2JAGUAR XF 2.0D R�SPORT AUTO
Another recent arrival and the one closest to the
E-Class on luxury while o� ering a noticeably sharper
drive. Bland design makes it look like a bigger XE, and
it's beaten on power and economy. Price: £36,850
3AUDI A6 2.0 TDI ULTRA BLACK EDITION
Comfortable, fast and frugal, the A6 has always
been a strong all-rounder, although one that leads its
rivals in few categories. O� cial consumption of 64mpg
is good, but no match for the E220d. Price: £36,995
BMW 520D M�SPORT
Cheaper than the E-Class and sharper to drive, but it
can't match it for either luxury or toys. It's starting to
feel old in this ultra-competitive segment, but a new
model is coming soon. Price: £35,315
squaremeal.co.uk � 109
FASHION + LIFESTYLE
Mercedes knows perceived quality is important to its
typical buyers and the cabin is particularly well fi nished, with
expensive-feeling materials, beautiful design and generous
standard equipment - including sat nav, reversing camera and
self-parking function. � e engine line-up is similarly rational.
� e new diesel engine in the E220d is set to be the biggest
seller in the UK, managing the seemingly impossible feat of
combining a 192bhp output, a 149mph top speed and a 72.4mpg
offi cial economy fi gure (the latter being one you'll only get close
to under very gentle, real-world use). It's quiet under everything
but the hardest use, and is powerful and economical enough to
make the brawnier E350d and hybrid E350e seem superfl uous.
What's lacking is excitement. � e E-Class grips and goes,
driving with an eff ortless precision, but there's no sense it wants
to be anything other than smooth and sensible. However, while
there are more entertaining equivalents (the BMW 5-series and
Jaguar XF for instance), none are more luxurious. Nor can they
turn chauff eur and pilot themselves.
BEST BIT: Wonderful cabin, comfort, ability to pilot itself.
WORST BIT: Sterile to drive, expensive options.