It has infotainment, too. It has infotainment coming out of its ears. The all-singing, all-dancing displays for this are also optional – there are a lot of options for it to feel über-swish, unfortunately – but if you spec them, this feels every inch a junior S-Class.
The controls are sensible. There’s no touchscreen, which is fine, and there are two large control pads on the transmission tunnel. Usually, that would take up precious space that you’d want for cupholders and such, but the E-Class’s gearlever is on a column stalk, thus allowing the turnable, pressable knob, plus the multi-function pad above it – you can write on it, or you can press it – the space they need to work.
And if you’re looking at that pad and thinking that you might press it inadvertently if you rest your wrist on it, you’re having the same thoughts that Mercedes’ engineers did. If you push it with your wrist, nothing happens. Two fingers, three, four, a clenched fist: nothing happens. But press on it with one diddy finger, when you want to do something, and it responds. Perhaps witchcraft is at work.
Anyway, here lies one of my gripes. The system pairs, straight away, with my phone. Apple CarPlay begins and gives me my music immediately. But should I want to use the nav, too – and there’s every chance I will – the Mercedes, inexplicably, locks out its own navigation system and only opens Apple Maps, which I don’t use. Perhaps there’s a way around it, but the internet suggests not.
Still, small gripe. Oh, yes, that other one. This Mercedes is an E220d 4Matic, which means it has a 191bhp 2.0-litre diesel that drives all four wheels (with a 45:55 front-to-rear power split) through a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Truth be told, most of the time, you wouldn’t know it was four-wheel drive at all. It just drives smoothly and elegantly and with the kind of soft ride that an E-Class should have.
And if you weren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t notice the binding of the four-wheel-drive system on full lock, which is only particularly prevalent on gravel anyway. But, then, the four-wheel-drive system does help me pull out of my driveway, and onto a busy road, because traction is brilliant. Swings and roundabouts.
Plus I’d feel more comfortable trying to pull things that weigh near the E’s 2100kg towing limit on grass with four-wheel drive.
With the options listed below, this E-Class weighs in at £52,820. It’s in AMG Line trim. Mercedes offers SE, too. An AMG Line is ostensibly more sporting but actually sportif in no way whatsoever. And that’s absolutely fine by me. This, so far, is proving a ridiculously easy car to live with. Matt Prior
As a videographer, I’m always getting my ear twisted by the road testers about carrying too much kit.
For a recent shoot in Snowdonia, I packed cameras, tripods, sliders, a jib… you get the point. Anyway, I didn’t even need to fold the E220d’s rear seats. Maybe I should buy a drone.