Fewer fumes from frugal new Merc

Big cars with small engines are appealing in many ways and the new Euro4 emissions-compliant Mercedes E 220 CDI is no exception.

The revised engine has reduced nitrous oxide and particulate emissions to meet the new regulations, but a slightly higher CO2 output (up from 177 to 188g/km, but still impressive). The Merc is now two company car tax bands lower, which means a saving of about £10 per month for a 40 per cent tax payer.

On the motorway, this 150bhp car is only just fast enough. Overtaking, especially uphill, isn’t as rapid as you’d like, but the four-cylinder engine’s healthy torque (251lb ft) shifts this big barge along with an acceptable gentle waft.

On a long motorway run, cruising quickly, we averaged an easy 37.9mpg, giving the car a range of over 400 miles. It’s a quiet, comfortable and relaxing cruiser, with very little engine, road or wind noise. Like most Mercs, it has tremendous directional stability at speed, and around town the suspension soaks up road imperfections with aplomb, even if the steering is typically Mercedes-lifeless and the engine can sound a little harsh.

At £31,855, the cleaner E 220 CDI Euro 4 Avantgarde is far from cheap, but it’s well equipped and will hold its value better than most of its competitors. Best of all, it has a classy image most of those rivals would kill for.

Bill Thomas

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