I have been driving my E320 CDi Sport Estate for just over a month now. It is a company car and replaces a very competent Honda Accord diesel.
The car has met or exceeded all my expectations. It looks great in metallic black, has lovely 18" alloys, tinted rear windows and all the toys you would normally look for. Looks cool but sinister too!
Before picking the Mercedes, I tested the obvious competition. BMW 535d Touring and the Audi A6 3.0 TDi Avant. The BMW was well built but hard a very firm ride and a severe lack of storage in the cabin. The Audi was a good all rounder, but also pretty firm. I do about 20,000 miles a year, the majority being long motorway and dual carriageway journeys, so comfort was a major factor. The Merc seems to fit the bill very well.
The build quality is very good with nice materials being used. So far it all seems pretty durable too. I am currently getting just over 30 mpg on a tank full, which for the size and weight of the car is not bad.
The car has been purchased outright by the company, and therefore I am expecting a long nad happy relationship - at present it feels bullit-proof!
Good and Bad. First the bad, the car refused to start when it was just4 days old. It had to be lifted away; however it only took the dealer a day to replace the started motor.
Now the good; this is a great place to be with the pointed star on the bonnet strangely satisfying - some clever bits such as auto sensing wipers and intelligent headlights just make life a bit more relaxing. The sat nav is good but does not show some minor roads that are on £200 systems. I got the iPod kit and this works well. Still waiting for the phone kit, beware if you want to use a fully compatible phone, the range is limited to older phones
The diesel engine is very quiet and once in the car, you can't tell it is diesel. It drives and accelerates beautifully and handles the twisty bits with confidence and yet the ride is cossetting.
I set out to buy an automatic diesel estate that would carry 4 adults in comfort over long distances. The choice was between a BMW 525d, an A6 2.7TDI and a Mercedes 220 CDI.
Neither Lind BMW nor Whitehouse Audi, both in Aylesford, were able to produce test drives in my cars of choice. After much nagging, as they rarely returned calls, Lind came up with a 530d. The ride was firm, the gearbox jerky and the engine gruff when pressed.
Audi promise a drive in the car of choice within 2 working days – it’s now been over a month and I'm still waiting for them to call me back. I did however drive a 2.0 TDI with multitronic and a 2.7 TDI with tiptronic and 4-wheel drive. The 2.0TDI rattled and the 2.7 TDI squeeked. I also found the interior quality to be not as good as the Audi that I was looking to replace.
The plastic used in the instrument cluster is decidedly cheap and nasty. In contrast the visit to Mercedes-Benz of Maidstone was almost a delight. Within an hour of calling in I had driven a 220 and a 320. Two days later they found a 280 and 4 days after that I drove it out of the showroom.
I've now had the car for the best part of a month during which time it has covered around 1200 miles. It is an absolute delight. It's the perfect cruiser and with its 7-speed autobox it just glides along. It's quiet and refined, but press the kickdown and it flies. If it continues like this it will be the only car I've owned that will actually have exceed my expectations.
I cover at least 20,000 miles a year, mostly journeys of 100 miles or more, so I wanted a car which was refined and soothing on these trips, but would not break the bank at fill up time. Room for the dogs was important at the weekends.
With the addition of 'How and Cow' (Leather and Comand), this car has been everthing I expected. I regularly get 45mpg and arrive unruffled after hours at the wheel.
As an information junkie, the Comand system with integrated phone is great. The only trouble I have had in 22,000 miles is that the rear luggage cover ceased to work, and being run into by a bus when the car was parked.
On both occasions the dealer was first class, and I am happy to report that at least my experience of Mercedes-Benz service has been good.
I have owned Lexus and Audi A8s in the past, and this car does at least as good a job at luxury, with much smaller fuel costs and room for the dogs!
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