New BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class ready for battle – Looking ahead

Titans in Transition

Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Illustration: Larson)

The tension in Germany is running high, because a new generation of both the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the BMW 5-series is coming this year. For both pillars in the upper middle class, it is probably the last somewhat traditional chapter, although electrification already plays a very large role.


  • Double roller for 5 series
  • At least mild hybrid
  • This year against each other

For more than thirty years, the Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW 5-series have passed through the generations at roughly the same time. They come on the market in quick succession and then both last seven years. The current E-class and 5-series are also almost equal. They appeared in 2016 and 2017 respectively, so we can expect redemption for both Germans very soon. It is already clear that these newcomers have something in common in addition to their origin, market position and lifespan: they are logically the last with fuel engines. Mercedes-Benz already has the fully electric EQE and there is only one E-class next to it. Chances are the next step will bring a fusion of the two. At BMW, they are already shifting fully electric driving under the same roof by also launching an electrically powered variant of the next 5 series, the i5. Essentially, you see three new models on these pages: the next Mercedes-Benz E-class, the BMW 5 series and the BMW i5. For now, we will mainly focus on the first two, which are in direct competition with each other.

New E-class again a smaller S

Both the new E-class and the new 5-series continue in a recognizable way in terms of appearance. That means very briefly for the Mercedes that it will be a bit of a ‘shrunken S-class’ again. The current E-class crept a bit closer to the youngest S-class during the facelift, with its more pinched rear lights, but that goes a step further with the new one. Also count on somewhat wider and flatter headlights, which may be tight against the grille. In that respect, it is also a little bit EQE-like. Mercedes-Benz has already shown the interior and we also see familiar elements there, although the ‘E’ goes its own way a bit.

E-class will not get a hyperscreen

The central screen is a bit more subtle than in the S-class and there is also a separate digital set of instruments. So no Hyperscreen for the E-class, but a so-called Superscreen. Incidentally, the new E-class does not have round ventilation grilles, but rather flat ones in the upper ‘frame’ of the dashboard. On the motor level, we can mainly expect an expansion of the (mild) hybrid range. Logically, every powertrain will receive some form of electrification and there is a good chance that the new E63 will be a fantastic plug-in. Should a V8 be used again, it is quite possible that the E63, just like the S63 E-Performance, will pass the 800 hp mark. The E-class, like the C and S-class, is based on the MRA2 and with that you can count on a co-steering rear axle and other handy (safety) gadgets from the Mercedes S-class.

BMW 5 Series (Illustration: Larson)

BMW 5 Series (Illustration: Larson)

New BMW 5 Series also as an electric i5

As mentioned, BMW opts for a different approach by attacking two competitors with one car. The new BMW 5 Series comes with fuel engines to make life miserable for Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class again, while it competes with that brand’s EQE with an electric powertrain such as the i5. Both the electric i5 and the new 5-series presented in the illustration above will appeal to the more conservative customer with its appearance.

Plug-in hybrid M5?

The 5 series does get a considerably sharper shaped nose, but a huge grille or split headlights (as with big brother 7 series / i7) are not included. Recognition trumps all in all, just like with the E-class. This only partly applies to the motorization, because in addition to a wide range of mild hybrid petrol and diesel versions and plug-in hybrids, electrification is also waiting for the M5. That’s new. The sporty top version, just like the E-class, will be a fantastic plug-in. It remains to be seen whether BMW combines a six-cylinder with an electric motor or goes for a V8 again.

Possible powertrain XM for M5

In the latter case, BMW might just grab the XM’s powertrain off the shelf. It is already good for 653 hp in standard trim and even kicks it as a Red Label to 748 hp. An M5 Touring is not excluded and a Touring variant of the electric i5 also seems to be in the pipeline. Count on a power of at least 300 hp for the i5 to more than 500 hp for the i5 M50. In terms of range, the i5 must come from a good house to offer the EQE (up to 660 km) a good response. Later this year we will welcome the new Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW 5-series. The i5 will probably be there right away.


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