BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes E-Class: which is the elite executive car?

"All the car you ever need." It's a phrase that is definitely bandied around too often. But we're going to add one more usage of it here, because we can't think of many cars that have the potential to fit that ambitious billing better than the two models facing off in this week's Real-World Road Test. Advertisement - Article continues below

In the Fire Red corner we have the BMW 5 Series[1]. It's in its eighth generation, and its maker promises that it's more advanced, more refined and more complete than ever before. It's also larger, which at least offers the potential to deliver limo-like levels of interior space.

In the High-Tech Silver corner is the new Mercedes E-Class[2] which, like its rival, should move the game on across the board - no mean feat, considering how good the outgoing car was. Our rivals have plug-in hybrid[3] powertrains, which in theory allow them the potential to run much of their lives in zero tailpipe-emission mode, with the added flexibility of a petrol engine for longer runs.

BMW 530e M Sport ProMercedes E 300 e AMG Line Premium PlusPrice:GBP62,455GBP76,610Powertrain:2.0-litre 4cyl PHEV, 295bhp2.0-litre 4cyl PHEV, 309bhp0-62mph:6.3 seconds6.4 secondsTest efficiency:50.6mpg/11.1mpl40.5mpg/8.9mplCO2:16g/km13g/kmAnnual VED:GBP570GBP570

BMW 5 Series

The 530e line-up starts from GBP59,455, but our M Sport Pro model costs GBP3,000 more. Thanks to a few select options, including the GBP3,300 Technology Plus Pack and striking Fire Red paint, the car in these pictures costs GBP72,875.

Tech highlights

What is clear from the off is that unlike some PHEVs, these rivals offer up as much go from the EV side of their powertrains as they do from the petrol element.

The BMW[4]'s Cluster Architecture was designed to accommodate traditional internal- combustion engines, fully electric powertrains, or a mix of the two.

Here it really is a mix, with the two sides offering up almost identical outputs.

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  1. ^ BMW 5 Series (
  2. ^ Mercedes E-Class (
  3. ^ plug-in hybrid (
  4. ^ BMW (