Mercedes-Benz E400 / Mercedes-AMG E43 Versatility, opulence, and driving satisfaction.
To the casual observer, the Mercedes-Benz E-class may seem like little more than a high-style statement—something to be seen in, like a designer suit or a fashionable resto-lounge. But its 10Best Cars–worthy charms go much deeper than its elegant façade, as it combines classic Mercedes glamour with a dazzling array of available technology—including dual 12.3-inch display screens and a semi-autonomous driving system—across a highly versatile lineup.
But not all E-classes made the cut. The less dynamic four-cylinder model introduced last year is excluded from this 10Best honor, while the six-figure pricing of the glorious, twin-turbo V-8–powered E63 sedan and wagon made them ineligible. Which means this award goes to the E400 lineup—roomy four-door, dramatic coupe, airy convertible, and practical station wagon—and the Mercedes-AMG E43, a highly rewarding and comparison-test-winning sports sedan. It’s the breadth of talents that imbues the V-6 E-class with its considerable charms, including performance ranging from mild to wild, exquisite cabins, tons of high-tech equipment, and artfully sculpted exteriors—particularly the stunning coupe .
E400-badged cars are powered by a silken twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 329 horsepower, an engine that is as happy storming to autobahn speeds as it is wafting along without a care in the world. All feature perfectly bolstered seats—with an optional massage feature for front-seat passengers—that are so comfortable they can inspire spur-of-the-moment road trips all by themselves.
And for those who may find the E400 line a bit too genteel, the Mercedes-AMG E43 sedan turns up the heat with a sport-tuned suspension and an even gutsier 396-hp version of the twin-turbo six. The V-6 is just as refined here—except when prodded, when it offers an AMG-appropriate roar as it sends the E43 from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. While the transcendent E63 is the ultimate enthusiasts’ E-class, the lighter front end of the E43 means it’s nearly as agile and just as rewarding. It looks the part, too, with its aggressive exterior transformation.
These Es deliver on the more logical side of the spectrum, too. Despite the potency of their engine, all three V-6 E-classes we’ve run through our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test have exceeded the EPA’s estimates; the E400 wagon, the heaviest and largest of the three, returned an impressive 30 mpg, five more than its EPA highway rating. And if the sedan and coupe models’ roomy trunks can’t carry enough chattels for you, the wagon offers SUV-challenging cargo space.
Truly stylish, satisfying, and special, every detail is impressive in these E-classes, and that’s why they made our list of 2018’s 10Best Cars. —Drew Dorian
front-engine; rear- or all-wheel-drive; 4-, 5-, or 7-passenger; 2-door coupe or convertible, 4-door sedan, or 4-door hatchback
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter V-6, 329 or 396 hp, 354 or 384 lb-ft
9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.2–5.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.8–13.9 sec
Top speed: 128–131 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 156–161 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85*–0.92 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 21–23/19–20/25–27 mpg
Price Starting at