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Luxury sedans are becoming a rare breed these days. Sure, brands like Volvo, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW are still cranking out comfy, fast cars. But they sell fewer than ever before. It makes sense, then, that those looking to stand out might choose a 2023 BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But how do these two mid-size comfort cruisers compare? As it turns out, they’re pretty close together, though the BMW may have the ultimate advantage.

A BMW 5 Series in a studio setting
BMW 5 Series | BMW Group

The 5 Series is more efficient than the E-Class

For a long-distance grand touring car, efficiency is an important factor. While both the 2023 BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class use 2.0-liter turbocharged engines in their base form, the BMW is the more efficient choice. With 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway according to Car and Driver, it does markedly better than its German rival. For comparison, the E-Class earns just 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway fuel economy. 

More cargo space in the BMW

Another point in favor of the 5 Series over the E-Class is the cargo space. At 18 cubic feet of trunk space, the BMW 5 Series makes it easy to pack everything for a true grand touring road trip. Surprisingly, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers just 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space to work with. That’s the equivalent of one full-size suitcase that won’t fit into the Merc. In fact, the 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space puts the E-Class behind compact cars like the Honda Civic, VW Jetta, and Toyota Corolla.

The E-Class Fights Back

A pair of Mercedes-Benz E-Class models
Mercedes-Benz E-Class models | MB USA

Interior space gives the E-Class one advantage over the 5 Series

What the Mercedes-Benz lacks in trunk space it makes up for in seating area. This mid-size luxury sedan offers more legroom and headroom than the BMW 5 Series. Whether seated up front or in the back, there is more room to work with in the E-Class when compared to the 5 Series sedan.

The Mercedes model has the performance edge

On the spec sheet, the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class has the BMW 5 Series outclassed once again. The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo in the E-Class pumps out 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the 5 Series uses a similar 2.0-liter turbo setup but offers just 248 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. 

That said, the added performance doesn’t necessarily translate to the real world experience. Going from zero to 60 mph takes 5.9 seconds in the BMW 5 Series. Comparatively, the E-Class does the same sprint in nearly the exact amount of time. 

The BMW 5 Series delivers more car for the money

While the E-Class does deliver more interior space and more performance on the spec sheet, the differences are scant in the real world. In truth, the BMW 5 Series nearly matches the E-Class on both leg and headroom, with less than an inch of difference separating the two. And while the E-Class has the performance edge on paper, when it comes to getting that power to the ground, the two are nearly identical.

They’re also near equal on price, standard comfort and tech features, and driver’s assistance. With that in mind, it may be that the BMW 5 Series pulls ahead of the E-Class. But there is always something special about driving a Mercedes-Benz.

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