Mercedes E-Class Mk4 (2009-2016) used car buying guide

W212 Mercedes E-Class overview

Range overview: petrol, diesel or hybrid; manual or automatic; rear- or all-wheel drive; saloon, estate, coupe and cabriolet
Reliability: above average for class
Cost to repair: dearer than average
Most common: Mercedes-Benz E 220 CDI (or E 220 d)
Best for economy and long-distance driving: Mercedes-Benz E 250 CDI (or E 250 d)
Best for urban driving: Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTec Hybrid
Our favourite performance version: Mercedes-Benz E 63 S AMG

Mercedes' E-Class lineage dates back to the 1950s, but the fourth car to wear the 'E-Class' name officially was the model that launched in 2009. Often collectively referred to as the 'W212', this code only actually applies to the four-door saloon; the E-Class Estate, also launched in 2009, is the 'S212', while the Coupe and Cabriolet models (both launched in 2010) are correctly known as the 'C207' and 'A207' respectively. However, for simplicity's sake, we'll refer to all versions as the Mk4 E-Class.

So, with four body styles to choose from, as well as a wide array of petrol and diesel engines, two hybrid derivatives, standard rear-wheel drive or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive, and manual and automatic gearboxes, there's a lot of choice with the E-Class Mk4 and there should be a model to suit everyone. There's a slightly confusing array of model names to wade through, which we'll deal with in the sections below, but otherwise this is a solid, classy and elegant mid-sized executive car that makes for a rewarding second-hand buy.

On driving the facelifted E-Class Mk4 for the first time in 2013, said: "While the updated E-Class is most obvious in Avantgarde format, the enhancements throughout are worth having. It remains the comfortable, refined choice of the premium saloons, though it is more efficient than before too. Mercedes-Benz buyers will love the upgrades."

Next section: Engine and range options for the Mercedes E-Class Mk4

Engine and range options for the Mercedes E-Class Mk4
How reliable is the Mercedes E-Class Mk4?
When should I service my Mercedes E-Class Mk4?
Can I fit child seats and a buggy in the Mercedes E-Class Mk4?
Alternatives to the Mercedes E-Class Mk4