Pop­u­lar badge packs an all-new mo­tor

Car India - - CONTENTS - Story: Jim Gorde Pho­tog­ra­phy: San­jay Raikar

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

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