Some full-sized Executive saloons claim to be sporty: cars like BMW's 5 Series and Jaguar's XF. Others, like this one, simply don't feel the need to try that hard - unless an AMG V8 happens to beat beneath the bonnet. It probably won't do. Electrification is the theme with this revised tenth generation model, with plug-in hybrid technology now available right across the range on the diesel engines as well as the petrol ones, plus as before, there's a choice of rear-driven or 4MATIC AWD drivetrain options. All models come with 9G-Tronic 9-speed auto transmission.
The volume unit is the 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol powerplant that features on the base E200 variant, an engine which now features an improved 48-volt mild hybrid system now integrated into the casing of the nine-speed automatic gearbox. This lightly electrified set-up can produce up to 20bhp and 180Nm of extra torque to reduce the load on the petrol engine. Completely new to the E-Class line-up is the six cylinder petrol unit of the new E450 (borrowed from the CLS 450). As before, there's a petrol plug-in variant too, the E300e, which uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine combined with a 13.5kWh battery; together, these power sources have a combined output of 333hp and 790Nm of torque. And there's an all-electric range of up to 35 miles.
In the diesel range, things kick off with the 194hp 2.0-litre E220d with 400Nm of torque. There's also, rather uniquely, a diesel plug-in variant, the E300de, which has a 2.0-litre diesel engine paired with a 13.5kWh battery; the combustion engine produces 194hp, while the electric motor adds a further 122hp and there's an all-electric range of up to 34 miles. At the top of the diesel line-up is the six cylinder E400d 4MATIC, which produces 340hp and 700Nm.
If you want a sporting E-Class with a potent petrol powerplant, there's also a revised version of the 3.0-litre biturbo mild hybrid six cylinder engine used in the potent Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ variant, which benefits from slightly more electrified assistance, though the total output (435hp) is the same as before. Beyond that, there's the 4.0-litre V8 E 63 4MATIC+ S model which offers 612hp.
Even on mainstream E-Class models, handling should be sharper than you might expect, thanks to various 'Direct Control' suspension systems with selective damping. There's also the option of an 'Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension' set-up offering the kind of pillowy ride that will remind you of the larger Mercedes S-Class saloon. A 'Dynamic Select' switch in the cockpit enables the driver to select from four 'Air Body Control' modes: 'Comfort', 'ECO', 'Sport' and 'Sport+'. The additional 'Individual' option allows drivers to configure their vehicle to suit their own preferences.