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By far the most controversial aspect of the E-Class’s design was its styling when it was introduced back in 2009 as the W212. The angular twin front headlights in particular were singled out for criticism. So when its mid-life refresh appeared there was no great surprise to notice the car looked radically different.

Of course it’s not practical to completely restyle a car half way through its product cycle but the E-Class is here to show you don’t need new doors, bonnets or roofs to comprehensively alter a car’s appearance.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
AMG variants feature more aggressive styling to differentiate them from more conventional models

By reverting to single lamps, designing a sharper bumper and replacing the old multi-element traditional Mercedes grille with a simple twin strut design an effect that is both dramatic and for the better has been achieved.

The result is still not a gorgeous car in quite the same way as an A6, but its attractive enough and certainly no longer provides an active reason not to consider an E-Class. Saloons and estates also get a mildly reprofiled rear end with new light clusters too. Inside all Es the differences between pre and post facelift cars are too small to delay us further here.

It's still a very traditional looking Mercedes, perhaps the most traditional of all now the S-Class looks a little more funky than once it did. It sits on an uncommonly long wheelbase with a long rear overhang that turns into a vast cavern when estate bodywork is fitted.

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For all its refreshed appearance, this is not a Mercedes for the avant garde, which is perhaps one reason why they dropped that title from the trim level. Indeed such is the range rationalisation that’s gone on, engines aside the only choice is between a base SE version and a more sporting looking AMG Sport on bigger 19in wheels.

Unless, that is, you’re after the real AMG that is…

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