MERCEDES-BENZ E 220 d L
Popular badge packs an all-new motor
EVIL. PURE EVIL. BLACK-SMOKE-BELCHING, NOx-generating evil. Ask any green brigadier about a diesel car today and they would shun you like you carried the plague. Rewind to just a few years ago and the same environment-conscious flag-bearing general of Gaia would be song and praise about diesel and its low CO2. Clearly, NOx wasn’t a factor back then, except in automotive tests. How times change...
There was a time Mercedes gave the world its first diesel car, the 260 D. It had a 2.6-litre OHV four-pot contraption, with Bosch fuel-injection, that made 45 PS and let it touch 95 km/h. That was 80 years ago. Rudolph Diesel would never have imagined that something which attained a specific output of 18 PS/litre would eventually lead to something that could put out 100 PS/litre and more, while being injected at a force 2,500 times more than what our atmosphere could muster. That’s over 1,000 times your average tyre pressure.
What diesel was and what diesel is are two concepts from two different times. The new W213 E-Class marked the début of Mercedes’ all-new OM654 four-cylinder turbodiesel motor, an engine which aimed to rewrite the rulebooks of refinement and efficiency. The E 220 d L we have here packs that very engine, but with the added bonus of it being made right here in India. We’ve already experienced the potency of the V6 in the E 350 d, but what if a wave of torque isn’t what your doctor ordered? More importantly, what if you wanted a diesel longwheelbase E-Class but didn’t want to plonk down 70 big ones for it? That’s where the E 220 d steps in, and it makes quite an entry, too.
There’s not much apart really. They look identical, save for the different wheel-spoke design on similarly sized 17-inch wheels wrapped in 225/55 rubber. The LED
headlamps still glow, proudly bearing their stripes. The smart tail-lamp clusters and the swoopy profile still look stunning. Inside, the quality upholstery, reclining rear seats, three-zone automatic climate control, 12.3-inch split dash display, panoramic sunroof, and the choice of ambient lighting colour choices still remain. You’ll be just as spoiled, really. What’s different is the engine, with its two less cylinders, the steel suspension with no raising air springs, and a music system that doesn’t have fancy ‘B’ logos on the speakers.
Hit the starter button and the new four-cylinder motors to life. It’s more refined, yet it hums a familiar tune. The 9G-Tronic transmission drives the rear wheels and, together with its Dynamic Select shift programmes, makes quick work of mobilising that peak torque to convert it into quick acceleration.
Down 193 cc from its predecessor, the OM654 still puts out 194 PS and a useful 400 Nm of torque — matching the peak torque of the outgoing motor but bettering the peak power output. The E 220 d L, 1.8-tonne weight and all, gets from standstill to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds. It will go on to a claimed 240 km/h. However, it makes the experience a show of prowess.
The refinement levels are definitely up a notch and then some. The peak torque thunders strong as the digital needle approaches 2,000 rpm. It will go from 40 to 80 km/h in under four seconds, making highway overtaking manoeuvres a breeze. Yet, inside, there’s the sense of unruffled calm. It can corner too; the steel suspension with smart dampers making every undulation an unimportant side-show freak, sometimes with cut scenes. Again, this is more of a back-seat car. It’s stretched out so you can travel while doing just the same. The reclining seats together with the generous knee-room and those heavenly soft head-rest pillows make every trip, be it long or short, immensely comfortable.
Then there’s the other half of the equation: cost. First, acquisition. The E 220 d L is available from Rs 57.14 lakh (ex-showroom). Second, running. The new engine is extremely frugal, delivering 12 km/l in the city and 18 on the highway. That’s good for an overall 13.5 km/l; 3:1 city-to-highway. Factor in the 66-litre tank and that’s a range of 900 km — on one tank! Third, maintenance. The new service packages from Mercedes-Benz India start from just over Rs 76,000, and an ‘Advanced Assurance’ programme, from just over Rs 75,000, can offer an extended warranty for up to six years.
Needless to say, it’s a sensible car. It puts the ‘E’ in elegant and takes forward the class as well. It’s everything a modern executive luxury car should be, and, lest we forget, it carries one of the most revered badges, too. Mercedes have delivered.
This is more of a backseat car. It’s stretched out so you can travel while doing just the same
All-new under the covers: 1,950-cc four-pot will soon appear across most of the range
Unique design for the 17-inch wheels set it apart from the larger-engined 350
New-age split LED headlamps mark this one out as an E-Class
Neat LED tail-lamp cluster; badge one of only two signs setting the 220 d apart