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All E-class models get Attention Assist, which monitors a multitude of factors to check that the driver isn't about to nod-off at the wheel. If the car detects the driver is becoming drowsy, a coffee-cup symbol appears on the dash and a buzzer is activated that vibrates the steering wheel. It's technology Mercedes hopes will enhance its reputation for safety in the risk management-conscious world of fleet.
All engines are impressively refined, but the 220CDI is fractionally more rattly under acceleration than the more powerful 250CDI, but both are near silent on the motorway. Mercedes has opted for a much more comfortable ride than its German rivals' at the expense of outright driver involvement on twisty roads too.
If there's a question mark about the E-class's likely success then it comes down to the car's looks. We have yet to be convinced by the odd-looking front lights, but then the previous generation's appearance also took a while to grow on us.
Either way, if you favour comfort over sport for a sub-160g/km diesel executive car, it's the car we'd go for thanks to an impressive kit list and low running costs. And if you can afford the extra we'd highly recommend the 250CDI version for the CO2-free power and refinement upgrade.
Mercedes E220 CDI SE 4dr automatic
Model price range
BIK 20/40% per month
group 14* (est.)
14 June 2009
Most comfortable car in its class, also a true costs contender