2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class vs 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
$54,250MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
$54,250MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is 8.3 out of 10, while the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI scores 8.0 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the better choice for those seeking a luxurious, high-performance vehicle with advanced safety features and a spacious interior. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI remains an excellent option for those who prioritize sporty driving dynamics and practicality in a compact package.

Overview

MSRP

$54,250

MSRP

$29,880

Average price

$43,175

Average price

$29,148

Listings

555

Listings

114
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

8.3 out of 10

Expert reviews

8.0 out of 10
Pros
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Manual transmission available
  • Great handling
Cons
  • Potentially polarizing design
  • Unintuitive technology
  • Prices rise quickly

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reviews Summary

When money is but a mild concern, a brand-new Mercedes-Benz is a reasonable purchase. The E-Class is the company's most practical and versatile car, as high-quality and necessary in a nice garage as a Kitchen-Aid mixer is in a baker's kitchen. It offers four body styles, four engines, and dozens of color schemes. Fast or efficient? Loud or library quiet? Modest or rich as hell? The E-Class is all of those things, depending on which of the 13 models you order and how deep into the options list you dive. For 2021, the E-Class receives a mid-cycle update for the infotainment system, engines, and exterior styling. We tested the AMG E53 that features a mild-hybrid inline-six powertrain.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Reviews Summary

With its updated engine, revised suspension, and tech-forward interior, the latest iteration of Volkswagen’s legendary GTI looks ready to do battle with the Hyundai Veloster N as well as the upcoming Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. With regards to performance, the new GTI leaves almost nothing to be desired.
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

2.0L 255 hp I4

Engine

2.0L 241 hp I4

Drive Train

RWD

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

255 hp @ 5800 rpm

Horsepower

241 hp @ 5000 rpm

MPG City

22

MPG City

25

MPG Highway

31

MPG Highway

34
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
$54,250MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
$54,250MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is 8.3 out of 10, while the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI scores 8.0 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the better choice for those seeking a luxurious, high-performance vehicle with advanced safety features and a spacious interior. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI remains an excellent option for those who prioritize sporty driving dynamics and practicality in a compact package.

Overview
MSRP
$54,250
$29,880
Average price
$43,175
$29,148
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.5
4.8
Expert reviews

8.3 out of 10

Read full review

8.0 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Multiple powertrain options
  • Great ride quality
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Manual transmission available
  • Great handling
Cons
  • Potentially polarizing design
  • Unintuitive technology
  • Prices rise quickly
Summary
When money is but a mild concern, a brand-new Mercedes-Benz is a reasonable purchase. The E-Class is the company's most practical and versatile car, as high-quality and necessary in a nice garage as a Kitchen-Aid mixer is in a baker's kitchen. It offers four body styles, four engines, and dozens of color schemes. Fast or efficient? Loud or library quiet? Modest or rich as hell? The E-Class is all of those things, depending on which of the 13 models you order and how deep into the options list you dive. For 2021, the E-Class receives a mid-cycle update for the infotainment system, engines, and exterior styling. We tested the AMG E53 that features a mild-hybrid inline-six powertrain.
With its updated engine, revised suspension, and tech-forward interior, the latest iteration of Volkswagen’s legendary GTI looks ready to do battle with the Hyundai Veloster N as well as the upcoming Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. With regards to performance, the new GTI leaves almost nothing to be desired.
Video
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.0L 255 hp I4
2.0L 241 hp I4
Drive Train
RWD
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
255 hp @ 5800 rpm
241 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG City
22
25
MPG Highway
31
34
Look and feel
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
9/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
7/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, part of the W213 generation, debuted in 2017 with a design that moved away from the sharper, boxier angles of its predecessor to adopt the fluid, curvier forms seen in the 2014 S-Class and 2015 C-Class. Mercedes' chief designer, Gorden Wagener, described this design theme as "sensual purity." The 2021 model featured a slightly edgier front with squinted headlights and an inverted trapezoid grille, while the rear resembled the W212 with horizontal taillights cutting into the trunk lid. New bumpers with larger air intakes, new exhaust tips, and new wheels were the major changes. Despite the updates, the E-Class remained a handsome and elegant car, available as a sedan, wagon, coupe, or convertible. However, the standing hood ornament on the sedans and wagons was no longer available, a classic Mercedes look that was replaced by a giant star emblem in the grille. This change was part of the Sport package, which had become very popular among buyers. The AMG models, with their vertical grille slats, made the big star look appropriate for the firepower behind it. The E-Class was a reserved and conservative car from the outside, but its cabin was a bacchanal of decadent materials and exuberant style. Rich woods, aluminum, and carbon fiber adorned the space, with intricate details like metal speaker grilles, elaborate stitching, and incredible ambient lighting. The black monolith on the dash revealed two 12-inch screens with crisp detail and brilliant color, making the E-Class's interior unmatched by any car at its price. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, although claiming all-new body panels, retained a familiar look that might have been hard to distinguish from the previous generation for non-enthusiasts. The new GTI was longer and lower, with a wheelbase of 103.6 inches, maintaining its nimble and quick character. The styling followed the typical GTI form, with a smooth hood, subtle honeycomb-patterned air intake, and a signature red accent line running between the LED headlights. Optional light bars added drama to the front end, especially at night, and LED fog lights were standard. Aerodynamic improvements included redesigned side-view mirrors, underbody paneling, and revised wheel-arch linings. The GTI featured red brake calipers, with wheel sizes varying by trim. The S and SE trims had 18-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli P Zero all-season tires, while the Autobahn trim rode on 19-inch wheels with summer tires. The GTI was available in staple colors like silver, black, and white, with fun options like Atlantic Blue Metallic, Kings Red Metallic, and Moonstone Gray. The Autobahn trim offered Pomelo Yellow Metallic as a launch option. Inside, plaid cloth seats were standard on the S and SE trims, with Vienna leather upholstery available on the SE and standard on the Autobahn. The classic golf-ball shifter knob was retained for manual transmission models, and all trims featured stainless steel pedals.
Performance
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
8/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
10/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class saw a significant change with the switch from conventional V6 engines to electrified inline-six powertrains for the highest-volume models. The E450 became a hybrid, using a 48-volt electrical system to supplement the common 12-volt system. This system powered an electric starter-generator, providing extra power and torque (up to 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque) for brief periods. The 3.0-liter inline-six engine produced 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, with more available through the battery's overboost. The base E350's 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, revised for 2020, produced 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque but lacked the performance expected of a $60,000 luxury car. The AMG E53 added a second turbo, powered by the 48-volt battery, to the E450's engine, producing 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. The AMG E63 S featured a hand-built 4.0-liter V8 with 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, paired with a 48-volt system. The E-Class offered a range of driving experiences, from the comfortable and quiet E350 to the high-performance AMG models. Fuel economy varied, with the E450 4Matic and E350 4Matic sedans returning 26 mpg combined, while the AMG models had lower ratings. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI featured a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The engine reached peak horsepower at 5,000 rpm, with torque available at a low 1,750 rpm. The GTI offered a choice between a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DSG) with paddle shifters. Front-wheel drive was the only option, with the Golf R offering all-wheel drive for those seeking improved capability. The GTI's fuel economy was estimated at 24 mpg city, 34 highway, and 28 combined with the manual transmission, with a slight uptick for the automatic. The Mk8 GTI featured a retuned suspension, with a lighter front assembly and stiffer rear springs. Various drive modes allowed drivers to dial in the GTI for Eco, Comfort, or Sport settings. The GTI's handling was enhanced by an electronic torque-sensing limited-slip differential and electronic stability control, providing a more neutral stance and limited traction loss. The Autobahn trim offered the DCC adaptive damping system, capable of 200 adjustments per second, for even better handling.
Form and function
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
8/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
9/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class featured a redesigned infotainment system with a touchscreen, making everyday tasks easier and faster. The touchpads on the steering wheel were reshaped, and shortcut buttons for navigation, stereo, and other settings remained. The cabin was spacious for four adults, with ample headroom and legroom, supportive cushions, and knee cutouts on the seatbacks. The E sedan offered 13 cubic feet of trunk space, while the coupe and convertible had 10 cubic feet or less with the roof down. The wagon provided 35 cubic feet of cargo space, expandable to 64 cubic feet with all seats folded. The E450 All-Terrain wagon added ground clearance and plastic body cladding for a more rugged look. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI offered 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat, expandable to 34.5 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The GTI's center stack was angled toward the driver's seat, with a "light and sight" panel for adjusting headlights and defogging settings. Rear legroom was surprisingly good, making the GTI comfortable for a family of four.
Technology
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
10/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
7/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class featured the MBUX infotainment system with a touchscreen interface. The system included natural voice processing, online searches, and a live feed from the front camera with overlay arrows and street names. Optional features included massaging seats, seat kinetics, and a wireless phone charger. The instrument cluster offered various display options, from traditional analog gauges to bar graphs and zany colors. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI featured a fully digital driver information display with three primary gauge displays and customizable options. The display spanned 10.25 inches and was standard on all trims. The infotainment system included an 8.25-inch touchscreen on the S trim and a 10-inch touchscreen with navigation on the SE and Autobahn trims. The system offered Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 9-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. Volkswagen's Car-Net system provided remote access, emergency assistance, and WiFi capability, with additional options available at low costs.
Safety
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
10/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
7/10
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class was one of the safest cars on sale, with a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a "Top Safety Pick+" rating from the IIHS. Standard safety features included forward automatic emergency braking, a driver-attention monitor, and blind-spot monitoring. Optional features included Pre-Safe Sound, side bolster inflation during a side collision, and countermeasures for surging crosswinds. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI featured IQ.Drive, which included adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear traffic alert. However, IQ.Drive was only available on automatic GTIs. Park Distance Control was standard on all trims, with Park Assist available on the Autobahn trim. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS had crash-tested the 2022 GTI at the time of writing.
CarGurus logo

By: CarGurus + AI

At CarGurus, our team of experienced automotive writers remain at the heart of our content operation, conducting hands-on car tests and writing insightful guides that are backed by years of industry experience. To complement this, we are harnessing AI to make our content offering more diverse and more helpful to shoppers than ever. To achieve this, our AI systems are based exclusively on CarGurus content, ratings and data, so that what we produce is both unique to CarGurus, and uniquely helpful to car shoppers.