Which Mercedes-Benz - The E 250 or the CLS?


Hi John,

I love your radio program on 2UE. I am planning to buy a new Mercedes in 2014. I am in two minds between the E 250 CDI and the CLS Coupe (which is $22,000 dearer). From the drive, level of equipment and resale value, which one should I be going for?




Hi Sam, 

Nice 'problem' to have. They're both very nice cars. Very nice. The CLS is probably a shade nicer - but the question is: Is it $22,000 nicer? Probably not. I don't understand ho you've narrowed it down to these two Benzes.

If it were me, I would probably buy the E Class and simply option it up (there's an options list longer than your arm, I'm sure). 

The E 250 CDI is $108k drive away in NSW. The CLS 250 CDI Coupe is $130k drive away.  

If your budget is $130k, I would start with the E 250 CDI and option it up to $130k. That would be quite a good car.

E Vs CLS?  Similar drive, similar specs, dollar-for-dollar, similar depreciation. It's down to personal preference.

The real question you should ask yourself in my view is this: What else could I get from Audi or BMW? 

Here's how this works: Audi does the best luxury fit and finish. BMW does the best driving dynamics. Mercedes-Benz, dollar for dollar, is not quite as well finished as an Audi, and not quite as good to drive as a BMW. Mercedes-Benz has dropped the ball, in a way, compared with the other two - it doesn't really understand what it does well, beyond offer a badge that's slightly more exclusive in some people's minds, than Audi or BMW.  Mercedes-Benz is not the 'ultimate' it purports to be, although it's easy to get sucked in by the marketing fluff in this respect.

If it were me, I would definitely see what Audi and BMW had to offer for $130k - scratch BMW if you want the poshest fit and finish, and scratch Audi if you want really great driving dynamics. And scratch Mercedes-Benz unless you're a complete brand-obsessed snob - because the other two offer something more appealing for those seeking either ultimate luxury or the ultimate driving experience. 

Let me know how you go - if you want to secure the vehicle at the cheapest possible price, let me put you in touch with my preferred car broker, who can tender the purchase out to dozens of dealers, as well as insulate you from the commonest dealer rip-offs.


John Cadogan