2020 BMW 5 Series vs 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which is worth waiting for?

Shaun · May 29, 2020 06:43 PM

In this exercise, we’ll compare the 2020 BMW 5 Series facelift (LCI) against its main rival, which also received a nip and tuck recently, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Since we’ve yet to test either of these two updated models, this is more of a visual and specs comparison.

Exterior – Subtle tweaks for the 5 Series, radical change for the E-Class

As usual, BMW went down the route of subtle yet noticeable tweaks to the design in this facelift. The headlights are new with revised LED graphics, grille has grown ever so slightly larger, and a new front bumper.

The E-Class also received similar treatment to the front but the changes are more radical. The front grille is now A-shaped, the headlights are completely redesigned and bumpers are new as well. The dual-eyebrow LED DRLs from before are gone, now with just a single L-shaped graphic.

At the rear, changes are even more subtle in the 5 Series. The taillight graphics are new with darkened areas and the rear bumper received minor tweaks.

The E-Class gets a completely redesigned set of taillights, now stretches horizontally to the boot lid with a triangular design. This gives the impression of the car being wider.

Interior – Largely similar from before, for both

Inside, changes are subtle for both cars. The 5 Series gets the option for a larger 12.3-inch media display and a new digital instrument cluster. That’s about it.

The E-Class gets an array of new steering wheel designs depending on trim level, all of which have capacitive sensors for the controls and hands-off feature. There’s also a new touchpad that goes without the dial underneath it.

Personally, I prefer the E-Class’ minimalist design. While I do appreciate the 5 Series’ driver-focused layout, its design is rather uninspiring.

Powertrains – 48V mild hybrid systems are on the rise

There are a variety of engine choices for both the 5 Series and E-Class from petrol to diesel, but we’re focusing on the options most that are more relevant to our market.

The petrol only engines in the 5-Series are essentially carried over from before, with the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the 520i making 184 PS/290 Nm, and 252 PS/350 Nm in the 530i. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic.

The difference is, depending on market, all powertrains are available with a 48V mild hybrid system which gets an additional 11 PS of electric boost.

And not forgetting the 530e plug-in hybrid, it gets a more powerful electric motor that is able to provide temporary boost (called the XtraBoost feature) of 40 PS, up to a combined power of 292 PS. Otherwise, the system produces the same 252 PS/420 Nm as before.

There will also be a 545e with a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine making a total output of 394 PS/600 Nm.

The E-Class on the other hand, gets a new engine codenamed M254. Combined with the 48V mild hybrid system, the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine makes 272 PS and 400 Nm of torque and is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission.

M256 3.0-litre engine shown

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

Some key features of the full-fat Driving Assistant Professional in the BMW 5 Series include:

  • Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function
  • Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection
  • Front collision warning with brake intervention
  • Front and rear crossing traffic warning and rear collision warning
  • Steering and Lane Control Assistant with Active Navigation
  • Emergency Stop Assistant
  • Evasion Assistant
  • Junction warning, with city braking function
  • Automatic formation of emergency lane

There’s also the optional Parking Assistant with reversing assistant (seen in the G20 BMW 3 Series). Above this, the Parking Assistant Plus adds a 360-degree view of the car and a Drive Recorder to record video from several points of the car.

As for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the driving assistance systems include:

  • New steering wheel generation with capacitive hands-off detection
  • Active Distance Assist Distronic with route-based speed adjustment
  • Active Stop-and-Go Assist 
  • Active Steering Assist
  • Active Brake Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning
  • Parking Package in conjunction with 360-degree camera

So there we have it, a quick comparison between the two. Which one will you pick based on the photos and features?