2019 Mercedes E-Class Sedan vs. 2018 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The rear seatbelts optional on the E-Class Sedan inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The ES Series doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The E-Class Sedan offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ES Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The E-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The ES Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the E-Class Sedan and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the E-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2018, a rating granted to only 28 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ES Series was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

There are over 59 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Engine

The E-Class Sedan has more powerful engines than the ES Series:

 

Horsepower

Torque

E 300 Sedan 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

E 450 4MATIC Sedan 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

AMG E 53 Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

429 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

ES 300h 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

200 HP

199 lbs.-ft.

ES 350 3.5 DOHC V6

268 HP

248 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the E 300 Sedan is faster than the ES 300h:

 

E-Class

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.7 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.9 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 MPH

90 MPH

Top Speed

129 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the E 300 Sedan RWD gets better fuel mileage than the ES 350 (22 city/30 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the E-Class Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ES Series Hybrid.

The E-Class Sedan 450/AMG 53’s standard fuel tank has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series (21.1 vs. 17.2 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the E-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

 

E-Class

AMG E 53

ES Series

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

14.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.2 inches

11 inches

The E-Class Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ES Series are solid, not vented.

The E-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the ES Series:

 

E-Class

ES Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

143 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the E-Class Sedan has larger standard tires than the ES Series (245/45R18 vs. 215/55R17). The E-Class Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ES Series (F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. 225/45R18).

The E-Class Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The E-Class Sedan’s optional 245/40R19 front and 275/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the ES Series’ optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the E-Class Sedan has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ES Series. The E-Class Sedan’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the ES Series.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the E-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The ES Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The ES Series’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The E-Class Sedan has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Sedan’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The ES Series doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Sedan has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The ES Series doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The E-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The ES Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the ES Series (115.7 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the E-Class Sedan is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ES Series.

The E-Class Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54.2% to 45.8%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the E-Class Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC handles at .92 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The E-Class Sedan 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.4 seconds quicker than the ES 350 (25.1 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the E-Class Sedan has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The ES Series uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

The E-Class Sedan has .2 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

The E-Class Sedan’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the E-Class Sedan’s trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The ES Series doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the E-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the ES Series. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

The E-Class Sedan has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The ES Series doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The E-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the ES Series.

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The ES Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the E-Class Sedan and the ES Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the E-Class Sedan is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The ES Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Sedan to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The ES Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The E-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ES Series’ headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the E-Class Sedan has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The ES Series doesn’t offer cornering lights. The E-Class Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the E-Class Sedan has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The ES Series doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The E-Class Sedan’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The ES Series’ power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The E-Class Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The ES Series doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The E-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Lexus ES Series isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or station wagon.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mercedes E-Class Sedan and the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The E-Class was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The ES Series has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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