significantly more power in your E-Class sedan or wagon, turn your attention to the Mercedes-AMG E 43 with 396 horsepower or the beastly E 63 S, which packs a 603-horsepower twin-turbo V8 and can rocket from 0-60 mph in a ridiculous 3.4 seconds. (See our separate review for these 2018 Mercedes-AMG models.)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (E 300)
241 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (RWD), 21/29 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (E 400)
329 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (RWD & AWD coupe, RWD convertible), 20/25 mpg (AWD convertible), 19/25 mpg (AWD wagon)

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $54,000 for a base, RWD E 300 sedan. Adding AWD (4Matic in Mercedes-speak) increases that tab to just over $56,400. The 2018 E 400 E-Class wagon, which comes standard with the more powerful V6 engine and 4Matic, starts around $64,000, while the E-Class coupe starts just under $60,000. Rounding out the mix, the E-Class convertible starts over $67,000. This being a European luxury vehicle, expect these prices to inflate by thousands with options and packages. Compared to rivals, the E-Class tends to run higher. The BMW 5 Series sedan begins slightly lower, as do the Audi A6 and Volvo S90. The Lexus GS, Genesis G80, Cadillac CTS start lower still. More in line with the E-Class is the Acura RLX, which tends to straddle the midsize/full-size category. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their E-Class. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class' resale value is expected to hold up fairly well, but still lag behind the Lexus GS.

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