When Mercedes-Benz launched the new E-Class in India earlier this year, it brought in the car with the entry-level E200 petrol model and the range topping E350d. A wide chasm of Rs 13 lakhs between the petrol and the diesel model indicated that a mid-level diesel would be brought into the picture at a later date which Mercedes has now done, in the form of the E220d. In the fight among the mid-level luxury sedans, the 2.0-litre diesel powered versions is where the battle lies and we have got behind the wheel of the new E220d to see what it brings to the fray.
This version marks two major introductions for the German automaker. The first is that it has now begun assembling this new E-Class in India. Secondly, the engine powering this model is a new four-cylinder 2.0-litre unit and the E-Class (in this massive LWB form) is the first car to debut this motor in India.
There has been a growing trend among the German car makers to abide by a family look and this E-Class (even in its LWB form) is very good example of this thought process. It picks up much of its looks from Merc’s flagship S-Class which is not a bad thing at all as nothing speaks presence and luxury like an S-Class. That being said, there is hardly anything to separate this E-Class 220d from its bigger sibling the E350d.
The face is dominated by the snake-like split head lamps and double slat chrome grille while the side gets a forward sloping sporty roofline, blacked out pillars and proportionate overhangs to give the car a complete look. This car gets a different design and more traditional five-spoke design for the alloy wheels as compared to the 350d. Finally, at the rear you get the distinctive LED wrap around tail lamps and chrome tips for the exhausts. Given the cars lengthy proportion, a shade like white makes it quite discreet and hides most of the lines of the car.
If you found the exterior a bit subtle, then the cabin should get things going again. It might be a lesser priced version of the bigger diesel, but it hardly skimps on the equipment. You get leather seats, 64 shade ambient lighting, button start, panoramic sunroof, seven airbags, ABS with EBD, three-zone climate control and LED head lamps as well as tail lamps. The highlight of the dashboard is, of course, the 12.3-inch screen for the COMAND infotainment system with massive screen, crisp graphics and easy to use dial interface. You do, however, lose out on the 360-degree camera setup, auto park function, and electric steering adjustment and Burmester sound system as compared to the E350d.
The E-Class’ luxury leanings is visible in the design of the cabin which sports a two-tone wood brown and beige design. This combined with the panoramic sunroof and large glass area makes the cabin of the E-Class a nice place to be in. The entire centre console has been shod in high quality chrome plastics while massive display and instrument cluster have been neatly wrapped into the leather-lined dashboard. The front seats offer decent amounts of lateral support as well as side bolstering. However, even with an extendable base, the under thigh support is a bit lacking especially for a tall person like me.
However, the selling point for this LWB variant is, of course, the rear seat package. There is ample room at the rear for two occupants both in terms of width, height and of course, leg room. The person in the middle seat would realistically have to sit in a compromised way due to the transmission tunnel and AC vents. You get an option to recline the rear seats and also with the touch of a button, move the front passenger seat to create a massive amount of legroom. Nice touches include small pillows that slot in below headrests as well as the option to download and utilise a COMAND smartphone app that lets you control a large part of the cabin functions via your phone from the rear seats.
This is where the E-Class gets its 220d badge. This is an all new four-cylinder engine which replaces the 2.1 block that powered the previous E-Class. This engine produces 194bhp@3800rpm and 400Nm@1600rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a nine-speed AT. The newness of the engine shows in its levels of refinement. While the old mill had a bit of vibration and gave out that typical diesel clatter, this one is a lot more refined and quieter, especially on the go.
Gas the throttle and you get a linear surge of torque available just past the 1600rpm mark. Keep going and you will be into the three digit speeds much faster than you expected. In fact, for what is essentially a five-metre long luxury sedan, it is deceivingly quick and this is aided by the excellent NVH insulation which filters out most external noises and to a certain extent, numbs you to the sensation of speed.
This linear surge is no doubt aided by the nine-speed box which shifts smoothly and works without hesitation to keep the engine going in the torque band. It is not as sporty as the units found in its rivals, but then again, sportiness was never high on the E-Class’ priority list and this box works just fine for everyday driving. Our testing data revealed that the E-Class dusted the 100kmph sprint in 7.81 seconds which is impressive for such a large vehicle with a four-cylinder engine.
This E-Class gets a regular suspension with steel springs as compared to the 350d’s air suspension. But this is hardly an issue as this one works just fine. It gives the E-Class the ability to smoothly glide along on the road, absorbing bumps and imperfections like they were small rumble strips and in fact you would have to drop the car into something pretty hard to really feel and hear it in the cabin. The setup may be oriented towards comfort, but the car still handles decently at speed although that’s a relative term due to its size and weight.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||192 @3800|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400@1600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||80|
|Tyre size||245/45 R17|
|Extra room at the rear as||Yes|
|Infotainment system with 12.3-inch display||Yes|
|Three-zone climate control||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Inscription Luxury||520d Sport Line|
|Max. Power (bhp)||190 @ 4250||188 @ 400|
|Max. torque (Nm)||400 @ 1750||400 @ 1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||55||57|
|Tyre size||245/ 45 R18||245/ 45 R18|
The E220d is an E-Class with all the looks, badging and most of the comfort. But is priced at least Rs 10 lakhs lesser than its V6 engined sibling and is, in essence, a mid-level variant in that range. In its current guise, the car is big step-up from its predecessor, making it good value for money while its selling point is, of course, the extra space at the back. It competes in the mid-size premium sedan segment with the Volvo S90, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF and the Audi A6.
Photos: Kapil Angane