If you’re set on a Mercedes and you really want to avoid the SUV’s, crossovers and the boat sized CL, while also not breaking the bank by buying the S-Class flagship, the E-Class would be the most sensible decision you could take.

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Large and visually impressive, especially in a more daring hue, the E-Class comes in both standard type, but also in the “muscle car infused” AMG form, proving that a large size sedan can also be sporty. Should you want to avoid the sedan – no problem – as the Germans have the E in coupe, convertible or wagon variation.

While the fourth generation E-Class sported a much more angular appearance, especially visible on the front fascia level – with the diamond shaped headlamps and angry looking bumpers, the latest iteration features more tame lines, closely following the design language imposed by the large S-Class. As such, the headlamps are more rounded and fitted under a single lens, and the silhouette of the car is suppler, with the recognizable character lines of the bigger brother etched on the sides. While this represents a regrettable departure insofar as visual aggressiveness, it also marks a considerable step forward with regard to the overall elegance of the vehicle.

E-Class sedans are available with four power plant options: a base 2.1 litre, in-line four twin turbo diesel with 195 horsepower (28/42mpg), a 3.5 litre gas powered V6 with 302 horsepower (20/29 mpg), a 3.0 litre biturbo v6 with 329 horsepower (20/28 mpg) and the top of the line AMG version, that sports a hand built 5.5 litre AMG biturbo V8, capable of spewing 577 horsepower (15/22 mpg). The wagon can accommodate seven occupants and, despite its apparent utilitarian nature, comes with either the 3.5 litre V6 or the 5.5 litre AMG, proving that sportiness doesn’t belong only to two door vehicles.

The coupes receive either a 329 horsepower, 3.0 litre biturbo v6 9the same as the sedans) or a more powerful 4.7 litre biturbo V8 with 402 horsepower on tap and with consumption figures registering as 18/26 mpg for city, respectively highway. The cabriolets, available only with a soft top roof, feature the same engine choices as the coupe E-Class, so no surprise there.

Analyzing the entire family, there is clearly a division between the sedans/wagons and the coupes/convertibles, as the latter categories tend to resemble in nature and subtly, in design, the CL. Moreover, the coupe and its soft top equivalent strive for a more raw appearance, as the headlamps are so dissimilar to the units present on the four door versions and the smooth lines seem tenser.

Looking at the direction of design followed by the wagon and the sedan, there is a palpable search for sophistication, as the models seem more conservatively styled and more composed, befitting more of an executive than an excited start-up manager, for example.

The E-Class has been at the forefront – or battling for that position – for over 22 years. During this time, five generations have succeeded, each subsequent one bringing forth more power, more style and more sophistication, while, might we add with grief, constantly raising the asking prices. The current model is the result of a fairly long evolutionary process. Supple and exciting in coupe or convertible form or lustrous and chic in sedan or wagon configuration, the E-Class manages to capture our interest and admiration to this day, especially if a little AMG spice is sprinkled on top!

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