Published on June 29th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair


How to Tell the C-, E- and S-Class Apart From All Angles

Before we begin, we should point out that the S-Class has been given a facelift. The facelift model is not for sale yet, so we’ve decided to feature the current model. If you’d like to know more about how these sedans compare in terms of measurement, click here. We’ve also a short article on why the resemblance between these VERY different sedans is so strong that you can read here.

We’re also going to try and avoid looking at things like trim pieces, badges, rims and grille types (though this is mentioned) as some of these will change over time.

OK, on to how you can tell them apart.

Exterior – Front

There are two grille types on the C- and E-Class. The Avantgarde (two horizontal bars and a large Benz logo) and the Exclusive (four horizontal bars with the Benz emblem as a hood ornament). The S-Class only gets the second type of grille. The easiest way to tell these cars apart is by looking at the design of their headlights. 

To identify a C-Class, look at the signal lights. In the C-Class, they are positioned above the white Daytime Running Light strip and points towards to grille.

The E-Class is easiest to tell apart. It has 2 Daytime Running Light Strips instead of one.

The S-Class is the only one here with individual LED modules visible on its Daytime Running Light Strip. The other models have DRLs that form a solid strip of light where this one looks like its broken into many parts. The facelifted model will have three DRLs.

The Exclusive grille on the S-Class sports an unsightly glossy plastic panel at the front for its driver aid systems. The C250 and E250 Exclusive models don’t seem to have this glossy panel, but this MAY be an option in other markets.

Exterior – Profile

In the C-Class, you find similar lines to the ones you find on the S-Class. However, the C-Class’s much shorter overhangs and wheelbase should immediately give it away. If that’s not enough, look at the rear of the roof for an antenna fin. No fin = C-Class.

There’s one very distinct line on the E-Class that sets it apart. You see it strike across the entirety of the car’s side. From the front headlight to the rear along the door handles, both front and rear.

Like we said earlier, the S-Class is exceptionally long. So despite having similar lines to the C-Class, it’s immediately distinguished by its proportions.

Exterior – Rear

Several aspects immediately jump out. The tail light graphic somewhat resembles the S-Class , but with two tiers instead of three. Also the brake light graphic here looks like two red ‘V’s on their side. The C-Class has the cleanest rear end. The reverse light, foglights and reflectors are all incorporated into the 2 taillight housings.

Once again, the E-Class is the easiest to distinguished. The graphic used is less elaborate, with two solid red fingers on each side.  The E-Class is seen above with reflectors (and possibly rear fog lights) placed between the exhaust tip and tail light. The top of its tail light housings are almost horizontal while the C- and S-Class are a little more angular.

The S-Class has the busiest back side of the three. The reverse light is centrally located between the exhaust tips and above those tips you’ll find the reflectors (and possible foglights). The graphic on the S-Class’s tail lights are arguably the nicest. They taper off the the side and have a three dimensional ‘floating’ structure when observed up close. Also, the fin antenna is clearly visible from the rear.


About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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