TEST – So you think the Mercedes E-Class is more comfortable than the BMW 5 Series …

In the past, a BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class was at the top of every director’s wish list. Nowadays, as a socially conscious CEO or woman, you cannot get out of an electrified car. Seductive variants such as the BMW 540i xDrive and the Mercedes E 450 4Matic are therefore threatened with extinction due to their ‘old-fashioned’ six-cylinder. If you want to get your hands on one more, don’t wait too long. But which one should you have for ultimate comfort?

Sometimes the sales stats make our auto hearts bleed. Models that could once be found in every executive parking lot are now sinking deeper and deeper into the depths of the charts. In 2012, about 4,500 BMW 5-series were registered annually in the Netherlands, nowadays there are no more than a meager 1500 pieces. And while Mercedes still sold 2500 E’s in 2010, the star brand did not exceed 750 copies last year. Although we welcome the expansion of BMW’s electric i-line and Mercedes’ EQ range for many reasons, we remember the glory years of the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes E-class with nostalgia.

BMW 5-series versus Mercedes E-class

However, there is no reason to be depressed yet. If you want to purchase a new 5-series or E-class, you can still go to the dealer. Although you have to be fast for the Mercedes, because the brand has now announced that it will soon no longer take orders for the four-door Limousine. Last chance, folks! Likewise for a comparative test. Before they are finished, we once again opt for the versions with a six-cylinder in-line engine, mild hybrid technology and four-wheel drive: the BMW 540i xDrive and the Mercedes E 450 4Matic.

Mercedes was once champion in comfort, now BMW

As much attention has been paid to the finish in the BMW, so high is the comfort. Equipped with optional adaptive shock absorbers (1281 euros), the chassis responds exemplary to the condition of the asphalt. The steel coil springs are just smooth enough, without becoming floaty.

The Mercedes is equipped with air suspension and adaptively regulated shock absorbers for an additional cost of 2299 euros, but within built-up areas this combination has difficulty dealing with sharp transverse ridges in the road surface. As soon as you leave the city limits behind and pick up the pace, the E-Class’s chassis seems to relax. Then the car rolls a lot smoother on poorly maintained roads.

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The comfort seats of the BMW are an absolute must, even if they cost 2455 euros extra. You can even adjust the upper part of the backrest to the contour of your shoulders. But the seats of the Mercedes are also excellent; after a long day behind the wheel, you still get out fresh and without physical complaints.

The sound experience is of course also important for travel comfort. The six-cylinder in-line engines remain neatly in the background with their mechanical music. If you press the accelerator a little deeper, the BMW engine will sound like it’s churning butter. At higher speeds you hear less of the wind in the 5-series than in the E-class.

Mercedes teaches the BMW a lesson on the track

So the BMW is more comfortable on the public road, but does it also teach the Mercedes a lesson on the track? No, not even with its optional rear-wheel steering (1335 euros). It is precisely the E-class that shows here how to record a fast lap time. Not only because of its better brakes, but also because of the higher speed it achieves in corners.

The BMW already loses grip at a fairly low speed and thus slides too far off course. Fortunately, corrections are accompanied by excellent feedback from the control system. You can use it when the rear of the car wants to step aside.

The full test with all measurements is in Auto Review 5/2022. Now in store and to order online.

Source: Autoreview.nl by www.autoreview.nl.

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