It's smooth at idle, responsive enough in traffic and has enough pace to hold high speeds easily on the highway. Meet the Mercedes-Benz E200 CGI. It's the recently launched E-class with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-charged, direct injection petrol motor. These engine specs equate to a healthy 184bhp and 30.6kgm of torque and that measures up well with the base BMW 520i that makes an identical power figure but less torque.
The E200's performance left us wanting little. Driving in Mumbai's traffic, it responds smartly to small throttle inputs (mostly because it makes peak torque from an ultra-low 1200rpm) and pulls in a linear manner to the higher reaches of its rev range. It does so in such a smooth and unobtrusive manner, the engine remaining a mostly silent source of power right until it's close to the 6500rpm redline. The fact that it is more silent (and smoother) than the E250 CDI might be a clincher for those who believe their luxury cars must be very refined.
Then there's Merc's seven-speed automatic that shifts smoothly and unobtrusively and, for once, is pretty obedient to paddleshift commands when you feel like taking more control of the gearbox.
The only minor blemish is that it doesn't feel as effortless at higher speeds as its diesel cousin and that's down to the petrol being about 20kgm of torque down on the diesel. It's why the E200's 0-100kph time of 9.4sec is just over a second slower than the diesel's.
The E200, like its diesel cousin, rides really well. It rounds off imperfections and blemishes with ease and it’s only the sharper edges that thump through. It's only at high speeds that there's a tad more body movement than we would have liked, especially over raised expansion joints.
It's not a big issue and the pliant ride, the smooth engine and the overall cabin insulation gives you a sense of well being.
This car had some really nice touches to the interiors as well. We loved the matt-finished slab of wood that divides the upper and lower sections of the dashboard. There's more of the stuff to be found on the centre console bordered by high-quality brushed aluminium and we like the classy analogue clock between the air-conditioning vents.
The rest of the E200 remains the same as the diesel we tested a couple of months ago. There's that same sense of solidity to the whole car, the rear seats remain the best in class and the exteriors remain fresh and attractive.
The E200 is pretty well equipped -- there's all the basic stuff you expect -- Bluetooth connectivity, powered front seats, electric steering adjust, Pre-Safe, parking sensors, eight airbags and three-zone climate control. It, however, doesn't have the same equipment levels as the E250 CDI Launch Edition we tested recently. The E-class available in showrooms now doesn't get the panoramic sunroof (although there is a regular sized one), gets a smaller screen for the COMAND system and there's no reverse camera or satellite navigation.
All of which means the E200 CGI costs Rs 41.73 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) which is Rs 3 lakh less than the diesel and that, by any standard of luxury, makes it worth a look.
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