May 26, 2012

Auto 2013 - Mercedes E220 CDI

What is it? The base diesel engine variant of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class

THE MERCEDES-BENZ E250 CDI and newer E220 CDI look identical. And contrary to what Mercedes’ naming system would have you believe, they even share the same 2.2-litre diesel engine. The difference lies in its state of tune - The E220 CDI's power output of 170bhp is 33bhp less than the E250 CDI. But does that detract from the 220’s appeal? Auto 2013

Not really. You won’t notice the power deficit in most driving scenarios. There is more than ample power for typical city driving and performance is actually quite brisk. What also makes the engine very likeable is the predictable build of speed. The power is spread evenly and its linear delivery is very easy to get used to. This  also makes the E220 CDI a relaxed cruiser and an able mile-muncher.

Mercedes has kept things simple, so you can’t adjust engine and gearbox settings as you can on the Audi A6 and BMW 520d. Also, the E220 CDImakes do with an old-school five-speed automatic. As you'd expect, the gearbox feels a bit slow and is most comfortable when you are not trying to extract maximum performance from the engine.

Also, owners who drive themselves will not find the experience all that engaging. While the steering is well weighted for the urban grind, it does not offer much feel. However, there is still a fluidity with which the car changes direction and this inspires a lot of confidence at high speeds.

It is also at higher speeds that another E-class strength comes shining through and that is its flat ride. Expansion joints and other road undulations are dispatched with minimal noise, and vertical movements are always well contained. On the flipside, the E220 CDI feels slightly stiff at city speeds, so sharp edges do filter through to the cabin.

The E-class may not be the newest car in town, but where it remains unbeaten is in rear-seat comfort. The seat is supportive, there is ample space and the large windows also make it feel very airy. Sadly, the rear air conditioner does not cool the cabin quickly enough and this has been a complaint we have had with the Eclass for long. The sharp idle clatter from the engine also breaks the tomb-like silence in the E-class’ cabin. In all other areas, the E220 is identical to its more powerful stablemates. So what you get is a traditional dashboard, smart detailing and solid build quality.

The E220 CDI is targeted at those who want a big luxury car but don’t feel the need to indulge in a big engine. It is slightly more fuel efficient and just as comfortable as the more powerful E250 CDI, while retailing for a significant Rs 3.2 lakh cheaper. And for that the E220 CDI makes a great deal of sense.

Auto 2013

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