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New Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a Tour-de-Force.

New Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a Tour-de-Force.

In the three decades since Mercedes-Benz added a prefix to its medium-sized executive saloon car to create the E-Class, it has become the byword for prestigious comfort. The E-Class is the German manufacturers’ best-selling model, with more than 16 million sold worldwide since 1993, and it has amassed a raft of awards along the way, including the 2021 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, a first for Mercedes-Benz.

Most Appealing E-Class Yet.

Now in its sixth-generation, the latest E-Class promises to be the most appealing, and the most technologically-advanced offering yet. Previous generations of the E-Class were available in Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Convertible body styles but, starting from this generation, coupés and convertibles will no longer bear the E-Class name. The new E-Class uses the same MRA II platform that also underpins the smaller C-Class and larger S-Class, so all models now come with hybrid tech as standard. Engine options consist of petrol, diesel, petrol/electric hybrid and diesel/electric hybrid, with a slick 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission fitted as standard across the engine range. The petrol and diesel-powered models are available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (4MATIC) format, with the petrol/electric and diesel/electric plug-in hybrid versions available solely in rear-wheel drive. Trim grades consist of Avantgarde Plus, Exclusive Plus, and AMG Line Plus in petrol and diesel models, while AMG Line Plus trim is the sole trim grade available with the plug-in hybrid powertrain models.

Designed To Impress: Inside & Out.

The new E-Class incorporates styling cues from the larger S-Class and EQ-badged electric models, with its long bonnet, well-defined boot lid and smooth lines providing it with a dynamic and undeniable family resemblance. An illuminated radiator grille, LED high-performance headlights, and split taillights (with a distinctive three-pointed star design) provide the exterior of the car with innovative dynamism, especially in the dark. With an overall length of 4,950mm, the E-Class is only marginally shorter than its closest rival, the new BMW 5-Series, and its 2,961mm wheelbase results in terrific cabin space for up to 5 occupants. The luxuriously-appointed cabin in the new E-Class is also inspired by the S-Class, and it comes with lots of standard equipment across all trim grades. Mercedes’ terrific MBUX infotainment system is supremely intuitive, and most of the interface is the same as that found in other modern Mercedes-Benz cars, so almost everything is controlled via a big screen, with a row of physical shortcut buttons providing access to driving modes and vehicle settings. The advanced voice control feature is of great benefit to activate functions that might otherwise require scrolling though menus, and all it takes is a simple “Hey Mercedes” command to start things off. Boot space in the new E-Class Saloon is a respectable 540-litres, and its flat floor, electric releases for the rear seats, and a little extra space under the floor provide it with a decent level of practicality. The new E-Class Saloon can tow an unbraked trailer up to 750kg, and this increases to an impressive 2,100kg for a braked trailer.

Test Car.

My new E 220 D Exclusive Plus Saloon test car was finished in elegant Graphite Grey metallic paintwork, with contrasting Macchiato Beige Leather upholstery (optional extra). Key standard Exclusive Plus specification includes LED high-performance headlights, multifunction steering wheel in Wood/Nappa leather, Parking Package with 360-degree camera, pedestrian protection, Smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay & Android Auto), automatic climate control, wireless charging, MBCONNECT extended connectivity Plus, MBUX augmented reality for navigation, MBUX multimedia system, Memory Package, emergency call system, Keyless-Go, folding rear seat backrests, driver camera, driver display, Comfort Seats, 14.4-inch central display with LCD technology and haptic feedback, Blind Spot Assist, Agility Control suspension, DISTRONIC, PARKTRONIC, 4-way lumbar support, 19-inch alloy wheels, Mercedes’ star mounted on the bonnet, open-pore black ash wood centre console, radiator trim with louvres in chrome, and a macchiato beige fabric roof liner, along with many more comfort, convenience, safety and infotainment features befitting of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The refined and torquey 2.0-litre diesel engine is well suited to the smooth and responsive nine-speed automatic transmission, resulting in effortless progress on every journey. The engine is boosted by a variable-geometry turbocharger, and is assisted by a 48V mild-hybrid system which takes load off the engine and helps smooth its power delivery. A 23bhp electric motor is located between the engine and the gearbox to act as a starter-generator, and this set-up also provides an additional 205Nm of torque on demand. This is in addition to the 197bhp and 440Nm of torque produced by the 1,993cc 4-cylinder internal combustion engine. As a result, the car can complete a 0-100km/h sprint in just 7.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 238km/h (where permitted). The four-link front suspension is complemented by a five-link set up at the rear, and this provides occupants with a calm and serene ride quality. The dampers are frequency-selective, and they firm up with low-frequency inputs, such as body roll, and they soften off with high-frequency inputs on rougher road surfaces. The car handles with terrific enthusiasm, and the quick steering is impressive when manoeuvring in and out of tight parking spaces. A well-judged variable steering ratio provides drivers with a  remarkable turning circle of just 11.6-metres, allowing for just 2.2 turns lock to lock. The steering weighs up progressively through corners so that the car feels well planted when traversing sharp corners and tight bends on back roads. The E 220 D Saloon is a truly excellent car to drive and, with fuel consumption as low as 4.8l/100km on a WLTP combined driving cycle, it should prove itself to be easy on the pocket too. An emission figure of 129g/km results in annual road tax of just €200.

Verdict & Price.

The new Mercedes-Benz E 220 D Saloon is a hugely capable, and highly desirable, executive car that provides occupants with outstanding refinement and comfort, irrespective of the journey undertaken. Buyers are sure to be impressed by the good choice of powertrain and trim options in the new E-Class, along with a host of individual optional extras and packs for ultimate personalisation. Pricing for the E 220 D Saloon start at €81,185 in Avantgarde Plus trim, with my test car specification priced from €84,495 (excluding delivery, and optional extras fitted).

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