Mercedes-Benz E 220 d (2024) review
Merc's new E-Class leans into tradition, but keeps one eye on the future.
Neil Briscoe
Neil Briscoe

Published on December 7, 2023

There are few things as reassuring in life as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class saloon. An E-Class is a sign of solidity, level-headedness and common sense. Does this new one change any of that? We try out a humble diesel model.

In the metal

Mercedes has attempted to give the new E-Class a hint of aggression at the front, with a black surround for the big, traditional grille but still the overall effect is as it has always been - the E-Class is rather like an S-Class, but scaled down: discreet, subtle, patrician. There are some neat design details, though. Check out the slim new rear lights which have a stylised three-pointed star motif.

There are more three-pointed stars in the grille; tiny ones that we lost count of, not even including the massive one in the centre. Mercedes is currently on a quest to make its famed logo a recurring signature on all of its cars. To see that taken to extremes, check out the recent CLA concept car. Thankfully here on the E-Class, some restraint has been shown.

Mind you, there are some dramatic touches, possibly to nab the attention of those who might otherwise be distracted by a sportier-looking BMW i5 or 5 Series - those big oval air intakes set low into the front bumper are quite striking, for example, as are the neatly-done power bulges in the bonnet.

Slip inside and the new E-Class's dashboard has been really well put together. You instantly sense the heft of the build quality. There are yet more three-pointed stars hurled about the place, with a flurry of backlit stars strewn across the passenger-side of the dashboard. In the middle is a new 14.4-inch touchscreen with haptic technology for the on-screen buttons. As with Mercedes' other MBUX screens, it's less confusing to use and easier to get along with than some others, helped by simple touches such as the climate control buttons always being fixed at the bottom of the display.

There are some new high-tech options, though. For a start, you can specify this new E-Class with the 'Superscreen'. That's not quite the same as the S-Class's 'Hyperscreen' which looks as if all three screens - driver's instrumentation, central infotainment and passenger-side display - are all one big unit. Rather the Superscreen leaves the 12.3-inch driver's instrument screen separate, up behind the wheel, and simply adds on an extra touchscreen for the front-seat passenger.

This seems a touch superfluous - isn't your passenger just going to use their own phone or tablet instead? Perhaps not - after all, Mercedes has included Zoom and Microsoft Teams conference calling apps in the software, and there's an in-car app store from which you can purchase more, including games such as Angry Birds.

There's also a new camera on top of the dash, facing into the cabin. This, Mercedes calls a 'selfie' camera, although that's not really its purpose. It can be used for those Zoom or Teams calls (when the E-Class is safely parked up of course), but it's also part of the driver drowsiness and attention monitoring system, as well as one of six interior cameras which have been added for remote security monitoring via the Mercedes phone app. That app will also allow you to use your phone as a digital key, and for cars shared among family members, or company users, the selfie camera also acts as facial recognition, automatically recalling the driver's preferences and settings.

The E-Class also gets artificial intelligence, of a sort. The E is able to learn your regular habits and patterns, so for example when it detects you're pulling into the office car park, it will automatically lower the driver's window so you can scan your entry tag. Or, on a cold day, it will remember that you like to turn up the cabin temp and switch on the heated seat, and do that for you as you walk up to the car.

In the back, there is comfort aplenty and there's a useful 540-litre boot out back.

On the engine front, the E-Class is at its most traditional, and there is still for now a clear demarcation line between it and the all-electric Mercedes EQE. The lineup starts with that very traditional E-Class powertrain, a 2.0-litre diesel in the E 220 d, and there's also a big straight-six 3.0-litre diesel in the E 450 d. You can also have an E 200 powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, or the E 450 powered by a straight-six 3.0-litre unit. All of those engines are turbocharged, and all have 'EQ' 48-volt mild-hybrid assist, which includes a 17kW, 205Nm electric motor.

And there are two plug-in hybrids - an E 300 e petrol, and an E 300 de diesel. Both can be fast-charged at a 50kW DC charging point, and both can manage more than 100km of electric range on a full charge, with the E 300 e petrol model stretching that to 114km.

Needless to say, given Mercedes' reputation, the E-Class is bristling with safety technology, and one of the neat new features is the projector lamp function of the front LED headlights. These can shine useful warning symbols onto the road in front of you, warning you of an upcoming yield junction, roadworks ahead, or even how close you're coming to a pedestrian walking along the verge.

Driving it

While it may sound a bit nineties to be discussing a big diesel saloon in 2023, the fact is that there is still a significant market for such a thing. Look at the Irish sales charts - the best-selling Hyundai Tucson is mostly bought as a diesel, for instance.

Climbing aboard the E 220 d, you kind of know what to expect and that's pretty much what the E-Class delivers. The engine catches and fires with a swift grumble, which soon eases as everything warms through. Performance is not exactly sparkling, but once you're rolling the hefty torque figure of 440Nm and the assistance on hand from the 205Nm electric motor means that the car gets up and goes just about as well as you'd want it to. The nine-speed '9G-Tronic' automatic gearbox works mostly smoothly, too, but occasionally hops into a down change slightly quicker than you were expecting it to.

At low speeds, the ride quality is surprisingly firm - you can probably blame the 19-inch AMG-Line alloy wheels for much of that. I'd love to try an E-Class on its basic 17-inch rims, as I bet that feels like a sofa around town. It certainly ought to, given that the E-Class comes with selective dampers as standard, which aren't electronically controlled but which use different pathways and passages for the hydraulic fluid within to try to mimic the effect of more expensive electronic items.

At higher speeds, the E-Class just kind of floats along gracefully, with its light, but accurate, steering guiding you along. To drive the E 220 d, especially with a close-to-1,000km range-to-empty showing, on the motorway like this is to truly appreciate Teutonic motoring at its best thanks to comfortable seats, the silent cabin, soft springs and a sense of being able to reach Stuttgart from any point on the planet with ease and decorum. It's really lovely.

When the road turns more challenging, the E-Class steps up. Switch the Dynamic Select mode to Sport, and while the steering doesn't get all that much heavier, it definitely seems to sharpen up. Sport also relaxes the traction control a little, allowing you the fun of some small slides on the way out of tight junctions if you fancy. The E-Class, in spite of verging these days on S-Class size, suddenly feels a lot smaller than it is, and remarkably agile for such a big car. It's not quite so responsive as a BMW i5 or 5 Series, but the gap between the two is more about character than ability.

The E 220 d also does the sensible stuff really well. That diesel engine is easily capable of matching its official fuel economy figures, and its 127g/km CO2 rating means you'll pay only €200 a year in motor tax. Mercedes says that it's turning off the internal combustion investment tap in 2025, and that it will be a full-electric car maker, in Europe and Ireland, by 2030. This diesel E-Class sets the usability and flexibility marker those future electric cars (and the charging network) will have to meet.

What you get for your money

In Ireland, €79,785 is the entry point for the new E-Class, although in fairness that does get you the high-tech E 300 e plug-in hybrid, thanks to lower VRT because of its tiny CO2 emissions figure. This E 220 d will set you back a minimum of €80,525 and it didn't take much ticking of options boxes to push our test car north of €90,000.
Standard kit includes blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree parking camera system, illuminated door sills, electric front seats with memory and heating, the big twin digital displays, wireless phone charging, adaptive LED headlights and built-in navigation.


Rising cost of entry to the club aside, the new Mercedes E-Class remains as impressive, and reassuring, as it has always been. A diesel engine may seem old school, but its all-round performance and flexibility remain compelling.


Tech Specs

Model testedMercedes-Benz E 220 d AMG-Line Premium Plus saloon
Irish pricing€94,881 as tested, E-Class starts from €79,785
Powertraindiesel engine - 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance, including 17kW electric motor
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - nine-speed, rear-wheel drive
Body stylefour-door, five-seat saloon
CO2 emissions127g/km
Irish motor tax€200
Fuel consumption4.8-5.5 litres per 100km (58.8-51.3mpg)
Top speed238km/h
Max power197hp
Max torque440Nm
Boot space540 litres all seats in use
Kerb weight1,915kg
Rivals to the Mercedes E-Class