The E 220d – winner of our luxury midsize sedan comparison test in 2017 and current segment bestseller – was in no need of an update. It shook-up the segment by offering a longer wheelbase and a pair of sumptuous 37-degree reclining back seats; then combined that with cushy ride quality, a good engine and top-notch interior quality – and it wasn’t even the most expensive car in the class.
The main reason for the update was to bring it in line with Mercedes’ commitment to making all its cars BS6-compliant as soon as possible. So, like the C-class and CLS, it now gets the updated version of the OM654 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) unit, and an AdBlue dosing tank so it can run to BS6 emission standards even on today’s BS4 fuel. The E 200 petrol has also been updated to BS6, but the 3.0-litre, V6-powered E 350d has been dropped for now (it could return later with the S-class’ BS6-compliant straight-six).
Engine remains smooth and refined, but is slightly slower now.
But that’s not all. They’ve used this opportunity to add a new ‘Exclusive’ variant above the ‘Expression’ variant (formerly called Avantgarde). This adds a bit more equipment, which is always welcome. One much-missed item is now on the list – Merc’s brilliant 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster; it’s arguably the best screen in the business and a vast improvement on the old analogue dials, which looked like an afterthought in the E-class. Other bits include the 590W, 13-speaker Burmester Hi-Fi audio system from the E 350d, soft-close doors all around, wireless charging at the rear and even a touchscreen in the rear armrest that controls everything, from the air-con, to the music, to the sun blinds. One bit of equipment we wish was included was a memory function for the powered front seats; yes, the back seats are the focus of this car – and the back seats do, in fact, have a memory function, but we still feel the driver(s) would find more use for it.
Speaking of the drive, not much has changed with this diesel engine. It remains one of the smoother and more refined engines in its class (in fact, it proved slightly quieter compared to the BS-IV version when tested against our equipment) and isn’t rev-happy or racy like the one in the BMW 520d or Jaguar XF. If there is a change, however, it’s that some of that mid-range punch you would get before is now gone. The results show in the performance figures. At 9.24sec, it’s about 0.4sec slower from 0-100kph this time around, and the gap is similar in kickdown acceleration. The 194hp and 400Nm of torque are still all there; it’s just that they come on a little more gently this time. The dynamics also remain unchanged, with a steering that’s surprisingly quick and sharp, but with a suspension that’s soft and wallowy – great at low speeds but a little bouncy as you go faster.
These changes have come at a price, though. At Rs 62.50 lakh (ex-showroom), this E 220d Exclusive is Rs 4 lakh more expensive than the regular Expression variant (BS-6 engine but none of the added gizmos) and is now the most expensive car in the class. While it is more expensive than a BMW 520d, however, it’s still Rs 1.4 lakh cheaper than the equivalent 620d GT, a car which is arguably a closer rival. Would you pay the premium, though? It may not get you a six-cylinder engine or anything close to driving thrills, but given the back seat is really the focus of such a car – and that’s where the focus has been kept – it still remains the car to beat.
Back seat remains the biggest E-class draw, thanks to big sunroof and plush 37-degree reclining chairs with memory function.
2019 Mercedes E-Class E 220d image gallery
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