Why The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Is Essentially A Baby S-Class


Summary

  • The E-Class shares many qualities of the S-Class but at a fraction of the price, making it a worthy alternative.
  • The E-Class matches the S-Class in ratings and performance, offering luxury and quality at a more accessible price point.
  • With advanced technology, spacious cargo room, and comparable performance, the E-Class is positioned as the more affordable Baby S-Class.



The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has widely been christened the new baby S-Class, and people are already falling in love with it. The defining themes of the S-Class are engineering, quality, speed, luxury, and luxurious ride quality. The flagship Mercedes S-Class will always have an edge in exclusivity. This perception of S-Class exclusivity in the car world is unbeatable by the E-Class, but when it comes to some areas, the E-Class is arguably equal to or even better than its larger much more expensive sibling.

Mercedes-Benz is one of the world’s leading aspirational brands – that is associated with success. The S-Class is one of the many exceptional offerings in the automaker’s lineup – but also one of the most expensive. If you dream of owning an S-Class but don’t have the resources to afford one, there are other options you could consider. The chances are that the GLA, the cheapest car Mercedes-Benz sells today, or the lesser-appointed C-Class won’t impress you.


However, the E-Class may be the ideal stop-gap before you eventually graduate to the S-Class. Be wary, however: You may like the all-new E-Class so much that you abandon your dreams of owning the bigger sedan. Here’s why the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is essentially as good as a baby S-Class.

UPDATE: 2024/02/29 18:00

With the new 2024 Mercedes E-Class’s debut in North American dealerships nearing, we compare it with its bigger and pricier sibling, the S-Class. This update explores whether the E-Class really is a worthy alternative to the S-Class, and how Mercedes may draw more customers to its new-gen E-Class.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Mercedes-Benz and J.D. Power.

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Luxury, Exclusivity, And Superior Build Quality Define The S-Class


When you think of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you visualize a highly refined vehicle blasting down the autobahn at high speed where the occupants feel more like they are in some kind of fusion of a luxury liner and jet fighter than a car. These renowned S-Class qualities of smooth ride and quiet cabin partially stem from mass and muscle.

The S-Class’s Interior Oozes Quality And Luxury

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class tips the scales at close to 5,000 pounds, while the muscle is provided by a 496-horsepower 4.0 twin-turbo V-8 or a 429-horsepower turbocharged inline-six. The S-Class AMG S63 E model raises the bar to 791 horsepower. When you climb into an S-Class, its impeccable engineering and luxury pour into all your senses. Large touch screens dazzle your eyes. Soft leather coddles your body. Doors shut as if they belong in a bank vault instead of a car.


The sum of all these aspects and more whisper-quiet quality with such assurance that no doubt remains in the minds of the occupants that they are in a world-class vehicle. Every bit of this can also be said about the E-Class!

The Base S-Class Is Almost Twice As Expensive As The Equivalent E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class starts at $114,500, while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class starts at $64,850, with the E-Class AMG historically priced a hair less than the lowest-priced S-Class. It is remarkable that the E-Class, a car that costs significantly less than the S-Class, can now almost equal or even slightly exceed the Mercedes-Benz flagship in most categories.

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How The E-Class Embodies The Spirit Of The S-Class

Blue 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz


In some ways, the E-Class is so close to the S-Class that only scientific instruments can measure the difference. If you could somehow be blindfolded by the exclusivity and size of the S-Class, then get behind the wheel of both cars, it is unlikely you’d be able to split the hairs between these two exceptional luxury sedans.

The E-Class Matches The S-Class In Several Key Metrics

A good way to understand how similar these two models are is to take a look at them by the numbers, that is, industry rating numbers. In almost every category, the top-of-the-line S-Class and top-of-the-line E-Class are in a dead heat, according to both J.D. Power. J.D. Power rates the S-Class 77 and the E-Class 79. The overall rating of both cars is so close that any jury would consider it a tie.

Ratings: E-Class Vs. S-Class

Rating

E-Class

S-Class

JD Powers Overall Rating

79/100

77/100

JD Powers Quality & Reliability (Fit and finish)

83/100

81/100

JD Powers Driving Experience

77/100

82/100

(Souce: J.D. Power)


The only category where the S-Class has a clear upper hand over the E-Class is the J.D. Power driving experience rating of 82 versus 77, while the E-Class ekes out a small win with slightly higher quality and reliability. Given the near-equal performance of the AMG variant of the E-Class and S-Class, it is likely that if they both were rated, the AMG models would be in dead heat in all the listed categories.

The 2024 E-Class Has More Cargo Room Than The S-Class

When comparing the two sedans, other than exclusivity, size seems to be the biggest differentiator. The size class of a vehicle is determined by interior volume, not exterior dimensions. A mid-size car has 110 to 119.9 cubic feet of volume, while a full-size car has over 120 cubic feet of interior volume. By this standard, the E-Class sedan is a mid-sized car, and the S-Class just barely makes it into the full-sized car category.


The 2023 E-Class has 98 cubic feet of maximum passenger space and 13.1 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk, which gives it a total volume of 111.1 cubic feet. The all-new 2024 model, which will arrive in dealerships in the first quarter of 2024, offers 19 cubic feet in the trunk. Meanwhile, the S-Class has 112 cubic feet of maximum passenger space and 12.9 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk, which gives it a total volume of 124.9 cubic feet.

The S-Class has 14 more cubic feet of passenger volume than the outgoing E-Class. The S-Class will likely maintain its advantage over the E-Class in the occupant volume metric, despite enhanced legroom and headroom in the new-gen E-Class. However, the 2024 E-Class will have more cargo capacity than its bigger, costlier sibling.

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How The E-Class Exceeds The S-Class

Blue Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz

The 2023 S-Class 580 can go from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. The 2023 E-Class 450 almost matches the S-Class with a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. Most drivers would be hard-pressed to feel or gauge the difference without a scientific instrument that measured acceleration.

There’s No Huge Difference In Performance Between The S-Class And E-Class’s High Performance Variants

At the top of the 2023 E-Class sits the AMG E63 with 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. This brutal amount of power comes from a twin-turbo V-8 that transforms this luxury car into a beast that has been road-tested, hitting 60 MPH in just 3.0 seconds while clawing out a top speed of 186 MPH.

For 2024, Mercedes has not yet confirmed any AMG E-Class specs, but there is little doubt there should likely be an E-Class AMG, and performance will be higher. The big question is whether it will be powered by a hybrid inline-six, or the twin-turbo V-8 from the 2023 model. It’s unlikely Mercedes will come out with a slower AMG model in 2024.


At the top of the S-Class for 2024 is the AMG S63 with 791 horsepower and an insane 1055 pound-feet of torque. All this fury comes from a twin-turbo V-8 that propels the car to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 MPH. The current-gen S-Class is the most potent S-Class of all time, but it’s not the coolest – the W140 S-Class from the 90s is way cooler.

Specifications Comparison

Model

2024 E-Class E350

2024 E-Class E450

2024 S-Class S500

2024 S-Class S580

2024 S63 E Performance

Engine

Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four

Turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six

Turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six

Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8

Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8

Horsepower

255 horsepower

375 horsepower

429 horsepower

496 horsepower

791 horsepower

Torque

295 pound-feet

369 pound-feet

384 pound-feet

516 pound-feet

1,055 pound-feet

Transmission

Nine-speed automatic

Nine-speed automatic

Nine-speed automatic

Nine-speed automatic

Nine-speed automatic

Driveline

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

(Specs: Mercedes)


So if you lust for speed and your wallet is fat enough, the AMG E-Class and AMG S-Class Mercedes are almost in a dead heat with the 2023 AMG E-Class surprisingly coming out of the gate a little faster in some road tests, and the 2024 model may be faster still!

The E-Class Has A More Advanced Infotainment System

Mercedes has not forgotten about the extreme tech experience when it comes to the E-Class. While the 2024 S-Class has a standard instrument cluster and touchscreen, the E-Class one-ups its more expensive sibling with a major upgrade for 2024, the E-Class SuperScreen. Despite eliciting some negative reviews, the E-Class’s mammoth infotainment system screens are quite an impressive sight.


This massive touchscreen visually merges a large 14.5-inch central touchscreen with a second 12.3-inch touchscreen for the passenger while leaving the instrument cluster as a discrete 12.3-inch display. This gives the E-Class with its SuperScreen a whopping 217.9 square inches of screen space. Almost all controls in the cabin have been replaced with the SuperScreen. By contrast, the S-Class has less than half as much active touchscreen space and no passenger touchscreen at all.

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A V-8 Powertrain May Make The E-Class More Desirable Than The S-Class

Silver Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz

At the moment, the confirmed 2024 E-Class powertrains are a turbocharged inline-four and a turbocharged inline-six. Should the AMG E-Class features an inline-six as rumored, it’ll mean that the E-class lineup probably won’t feature a V-8-powerel. The good news is Mercedes could reintroduce the M177 V-8 as the new-gen E-Class ages.


The E-Class V-8s Will Likely Feature Hybrid Technology

Low-displacement engines have proven to be just as effective in power production as high-displacement mills. For instance, the new generation of E-Class vehicles will feature low-displacement, turbocharged engines. The shift has angered ICE diehards of the motoring world, who want automakers to keep producing loud V-8 engines. Mercedes has signaled that it will respond to the pleas of its OG fans by releasing a V-8 powertrain for the E-Class starting with the 2026 model year.

The move would enhance the E-Class’s reputation as a baby S-Class, as Merc provides a 4.0-liter V-8 with the bigger sedan. The E-Class V-8 powertrain will likely feature hybrid tech, like many modern Mercedes-Benz power units. By offering the E-Class with a V-8, Mercedes may attract customers still enamored by big, loud, high-performance engines.

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The 2024 E-Class Is Truly The More Affordable Baby S-Class

Whether you purchase a standard E-Class or an AMG model, you are buying a vehicle that in almost every way equals the S-Class except for size and exclusivity. Features like air suspension and rear-axle steering, once reserved for the flagship S-Class, can also be had on the new E-Class. Starting at $63,200 for the base E-250, you are also saving anywhere from $60,000 to $90,000. This means you could almost buy two E-Class Mercedes instead of one S-Class.

Price: Mercedes E-Class Vs. S-Class

Model

Price

2024 E-Class 350

$63,200

2024 E-Class 450

$64,850

2024 E-Class 450 Pinnacle

$70,650

2024 S-Class 500 4Matic

$114,500

2024 S-Class 580 4Matic

$124,000


(Source: Mercedes)

The average new car price in the United States is around $48,000. So, while neither the S-Class nor E-Class can be considered inexpensive, Mercedes has given birth to a new baby S-Class that far more people can afford to bring home.



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