What is it?
The newest iteration of one of what is arguably the most successful franchises in executive car history, the fifth-generation Mercedes E-Class. It is lighter, faster and more economical than the car it replaces, but it’s also packed with technology including various autonomous options that allow it to practically drive itself under certain circumstances.
The stand-out power unit at launch will be a new four-cylinder diesel engine, one that – in defiance of apparent logic – combines 191bhp with an official fuel economy figure of 72.4mpg and CO2 emissions of just 102g/km, presuming you’re prepared to make do with the smallest 17-inch wheels.
The new E-Class has grown compared to the previous model, with a 43mm increase in overall length to 4923mm and a 65mm wheelbase stretch (to 2939mm) improving space in the cabin. Despite that, the extensive use of high and ultra-high strength steel in the structure has reduced mass with the 220 d being around 100kg lighter than the previous W212 version, thanks in large part to its new all-alloy ‘OM654’ four-cylinder diesel engine. All versions will have a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and although only rear-drive is available in the UK at first, we will be getting the option of four-wheel driven 4-Matic versions.
Standard equipment in Blighty includes parking sensors with a reversing camera and self-parking function, navigation and all-around LED lighting. The E 220 d goes on sale in May, with the SE saloon costing £35,935 and the sportier AMG Line £38,430. The six-cylinder E 350d and hybrid E 350e (which uses a four-cylinder petrol engine) will follow later in the year, along with a full set of other variants.