The E-Class is the most important car for Mercedes. Its classically German combination of build quality, refinement and good-looks makes it a favourite with long-distance drivers, but this latest generation adds cutting-edge technology from further up the Mercedes stable. The 220d - the most popular engine for Britain - is a continuation of what makes the E-Class so popular.
At first glance this handsome saloon represents a natural progression from what the E-Class has always been, but it goes much further than that. It's the fifth generation - ignoring the several decades of ancestral models that came before the first proper 'E-Class' appeared in the early Nineties - and one of the most technologically advanced cars that Mercedes has ever produced.
The Mercedes E-Class is now one of the many upmarket cars that offer a degree of 'self-driving' ability, with limited autonomy available on motorways. Combined with Car-to-X technology, this constitutes the beginning of a new era of motoring. However, even in this Mercedes, the technology is very much in its embryonic stages.
More useable everyday are upgraded headlights, which can detect oncoming traffic adjust the direction of the beam so minutely that main beam will no longer dazzle other road users. Even more spectacular is the ability to park and manoeuvre your car at very low speeds using your phone, while standing outside. A potentially helpful feature for buyers with small garages.
An impressive hybrid version of the E-Class will be available, but it's the 220d that will be most common in the UK. The new OM 654 engine produces 195hp and 400Nm of torque, while emitting 102g/km of CO2. This level of frugality is impressive considering the size and interior opulence of the E-Class.
Our verdict on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class 220d
Mercedes set out to build a comfortable and efficient long-distance cruiser, and succeeded. The E-Class is one of the most comfortable cars currently on the market, and comes with a raft of safety features. Competitors from BMW and Audi are more engaging to drive, but the E-Class beats them on handling, tech, and - arguably - looks.