MERCEDES E220d SE 9G-Tronic
The tenth generation executive Mercedes Benz brings significant improvements in performance and luxury.
The MERCEDES E220d comes in SE and AMG trim levels. It uses Mercedes’ new 194bhp four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, and a nine-speed transmission, replacing the seven-speed of the old E.
Estate versions joined the range at the end of 2016. The EŽ20d SE doesn’t quite manage to hit the 99g/km C02 level it emits 102g/km. A Plug-In Hybrid petrol-electric E350e version will follow.
The E-Class looks smoother than its predecessor, with a look of Mercedes S-Class about the exterior. The grille, is bolder and the traditional “gunsight” grille is back as an option. Compared with its predecessor, its wheelbase has grown by 65mm and overall length is 43mm greater. This gives an extra 6mm of knee room in the rear. Boot space is the same at 540 litres.
Inside, the Mercedes E-Class has adopted the wide-screen, “floating” digital double-panel from the S-Class, complete with ambient lighting in a choice of 64 colours. Satnav graphics are extremely crisp; the central 12.3in screen covers the, mapping while driving information is on the same sized customisable screen in front of the driver.
On the road, the four-cylinder diesel is extremely smooth and well-insulated. There’s very little noticeable engine noise. Ride can be configured to Sport. Comfort or Eco. Adaptive cruise control is now part of a suite of systems called Drive Pilot. This includes a speed limit resognition system that reads road signs via a camera and immediately sets the cruise control to the maximum on the sign.
It can also follow lanes round corners without driver input. The car automatically steers, tracking the car in front, even if there are no lane markings. In traffic jams, Distronic stays engaged for 30sec after you’ve stopped, re-engaging the moment the car in front moves off. Mercedes E Class economy performance of 43.5mpg at 30mph was some way short of the claimed 72.4mpg, but a big improvement on the old E220d last tested in 2013 (39.4mpg at 30mph).
The Mercedes Benz E Class estate has a typically Mercedes roof line a gently descending slope at the rear, which makes the back doors taller and helps with rear seat access. The load area is very acceptable 540 litres below the load cover, with a wide, flat lip and a deep space 1,175mm from tailgate to the seat backs. The rear load cover is attached to the electric tailgate and raises when the door is opened.
MERCEDES BENZ E50e SE
Mercedes-Benz’s latest E-Class hasn’t disappointed, but many chauffeur operators didn’t like the fact that the E300 BlueTec Hybrid version was no longer part of the new range.
In its place comes the E350e. This ditches diesel and instead combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, together with a plug-in hybrid system, offering a claimed 21 miles of pure electric range.
Professional Driver tested the Benz car with and without recharging. With careful driving, it’s possible to have around 40% of your total miles delivered electrically, with the engine off even on a fully discharged main battery.
This is because the E350e is very good at topping itself up when it’s on the move. On test, starting with a full charge but without recharging, we covered 558 of which 203 miles were delivered by battery 36% of the total. Fuel economy was 37.6mpg. Some way short of the 43.5mpg we achieved in the E220d.
If you really want to get the benefit of the plug-in system, you need to plug it in regularly. And that doesn’t fit the work pattern of the typical chauffeur.
Boot space is compromised you get just 400 litres in the Mercedes Benz E350e compared with 540 in the Mercedes Benz E220d. The floor is a good deal shallower, and it has a notable step. You can still accommodate three cases, but you’ve also got to find room for not one but two charge cables, which come in neat little bags. Mercedes E350e offers a level cabin noise that is way better than its diesel sibling. The loudest sound is road noise, with only a small amount of engine noise on overtaking or brisk acceleration. What you do feel is the extra weight of the battery pack and electric motor. Mercedes E350e is around 250kg heavier than Mercedes E220d, and you notice the greater bulk when cornering.