Never mind the slightly restrained look of the exterior; it’s the interior where the new E really shines. Even in its stripped down form, the E220d’s cabin is more sumptuous and spacious than the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series. The latter will be replaced with an entirely new model by the time you read this. Nevertheless, the S-Class style wraparound dash is more elegant than sporty and the materials covering the upper and lower dash and even the door pads are all soft touch while the double panoramic sunroof shining light over the cabin is a big plus when it comes to the overall ambience.
That ambience is further enhanced by the new 12.3-inch display that takes pride of place on the dash. It’s for the COMMAND infotainment system which now gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Oddly enough, the display isn’t a touchscreen unit, thus defeating the whole purpose of having smartphone mirroring tech as it works best with touch inputs.
Despite being over Rs 10 lakhs cheaper than the E350d, the E220d scores well on equipment. You get full LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, 64-color ambient lighting, key-less go, panoramic roof, electric sun blinds for rear windows, a three zone climate control, 7 airbags, ESP, ABS, tyre pressure sensor and adaptive brake lights. That being said, there are quite a few features missing as well. Things like electric adjustment for the steering column, 360 degree camera view and the Burmester premium audio system are missing on the E220d.
Mercedes’ new age cabin design appears good and it feels even better once you are seated and settled in. Upfront, the driving position is excellent, with seats that offer immense lateral support and are beautifully trimmed. Although they lack some support under the thigh, they are good for long-distance driving. We cannot comment on how good the new 5 Series is going to fare but at present, the E-Class is the best mid-size luxury offering simply because of the tremendous amount of legroom. The rear seats are unashamedly super-plush with more than enough thigh support and just about perfect cushioning. Then there’s the electrically adjustable backrest and the seat base, for those wanting tailor-made levels of comfort. Like the E350d, this car gets pillow-like extensions to the rear headrests that we really like – they help a great deal in reducing fatigue over long-distance trips. The only thing missing in here is cup holders – a big miss considering how focused this car is in pampering its rear seat occupants.
Cabin space, then, is predictably strong, with limo-like legroom and it’s safe to say the E22d is apt for both business meets and weekend escapades, especially for those who are always chauffeur driven.