Cruise in com­fort

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

THE best pair of shoes I’ve ever owned fit­ted like slip­pers the mo­ment I put them on – and now I’ve found the motoring equiv­a­lent. Push the ig­ni­tion but­ton in the Mercedes-Benz E220 d 4MATIC AMG Line Es­tate, en­gage drive and feel im­me­di­ately at home.

The ex­te­rior is classy, the in­te­rior bet­ter than my lounge with a plethora of mod cons de­signed to cater to your ev­ery motoring whim.

Cos­seted in the sump­tu­ous heated seats – which are elec­tri­cally-ad­justable with me­mory set­tings – you cruise along the road in some style with ev­ery hump and hol­low smoothed out.

Yes, this es­tate’s 2.0-litre diesel en­gine – linked to a seam­less nine­speed au­to­matic gear­box – can power you from a standing start to 62mph in 7.8 sec­onds on its way to a top speed of 145mph. But I defy you to feel the urge to press the pedal to metal – it’s just not that type of mo­tor. In­stead you glide along in a co­coon in­su­lat­ing you from the stresses and strains of mod­ern motoring.

If you do fancy be­ing a bit more en­er­getic then there are pad­dle shifts be­hind the steer­ing wheel for man­ual gear changes and a Dy­namic Se­lect op­tion that al­lows you to choose Sport, Sport+ and In­di­vid­ual driv­ing modes as well as Eco and Com­fort modes.

This ver­sion of the E-Class Es­tate fea­tures Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive so when win­ter comes you won’t be stuck slith­er­ing around in the ice and snow as the sys­tem can con­cen­trate on any wheel that loses trac­tion.

In olden times em­ploy­ing this type of tech­nol­ogy used to hit fuel econ­omy, but the 4x4 E-Class – manag­ing an av­er­age claimed fig­ure of 57.7mpg – is al­most as cheap to run as the model driven by two wheels and emits 137g/ km of car­bon diox­ide.

Its other ben­e­fit is the amount of grip it makes avail­able, as the E 220 d 4MATIC es­tate feels planted on the road giv­ing the driver con­fi­dence to at­tack cor­ners with gusto. It’s not de­signed for off-road­ing though so don’t take it into any ploughed fields. But drive it on-road and you will ex­pe­ri­ence ride and han­dling that are sub­lime with a level of re­fine­ment not seen since ac­tor David Niven was strut­ting his stuff in Hol­ly­wood.

The 4MATIC AMG Line Es­tate doesn’t thrust its all-wheel drive ca­pa­bil­ity in your face as there is only a badge on the bootlid to show its pedi­gree. In­stead it re­lies on mak­ing an im­pres­sion through sleek lines, chrome roof rails, 20-inch al­loy wheels, eye-catch­ing AMG bodystyling, natty LED day­time run­ning lights and a neat grille fea­tur­ing the iconic Mercedes badge.

Once you’ve fin­ished ad­mir­ing the ex­te­rior, the cabin wel­comes you with an air of so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

The star of the show is a dis­play screen that ri­vals my tele­vi­sion for width show­ing var­i­ous read­outs ac­cord­ing to what you want to see. Other high tech good­ies in­clude sat nav and full smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity via An­droid Auto and Ap­ple CarPlay.

You might think that a car mea­sur­ing al­most five me­tres in length would be a bit of a chore to park – but sen­sors front and rear, a cam­era and an ex­cel­lent turn­ing cir­cle en­sure this is not the case. The in­te­rior is light and airy thanks to big win­dows, a panoramic sun­roof and dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, while am­bi­ent light­ing of­fer­ing 64 dif­fer­ent op­tions en­sures a re­lax­ing at­mos­phere.

There is am­ple head, leg and shoul­der room for five adults while the cav­ernous boot eas­ily caters for their lug­gage.

The SUV march to world dom­i­na­tion has pro­ceeded apace over the past few years – but for those seek­ing a classy, fam­ily-friendly op­tion Mercedes’ E-Class four-wheel drive es­tate is just the job.

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