Many manufacturers and models aspire to being a genuine rival to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in the midsize luxury sedan segment.
The BMW 5 Series is one of the few true rivals the E-Class has. So, let's see how these enduring competitors compare by pitting the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class against the latest BMW 5 Series.
Mercedes has applied the current family look to the E-Class, and it's pretty hard to find fault with it. Without being gimmicky or following any style fads, the E-Class exudes the kind of understated class and quality that has made it the standard by which all others in this segment have been judged. The 5 Series is no ugly duckling either, but after a period of BMW experimenting with sharp edges, angles, and pretty cutting-edge designs, the current 5 Series is probably one of the luxury automaker's less inspiring designs of recent times. It's handsome, stylish, and not lacking in prestige, but the E-Class is leaving the BMW trailing when it comes to exterior style.
Power & Performance
The majority of E-Class models you'llsee on lots will be E 300s. This means a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine--it's a pretty good one though. It's more than powerful enough to for the E-Class as its rated at a healthy 241 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. or torque, and comes paired with a very modern nine-speed automatic transmission. And if you want more power, there's a line-up of extremely powerful AMG® models with V-6, and even V-8 powerplants. BMW also goes with a base four-cylinder engine for the 5 Series, which produces 248 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. which is sent to the rear or all four wheels through an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. Like the Mercedes, the BMW is available with much more powerful engines too. This one is close, but since the Mercedes wins in torque by more than the BMW wins in horsepower, the E-class barely pulls ahead.
The E-Class may have grown a little in size, but it has also shed a little weight at the same time, which means even more room and comfort for those inside while adding to the fuel economy. The style, comfort, and quality of the interior are beyond reproach. The wood and leather is now of such quality it even gives the more expensive S-Class a run for its money. Four-cylinder models could perhaps do with a touch more sound deadening for road noise, but that's if you're being nit-picky. If you want to find fault with the interior of the 5 Series you're going to need some pretty forensic examination. BMW's SensaTec leatherette upholstery is featured in entry models while higher trim levels get real leathers of impressive quality. The quality of the fit and finish has to be seen to be believed, so it's a dead heat between the Mercedes and the BMW in this vitally important area as they really are the benchmarks for interiors right now.
Features & Equipment
Think of every gadget, feature, and piece of equipment you'd like to see in a luxury sedan, and you're going to find it in the E-Class lineup. On top of that, you'll also find some things you've never even thought of. This is especially true when it comes to the very latest safety tech. There are things like lane-change assist, advanced versions of adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system, but somewhat inexplicably, a rearview camera isn't yet standard. It used to be the case with BMWs that they could be pretty sparse unless you went for a high trim level or you were prepared to pay for expensive add ons. That's no longer the case though, as standard kit now includes: 18-inch alloys with run-flat tires, a moonroof, power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control, a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, an 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster, LED headlights and Bluetooth®. Because these vehicles are so close in quality, we'll give it to the BMW because of the back-up camera.
If you blindfold someone and sit them in either of these two, you're not going to hear many complaints, and without seeing them from the outside, you'd probably struggle to choose between them. This really is the standard those aspiring to true luxury status are shooting for. Beyond these two, the rest of the market has a ways to go. But for us, the absolutely stunning exterior design of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class gives it the edge over the BMW 5 Series. *Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth® SIG, Inc.