Mercedes-Benz E 220d

AMG Line

Mercedes-Benz E220 d, nose
Mercedes-Benz E220 d, front
Mercedes-Benz E220 d, side, left
Mercedes-Benz E220 d
Mercedes-Benz E220 d, rear
Mercedes-Benz E220 d, side
Mercedes-Benz E220 d, interior
Mercedes-Benz E220 d, boot

ITS model range might have expanded massively but I still think of Mercedes-Benz as a manufacturer of both classy and timeless saloons and stylish and sought-after sports cars.

Forget the hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs, to me this is very much what Mercedes' bread and butter is and its ability to deliver both over the decades has surely contributed to it staying on top of its game.

Perhaps not surprisingly its mid-range E-Class saloon is the German car maker's biggest seller to date, notching up more than 13 million sales globally since it first broke cover in 1993.

An all-new model was unveiled earlier this year and as an all-round package delivers an impressive punch.

Very occasionally Mercedes' designers go a bit off-piste and come up with something that's unappealing but by and large they have a habit of getting things absolutely spot-on.

The latest E-Class is a case in point. Looking across the current range those designers seem to be firing on all cylinders at the moment and the E-Class is a true embodiment of that.

Aping the rounded and svelte looks of the larger S-Class and smaller C-Class it's a well-proportioned car that scores highly in the desirability stakes.

With a longer wheelbase than its predecessor it looks just a tad more stately and the real-world benefit of that is that rear seat passengers benefit from an abundance of legroom. While the E-Class has never been lacking in this respect the extra space is instantly noticeable.

The interior is impressively done out and the dashboard layout benefits from a more simplified S-Class inspired approach.

Four circular air vents dominate the centre and there's an array of switches that are easy to navigate your way around.

Other than that the familiar rotary wheel on the transmission tunnel controls the infotainment system and all its associated functions.

It's generally pretty straightforward to use though could perhaps benefit from being a little bit more intuitive.

One interior touch I liked was some purple ambient lighting which flowed from the dashboard and around the sides of the car, doing much to create a calm and welcoming environment.

As well as design similarities, one of the perennial big selling points of the E-Class is that it always gets some of the technology that's trickled down from the S-Class.

This is still the case and this car was nothing short of a technological tour de force but interestingly some of the impressive tech is actually making its debut on the E-Class, such as Mercedes' Drive Pilot and the ability to park the car remotely via a smartphone.

Drive Pilot, a pretty advanced driver assistance system, demonstrates just how autonomous vehicle technology being developed is increasingly entering the real world and though not all models have the remote parking capability even an entry-level SE model offers self-parking.

SE buyers also get sat-nav, climate and cruise control, a reversing camera, LED headlights, Active Brake Assist, keyless go, DAB and heated seats.

The trim level choice is a simple one - SE and AMG Line and engine-wise there's a choice between 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre diesel engines, a 2.0-litre petrol/electric hybrid and a 3.0-litre V6 petrol unit.

The new 2.0-litre diesel unit represents a real step up from the old 2.1-litre unit which powered the E-Class in every respect. It's more refined, more powerful, far more efficient and cleaner.

It's mated to a super-smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox which is extremely easy to live with.

You can also select one of five driving modes which range from eco to sport+, with the differences being noticeably marked.

Sport+ gives the 2.0-litre engine a surprisingly aggressive edge. With suspension settings altered accordingly it means this otherwise sedate saloon goes around corners rather well.

The ride quality is adjusted accordingly in eco or comfort mode meaning it also soaks up the lumps and bumps in true Mercedes style and rides beautifully.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz E 220d AMG Line

Price: £38,430

Mechanical: 194ps, 1,950cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 7.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 112g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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