Mercedes-Benz E220

CDI SE Saloon

Mercedes E-Class, interior
Mercedes E-Class, action
Mercedes E-Class, front
Mercedes E-Class, side
Mercedes E-Class, rear

IF ever there was a car designed to keep you in a comfort zone, the Mercedes E-Class is it.

Even when pushed to the limit there's probably more strain visible in a sleeping sloth than this Mercedes-Benz beauty.

The E220 CDI reaches new levels of relaxation with a ride designed to cosset no matter what is thrown at it. While powerful, with a 0-62mph of a shade over eight seconds, it is designed make life as easy as possible for the driver requiring a stress-free journey home following a hard day at the executive coal-face.

It even has a variety of alerts transmitted audibly or through a vibrating steering wheel should you have drifted off or not be paying attention to the motoring world around you.

The fact they still buzz and tremble even when you're wide awake is slightly irritating - but the heart of this German saloon is in the right place.

Nothing is left off the safety-first list as stability control and an outstanding nine airbags are also included on the roster.

The options menu contains some tasty additions such as a city-braking system that halts the car from low speeds if it senses there's going to be a crash, and headlights that can be left on main beam permanently without dazzling other drivers.

The executives who will fork out the £30,000-plus to buy this car will also love it for the decent fuel consumption and tax-reducing low levels of carbon dioxide emissions boasted by the oil burner under the bonnet.

There are more sporty executive saloons out there but few will be as easy to get along with on the motorway or as practical when it comes to family weekends away.

That's not to say it is boring to drive as there is a decent amount of grip and the steering is well-weighted so the E-Class is no slouch on country roads.

But you're unlikely to annoy the locals by roaring through a village as even if there's a desire to rush you will do it with hush.

The cabin is spacious and the boot is roomy so easily able to swallow a family's luggage or the executive golf bags and trolleys.

There are plenty of cubby holes, including door pockets front and rear, and a front centre arm-rest with a deep storage compartment and natty two-part lid.

The SE version gets lots of kit including a snazzy satellite navigation system, automatic climate control, cruise control, heated and electrically adjustable seats, leather-effect interior, a classy radio/CD system, Bluetooth connectivity and USB input.

The controls take a bit of getting used to as the seven-speed automatic gearbox is operated off a stalk next to the steering wheel while the wipers and indicators are located on another stalk.

You don't need Stephen Hawking-like intelligence to operate this Mercedes, but with a foot-operated parking brake and various on-screen menus to deal with via a central dial, the overall effect is much like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time until everything becomes automatic.

Once it is you can sit back and enjoy as the E220 CDI is a refined saloon that enhances the brand's long tradition of comfortable executive motors.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI SE Saloon

Price: £33,920

Mechanical: 170bhp, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 141mph

0-62mph: 8.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9 

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 128g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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