New Merc E Class: Polar stars

Published On September 26, 2008 By at Gaadi

Mercedes_E_classMercedes has launched two new variats in its E Class offering- E220 and E230 CDI. Earlier Mercedes E280 CDI did not have an electric arrangement for the fore and aft movement of the driver’s seat. Now the car company has introduced a fully adjustable driver’s seat in the new E230 and E220 CDI as well as the older E280 CDI and E280 variants of the E-class.

The real change in the car, though, is not the electrification of the longitudinal movement of the driver’s seat, but the introduction of two new engines. The new diesel and petrol mills have been introduced in a bid to make the luxury and comfort of the E-class more accessible to the discerning patrons of the three-pointed star. While the objective seems to have been attained with clinical precision with the diesel variant, I have my doubts regarding the approach working too well for the petrol version.

The 2497cc, naturally aspirated V6 petrol employed in the E230 is a new engine. It replaces the supercharged 1796cc mill and produces 204PS of power, about 44PS more than the outgoing engine. Peak torque is up by 24Nm to 245 units now. Sounds good on paper, but as suggested by our road test figures, the performance gain is not very significant over the older Kompressor mill.

Mercedes_E_classFuel efficiency too seems to have taken a hit on the new car. With a 0-100km/h sprint time of 11.25sec and a fuel efficiency of 8.5kmpl, the E230 is less than a second quicker with a reduced economy of 1.5km per litre of fuel as compared to the car it replaces. And that’s after paying a big Rs 5 lakh premium over the E200K. As evident, even with a bigger, more powerful engine and a few new features, the tangible advantages don’t appear to be too significant, especially after considering the huge price difference.

While the idea of replacing the E200K with the E230 doesn’t really impress us too much, the introduction of the E220 CDI is a really smart move. The 2148cc turbocharged diesel engine earlier seen on the C220 CDI (and on the previous E-class before that!) has now found a place under the bonnet of the current E-class. The engine doesn’t get Mercedes’ superb 7G – Tronic tranny, but even with a five speed auto transmission, it puts the petrol E230 (mated with the 7G-Tronic) to shade, and by a good margin.

The 0-100km/h sprint is done in 9.38sec, a measly 0.8sec more than the E280 CDI, and the car is less than three seconds slower to the 0-160km/h sprint. The top speed is lower, but you’d rarely push this sort of a car to those speeds. At 11.75kmpl, the fuel efficiency of the new car is marginally better than the E280 CDI too. What comes as an icing on the cake is that the new diesel variant is about Rs 5 lakh cheaper than its bigger brother and comes equally well equipped.

There is also a brand new Park Assist System that has an array of lights above the centre console as a part of the unit. It comprises of LEDs that light up on detecting proximity with objects.

Mercedes_E_classOn the outside, the E-class now has bi-xenon headlamps with cleaning equipment to flush the collected muck off and keep your way bright even in the rains. Some much less expensive cars in India feature bi-xenon headlamps, and the absence of the same on the E was quite bewildering. We had cribbed about the issue earlier, and though we are not sure whether it contributed to the inclusion of the new feature, we welcome the change. Apart from the new headlamps, the E220 CDI and the E230 badging on the boot lid are the only other changes on the exterior.

The two new cars are poles apart when it comes to their approach in dealing with the requirements of Mercedes’ customers. While the E220 CDI comes across as a practical, more economical option when compared to the E280 CDI, the E230 is much more expensive than the car that it replaces. Both cars offer trademark Mercedes performance and refinement though, and are great additions to the E-class line up which now offers you the widest range of engines to choose from in the luxury segment. We’re quite sure this is the last change Mercedes has made to its existing E-class before launching the much awaited next-generation E-class next year!

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