The E 220d – winner of our luxury midsize sedan comparison test in 2017 and current segment bestseller – was in no need of an update. It shook-up the segment by offering a longer wheelbase and a pair of sumptuous 37-degree reclining back seats; then combined that with cushy ride quality, a good engine and top-notch interior quality – and it wasn’t even the most expensive car in the class.
Speaking of the drive, not much has changed with this diesel engine. It remains one of the smoother and more refined engines in its class (in fact, it proved slightly quieter compared to the BS-IV version when tested against our equipment) and isn’t rev-happy or racy like the one in the BMW 520d or Jaguar XF. If there is a change, however, it’s that some of that mid-range punch you would get before is now gone. The results show in the performance figures. At 9.24sec, it’s about 0.4sec slower from 0-100kph this time around, and the gap is similar in kickdown acceleration. The 194hp and 400Nm of torque are still all there; it’s just that they come on a little more gently this time. The dynamics also remain unchanged, with a steering that’s surprisingly quick and sharp, but with a suspension that’s soft and wallowy – great at low speeds but a little bouncy as you go faster.
These changes have come at a price, though. At Rs 62.50 lakh (ex-showroom), this E 220d Exclusive is Rs 4 lakh more expensive than the regular Expression variant (BS-6 engine but none of the added gizmos) and is now the most expensive car in the class. While it is more expensive than a BMW 520d, however, it’s still Rs 1.4 lakh cheaper than the equivalent 620d GT, a car which is arguably a closer rival. Would you pay the premium, though? It may not get you a six-cylinder engine or anything close to driving thrills, but given the back seat is really the focus of such a car – and that’s where the focus has been kept – it still remains the car to beat.