Mercedes-Benz E-Class vs. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

By

Automotive Editor

Willis Kuelthau gradated from Williams College and works as a writer for a variety of websites. In addition to cars, he loves writing about the outdoors and music. He currently resides in Philadelphia.


, Automotive Editor - November 21, 2018

If you’re choosing between the two largest sedans Mercedes-Benz has to offer, you’re already in rarefied air. The Mercedes S-Class is an industry leader, the place where Mercedes debuts new tech before it trickles down to the rest of the world. It’s the largest and most expensive sedan Mercedes makes. Although slightly more petite, the E-Class is no slouch. Fresh off a 2017 redesign, it looks sharp and overflows with luxury features of its own. Can the smaller sedan punch above its weight?

See a side-by-side comparison of the E-Class & S-Class »

What the E-Class Gets Right

The biggest advantage wielded by the E-Class is price. Starting at $54,495 (all prices include the $995 destination charge), the 2019 E 300 is $37,750 cheaper than the base 2019 S 450. That’s enough savings for a few years of gas and maintenance – or just a second car.

Another honor the S-Class can’t claim is a station-wagon body. With extra practicality, visibility, and style, the E-Class wagon is a tempting alternative to the ubiquitous luxury crossover. And at $65,195, the E 450 Wagon is still $27,050 cheaper than the base S-Class.

Despite the price gap, the E-Class doesn’t lack for comfort or sophistication. This year, it gets the same autonomous driving software as the S-Class, in addition to options like a Burmester sound system, 64-color ambient lighting, and an in-car fragrance dispenser.

What the S-Class Gets Right

As the flagship car for one of the most serious badges in the business, the S-Class packs quite a punch. It may not have had a full redesign since 2014, but 2018 saw a substantial update.

To begin with, the S-Class has a massive power advantage over the E-Class. While the base E-Class makes do with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the S-Class starts with a twin-turbo V6 and can be had with a staggering twin-turbo V12, which produces no less than 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque.

While the E-Class is comfortable, it can’t match the S-Class for pure opulence. In either row, the S-Class feels like a palace. Options include a rear seat refrigerator, airline tables, a rear footrest, and heated and cooled seats. An Energizing Comfort system will use temperature, seat heaters, ambient lighting, music, seat massagers, and a fragrance-diffusion system to create 10-minute relaxation programs.

The S-Class still gets first pick of new technology and safety. The autonomous driving mode will now slow down for tight turns and change lanes automatically after turning on a blinker. Two huge 12.3-inch touchscreens control everything in the car. An available Magic Ride Control system replaces the suspension with active hydraulics that smooth out the corners. In the S-Class, wonders never cease.

One Sedan to Rule Them All

These are both cars with a wide range of personalities: business-class cruisers to track-ready AMGs. The E-Class has the edge on practicality, thanks both to its (more) approachable price and its available wagon body. But for the essential Mercedes experience, the S-Class still rules the roost.

Our Verdict: Mercedes S-Class

In the end, Mercedes-Benz sedans are about the luxury, and in that department the S-Class can’t be beat. They charge a premium for the privilege, but this is a car that makes you feel special. Whether you’re riding in the front or the back, the S-Class is an experience worth having.

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz E-Class »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis Kuelthau gradated from Williams College and works as a writer for a variety of websites. In addition to cars, he loves writing about the outdoors and music. He currently resides in Philadelphia.