Now that the production has ended, we can talk about the Mercedes E Class W213 aka the best S Class you can currently buy.
It’s safe to say that after a few pints you won’t be able to tell the difference between C Class, E Class and S Class. But then I realized that you don’t even need alcohol because alcohol is dangerous to boredom. It seems that Mercedes Benz managed to surpass Audi in building cars that look the same. If the Audi A4 looks like a smaller A6 which in turn looks like a smaller A8, between C Class and E Class and S Class you can’t quite tell which one’s which.
Well, how can I tell if the car is an E Class and that fake goldchain wearing gentleman doesn’t try to sell me a C Class and scam me?
- Technically all you need to do is to look at the headlights. If it has only one led strip it is C Class, if it has two it is E Class and if it has three stripes it is S Class. Very useful advice. As useful and wise as the words of Cardi B.
- If counting LED stripes on headlights is not quite your thing, then another detail which separates the chaff from the wheat is that the E Class is bigger than the C Class and also has an interior much closer to the S Class, and from here things get more complicated than showing up to work after breaking-up with a coworker with whom you hooked up on a corporate party, despite everybody telling you not to and now it’s getting really akward.
- Seriously now, there is no point in buying an S Class if you don’t plan to hire a personal driver and you don’t need those 6 square meters in the back. Even before the E Class was an S Class that you would drive yourself, but with the W213 generation the distance between S and E is even smaller. Now you have autonomous driving, air suspension, a radar camera that scans the road ahead for potholes and adjusts the suspension in real time so you don’t feel anything, you can turn on the car from your phone and a options list worthy of the Pokemon list as of today (1015 as of today).
Mercedes E Class W213 Engines
- 1.6 Turbo M274 DE16 LA of 156 horsepower – No. I mean it’s a “yes” for the CLA and the smaller cars of the family, but for the E Class it’s like having Graham Norton carry Wilt Chamberlain on his back.
- 2.0 Turbo M274 DE20 LA of 184, 208 and 242 horsepower – The 2-liter version on the other hand is quite decent. It’s just that it’s just like Primator 24 Double beer – very good, tasty, with no complaints attached to it but all but impossible to find. If you do manage to find one however, it’s seriously worth buying.
- 3.0 V6 Twin-Turbo M276 DE30 LA of 362 and 396 horsepower – An American engine built for american people because they don’t really care about diesel there and in the states where people can afford it diesel is banned anyway. And yes, this engine is related to Chrysler’s Pentastar V6 because at that time Daimler was owned by FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Association), which is now known as Stellantis.
- 3.5 V6 Twin-Turbo M276 DE35 LA of 326 horsepower – But let’s get down to business. The M276 is an evolution of the M272 so we no longer have the famous balance shaft issue. Instead, we have a high-pressure pump that fails (like other high power turbocharged german petrols). We also have direct injection which is contaminated with carbon deposits and the valves and intake manifold must be cleaned from time to time. And that’s pretty much it. A much more reliable engine than the one it replaced.
- 4.0 V8 Twin-Turbo M177 DE40 LA of 571 and 612 horsepower – You would think that a twin-turbo, 600 horsepower 4.0 litre V8 would be a pain to run. And you would be wrong, because Mercedes generally makes reliable V8 engines. The only real issue with this engine is that it is more cramped than a tourist in a Santorini during summer when he finds out that those pictures on the internet have nothing to do with reality. Which is technically not your problem but the mechanic’s, until he gives you the labor bill when it suddenly becomes your problem.
- 1.6D OM654 DE16 G SCR of 160 horsepower – This summer love of an engine was only available for a few months between 2019 and 2020, so I won’t talk about it.
- 2.0D OM654 DE20 SCR of 150, 191 and 242 horsepower – Which was essentially the children’s version of the 2.0D, the last diesel from Mercedes. A very complex to work on but reliable engine. Later in life it will develop issues with hydraulic rockers and carbon deposits on the valves, but overall it is a grown up engine and, quite possibly, all the engine you will ever need.
- 3.0D OM642 and OM656 of 254, 282 and 340 horsepower – If it were a song, it would be “No Chance in Hell” because this premium Mercedes village bike has proven its reliability. Of course, there are still injector seals and timing belt tensioners that need to be replaced regularly, but all in all it’s an engine at the end of development and very, very reliable.
Mercedes E Class W213 Common Issues
- The diesel engines are the same as Married with children – good in the 90s and at most 2000, but now their time has passed and they no longer have a place in this world. The emissions standards put the AdBlue installation and the nox sensor in their hands, and both break down in the Mercedes. We start with the AdBlue pump and the AdBlue system in general, which must only be fed with AdBlue from the Mercedes dealership, otherwise the pump will break. And you must always have a barrel of AdBlue with you, because without AdBlue the engine won’t start. Then there is the nox sensor that measures in real time the level of nox in the atmosphere and adjusts the engine parameters. And I don’t have to tell you that it will break more often than your stomach after drinking beer and eating watermelon.
- Many, way too many electronics and it is impossible for nothing to break down, so get used to the constant check engine light on the dash. Likewise, when you buy a car you must check absolutely every button and function. Special mentions for pre-2020 models as the voice command system is installed in the infotainment and if one breaks, both break. One more and I’m off, the Mercedes ME system doesn’t always work, the one that connects to the phone and allows you to turn on the car using the phone. Basically it answers the age old question – How do you turn this on??
- Actually I think I’m going to stay. The convertible weighs 585 tons and eats brakes the same way I eat electricity from a stun gun every Friday night.
- The Mercedes E Class W213 came with optional air suspension and that translates into the compressor inevitably breaking down and it won’t be good. Or it may just be a software issue. In any case, it will be expensive.
Mercedes E Class W213 Verdict
The gap between E Class and S Class is so small it’s practically a slit and I really don’t see why it’s worth paying extra for an S Class. I repeat, if you are not a VIP and you don’t need the space in the back because you are working while the driver takes you to the next meeting, you do not need the S Class. And as a family car, an E Class station wagon still holds up on the market. It seems that Mercedes has returned to its origins and makes barges on wheels that emphasize comfort and not sport, because in 2010 it went a bit wild on the sports side and lost itself.
Which engines do I recommend? The M274 turbo 2-liter 184 horsepower engine is all the petrol powerplant you’ll ever need, but the default engine remains the 2 liter 190 horsepower diesel.