What is it?
This is the new Mercedes E250 CDI SE BlueEfficiency, the big-selling version of the new E-class. It is the one car Mercedes has traditionally relied upon to boost its bottom line. But after more than a decade of niggling quality problems, the E-class’s once-glittering image has become somewhat tarnished.
No surprise, then, that Mercedes is talking up the perceived robustness of the new model – the W212 as it is known internally – describing it has the toughest E-class of all time. It is a bold claim.
Diesel engines traditionally make up 90 per cent of E-class sales in the UK, so it is the 201bhp twin-turbo E250 CDI SE BlueEfficiency, the most powerful of the two 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesels in the E-class range, that we test here.
What’s it like?
The Mercedes E250 CDI SE BlueEfficiency could never really be described as a performance car. Still, with a 0-62mph time of 7.2sec (auto), it is encouragingly quick off the line and, with a prodigious 368lb ft of torque arriving at just 1600rpm, gathers speed with enthusiasm.
Once the initial rush subsides, the E250 CDI SE BlueEfficiency settles into its stride with a less frantic – but still convincing – degree of shove all the way to the 5000rpm red line.
For all this, the E250 CDI’s best work is done while cruising on part throttle. At a constant 75mph, the E250 CDI is barely pulling 2000rpm in fifth gear. And it does this while returning a claimed 47.1mpg in automatic guise which, in turn, provides it with CO2 emissions of 159g/km.
There is, however, a curious weak point in the E250 CDI’s driveline. Mercedes has decided, presumably for cost reasons, to provide all four-cylinder diesel versions of the new E-class with its old five-speed automatic gearbox.
It is an odd move, given the clear focus placed on fuel economy and emissions with the new car. It ultimately fails to operate in quite the same crisp and intuitive fashion as the more modern seven-speed automatic offered on other E-class models.