Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Hybrid Review
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class epitomizes the modern midsize luxury car with its elegant furnishings, exacting workmanship and huge selection of engines and features. If you're shopping in this class, it's not to be missed.
Say what you want about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but undeniable is that Mercedes has made an extraordinary effort to build an E-Class suitable for your tastes.
Really, whether you want your midsize luxury car to be a fuel-sipping diesel sedan, a turbo V6-powered convertible or a road-burning 577-horsepower wagon, there's bound to be an E-Class much to your liking.
That diesel E-Class earns an EPA estimated 33 mpg combined (that's compact economy car territory) while still being able to sprint to 60 mph in a fairly swift 7.6 seconds. But if outgunning sports cars up the on-ramps is more your thing, you may consider the E 63 AMG S model, which can rip to that same speed in under 4 seconds. And sitting in between those two extremes are no fewer than three additional engine choices.
Since its debut for 2010, this generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been one of our favorites, thanks to its trifecta of refinement, performance and cutting-edge technology. Last year's number of improvements only made it more so, earning the E-Class sedan a pair of Edmunds "A" ratings, but the nearly prohibitive cost of the E 63 AMG S wagon and its sometimes-harsh ride drew a "B" rating despite being what some consider the ultimate wagon.
Not one to rest on its hood badge laurels, the E-Class comes into 2015 with a new engine option. The new E400 sports a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 329 hp (in the sedan family, it replaces the E550 and its V8 for most E-Class variants) that should provide performance not far off from that V8's along with superior fuel economy.
Throw in a slew of the newest safety technologies borrowed from the latest S-Class, including an available advanced lane keeping system, and you've got one of Mercedes' best all-around automobiles yet. Of course, there are plenty of great cars in the midsize luxury segment, most notably the 2015 Audi A6, 2015 BMW 5 Series and 2015 Lexus GS. All of these, including the Mercedes, earned spots in our 2015 Sedan Buying Guide, though none of them can match the sheer variety of body styles and engines in the E-Class lineup. If you're looking for the best all-around midsize luxury sedan (or wagon, coupe or convertible), the 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is an excellent place to start your search.
trim levels & features
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available as a midsize sedan, coupe, convertible (Cabriolet) or wagon.
Each body style offers various trim levels that correspond to the engine: diesel E250 Bluetec (sedan only), V6 E350 (sedan and wagon), gas-electric E400 Hybrid (sedan only), turbocharged V6 E400 (all but wagon), V8 E550 (coupe and convertible) and turbocharged V8-powered E 63 AMG (sedan and wagon only).
The E250, E350 and E400 four-doors are split into two basic types: Luxury and Sport. Luxury models come with 17-inch alloy wheels and a traditional grille with a separate hood ornament, while Sport models switch to 18-inch wheels, a two-bar grille with an integrated three-pointed star and a sport-tuned suspension. Inside, the Sport boasts subtle white-faced gauges and a three-spoke steering wheel in place of the Luxury's four-spoke design.
Both Luxury and Sport come standard with LED headlights, LED taillight accents, adaptive suspension dampers, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a center-mounted analog clock, 14-way power front seats with memory functions, MB-Tex simulated leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, the COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The E350 wagon also includes a power liftgate, a rearview camera and a rear-facing third-row seat. The E400 Hybrid is essentially a Sport model by default (though its wheels are 17-inchers) with a hybrid powertrain. In addition to the E350 Sport features, the E400 Sport further includes different wheels, keyless ignition and entry, leather seating and both the Premium 1 and Lane Tracking packages (detailed below).
The E400 coupe and convertible come standard with most of the E350 Sport sedan's accoutrements, including 18-inch alloys, and they add heated leather sport seats to the mix. The E550 coupes and convertibles also have an adaptive suspension to go with their standard 18-inch AMG wheels. All convertibles receive a power-folding soft top, a rear center pass-through and a pop-up air deflector.
A wide array of packages is optional for the E-Class. The Premium 1 package adds a rearview camera (standard on the wagon), power-folding mirrors, split-folding rear seats (sedan), COMAND with navigation, satellite radio, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and a power rear window sunshade (except on the convertible, which gets the AirScarf neck-warming system instead), as well as active ventilated front seats for the E550 sedan and heated front seats for the other sedans.
The Lighting package features adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam headlight control, while the Parking Assist package adds a surround-view camera system with front and rear parking sensors along with an automated parallel-parking system. The Keyless Go package tacks on keyless entry and ignition, a power trunk lid (sedan only; wagon has a standard power liftgate) and, for the sedan and wagon, a hands-free feature that either opens or closes the trunk or liftgate when you wave your foot under the rear bumper.
On the safety front, the available Lane Tracking package alerts you if you're drifting out of your lane and also includes blind spot warning. The Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, active lane tracking/blind spot/rear cross-traffic assist and collision warning/mitigation (with automatic braking).
Note that the coupe and convertible are additionally eligible for the Sport and Redline packages. The Sport package includes 18-inch AMG wheels, painted front brake calipers (standard on E550), a flat-bottom steering wheel (also standard on E550) and upgraded (multicontour) front seats. The Redline package kicks it up another notch with black AMG wheels (choice of 18- or 19-inch), an AMG body kit, gloss black body accents (including front and rear spoilers), upgraded brakes and suspension, AMG sport multicontour seats and the flat-bottom steering wheel.
The speed-freak E 63 AMG sedan and wagon boast numerous AMG-developed components (engine, transmission, adjustable suspension, steering, brakes, exhaust, exterior and interior trim), 19-inch wheels and sport seats with adjustable bolsters and driver massage functions. They also come standard with the contents of the Premium 1, Lighting, Keyless Go and Parking Assist packages (except for the surround-view camera, which costs extra), along with heated rear seats (optional on wagon) and leather upholstery. The AMG S-Model package (optional on sedan, standard on wagon) features an even more powerful engine, a limited-slip rear differential, different 19-inch wheels and red brake calipers. Any E 63 can be outfitted with carbon-ceramic brakes.
Other notable options, depending on trim and body style, include illuminated door sills, a panoramic sunroof (standard on the E 63 AMG S-Model wagon), a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system, a 120-volt household-style power outlet and twin iPad docks behind the front headrests.
performance & mpg
Most trim levels of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup are available with either rear- or all-wheel drive (4Matic). However, the E550 coupe/convertible and the E400 Hybrid are rear-wheel drive only, while both the wagons and the AMG trims are 4Matic only. Note that the AMG version of 4Matic sends more power to the rear wheels -- 67 percent versus the usual 55 percent -- to facilitate performance driving.
Every E-Class, except for the E 63, employs a seven-speed automatic transmission. The E 63's automatic has seven speeds as well, but it uses a multiplate clutch pack instead of a torque converter for enhanced response and control. Both transmissions come with shift paddles on the steering wheel, and all cars have an automatic stop-start function that turns off the engine when the car stops to save fuel.
Under the hood, the E250 Bluetec relies on a turbocharged 2.1-liter diesel-fueled four-cylinder engine rated at 195 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque. The E350 has a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 302 hp and 273 lb-ft. The E400 Hybrid has that V6 supplemented with a lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor. The E400 Hybrid, by the way, can travel up to half a mile, and reach speeds up to 22 mph, on electric power alone.
The E400 packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. The E 63 AMG's turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 cranks out 550 hp and 531 lb-ft -- or 577 hp and 590 lb-ft with the S-Model package.
In terms of acceleration to 60 mph, Edmunds testing demonstrated that the E-Class runs the gamut from the E250's respectable 7.6-second effort to the E 63 S sedan's scorching 3.7-second sprint (4.0 for the E 63 S wagon), with the E350 sedan nearly splitting the difference at 6.0 seconds in all-wheel-drive form (expect rear-wheel-drive variants to be a few tenths quicker). The E550 versions are seriously fast, as they're able to rip off 5-second 0-60 bursts, while we'd estimate the E400 with the new turbo V6 to be a mid-5-second performer in this respect.
As one would expect from such a varied group of powertrains, EPA-estimated fuel economy runs the gamut, and the E250 Bluetec predictably leads the way. With an EPA-estimated 33 mpg combined (28 city/42 highway) we managed to achieve an astounding 43 mpg on our 120-mile evaluation route which favors diesel-friendly highway miles. Opting for an all-wheel-drive E250 4Matic still impresses with 31 mpg combined (27/38). The E350 sedan drops to 23 mpg combined (20/29) with a 1-mpg highway mileage drop on the 4Matic, and yet, the turbocharged E400 matches those with an estimated 23 mpg combined (20/29), also with a 1-mpg loss on the highway.
The E400 Hybrid is respectable at 26 mpg combined (24/30), while the E550 coupe rates 21 mpg combined (18/26) with the E550 convertible coming in at 20 mpg combined (17/26). The AMG sedan earns a 19 mpg combined figure (16/23), with the wagon rating 18 mpg combined (15/21).
The E-Class comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, a driver drowsiness monitor, front and front-side airbags, front pelvic airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Also included is the mbrace telematics system, offering smartphone integration and Web-based apps that include remote controls, driver monitoring and emergency services. The convertible additionally features automatically deploying rollover hoops.
Rear airbags are a stand-alone option. Other options include front and rear-collision mitigation systems and the Driver Assistance package, which includes collision mitigation as well as adaptive cruise control and a "Steering Assist" feature that uses a stereoscopic camera to help keep you in your lane. All models are available with both a surround-view camera and an automated parking system.
In Edmunds brake testing, an E250 with all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, an average performance. An E350, also on all-seasons, did a similar 121 feet. When tested with summer performance tires, the E350 sedan stopped in just 110 feet, while an E350 4Matic wagon with summer tires stopped in 109 feet -- pretty impressive for a weighty family hauler. As one would expect, the E 63 sedan's 105-foot stop is the shortest of the bunch (107 feet for the E 63 wagon), and that was without the optional carbon-ceramic brakes.
In government crash testing, the 2015 E-Class earned an overall rating of four of five-possible stars, with five stars for side-impact and rollover potential, but four stars for frontal crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2015 E-Class sedan its best-possible rating of "Good" in every category it has: small- and moderate-overlap front crash, side-impact and roof strength, plus its head restraints and seats. Further, the IIHS awarded the E-Class sedan a rare "Superior" grade for front-crash prevention when equipped with optional Pre-Safe and Driver Assistance packages. The E-Class coupe was similarly awarded with the best-possible rating of "Good" for moderate-overlap front crash, side-impact and roof strength, plus its head restraints and seats.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class stakes out a sublime middle ground between comfort and sport. There are both cushier cars and more athletic cars in the midsize luxury segment, but none marries these traits as harmoniously as the Benz. Regardless of body style or engine, the E-Class also provides that unique sense of solidity that has long set Mercedes vehicles apart. It's a special car to drive.
If there's a downside here, it involves the growing collection of electronic driver aids, which certainly mean well but have the potential to interfere with driving enjoyment. Fortunately, some can be turned off if you find them overly intrusive.
You'll be hard-pressed to distinguish the E250 Bluetec from its six-cylinder E350 Bluetec predecessor, as the diesel four-cylinder engine pulls with vigor from very low rpm. While idling at a standstill, however, you might notice some vibration through the pedals, but the auto stop-start system essentially makes that a non-issue. That system, on the other hand, is very smooth, with nary a shudder to be felt when it automatically restarts the engine. Underway, the diesel's soundtrack won't stir the soul, but neither is it loud nor immediately identifiable as a diesel. For environmentally minded E-Class buyers, the E250 is a good way to go.
As for the E 63 AMG, it's simply an amazing thrill ride wrapped up in a practical package. With acceleration essentially on par with that of exotic sports cars, this roomy sedan (or wagon) has to be driven to be believed. Running up an on-ramp with your foot in it takes on the feel of a jet leaving an airstrip, while the AMG's adept handling on a curvy road will make you think you're driving something two-thirds its size and weight.
The cabin of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is at once handsome and functional. A "three-tube" gauge cluster adds visual interest, and all but the AMG versions have a steering-column-mounted gear selector. A Mercedes-brand analog clock adds a touch of class, while three available wood veneers range from warm to austere -- a nice no-cost opportunity to personalize your Benz.
All versions come with the COMAND electronics interface, which combines a large display screen, a control knob and dash-mounted buttons. As with every knob-based infotainment system, there's a learning curve, but we generally prefer COMAND to rival systems due to its relatively simple menu structure. Its voice command functionality is also first-rate.
Each E-Class is relatively comfortable and spacious by segment standards. The seats are firm, but offer impressive comfort and support for the long haul -- especially the optional multicontour driver seat. The two-door and AMG models feature snug front sport seats that capably hold you in place during aggressive driving. The backseat in four-door models is pleasantly spacious, matching the BMW 5 Series for most hospitable in the midsize luxury class. Two-door E-Class models lose a lot of rear passenger space, but you can still squeeze two adults back there without too much hassle.
The sedan's trunk measures a slightly above average 15.9 cubic feet, while the wagon offers up to 57.4 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume in addition to its trademark rear-facing (and strictly-for-kids) third-row seat that gives it seven-passenger capacity in a pinch. The coupe drops to a still-commendable 13.3 cubic feet of trunk space, while the convertible brings up the rear at 11.5 cubic feet (8.8 with the top down).
Notably, unlike most hybrid sedans, the E400 Hybrid sedan has the same trunk capacity as its non-hybrid counterpart, as its lithium-ion battery pack is housed in the engine bay rather than in a space-eating trunk location.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.