By Dumi Xaba

This is a follow-up to the previous test that we ran on the range-topper, the E63.

I then decided to try a more civilised sibling in the form of the E 220d oil-burner. There are several good cars out there, reliable, well-built and they do what they were intended to. Just like a Chinese-collar suit.

Then, you get the crème de la crème. The ones that stand out.

The ‘mini S class’ is one of those. That is the current E class. It’s like a Louise Viton suit. It sets you apart from the rest.

Approaching from the front you are greeted by a set of wider head lights and a broader air intake. All models come standard with LED lights. The test model had beautiful ridges on the bonnet but that’s because it is an AMG model with a beautiful diamond grille.

On the side, you are greeted by 20-inch multi-alloy wheels, beautiful flowing lines and a panoramic sliding sunroof. The rear has also been changed a bit with wider flowing lights and the usual fake exhaust.

I have covered most of this on my previous edition. Inside, you have a beautiful leather finish.

Today, my focus is more on the drive. That’s where the real magic comes in. This one comes with a keyless start and a digital cockpit that flows beautifully on the 12-inch touch-screen infotainment which is responsive and easy to use.

Besides voice control, you also get buttons on your steering wheel which is electronically adjustable. The seating position is also electronically adjustable. Press the start button and you can change your ambient lighting in line with your mood.

I must admit, this didn’t sound like a diesel car at all. The car is also so well-insulated to get rid of all the unwanted road noises.

Like other journalists, I talk endlessly. At some point, I was making a point driving with one hand. Red steering sensors illuminated immediately to indicate that I am a jerk for driving with one hand.

I got several warnings because cars kept coming in front of me and the German machine kept reminding me to keep a safe distance. Suddenly, the music and lighting changed and the gentleman from Benz, explained that the car is waking me up as it senses that I am not paying attention.

The driving is so smooth. You don’t feel the corners at all. It’s like the car was made for the corners. Except for a few plastic finishes inside, the car is eye-catching.

The cockpit keeps directing you on the best lane to keep. Frankly, this is one of the best machines on the road. It is not just good looks and no show.

The car has foldable seats at the back that make it a great for those bikes in the boot. The Iso fix seats covers can easily be removed to attach baby seats at the back.

It also comes with an urban guard app. If there is an attempt to break in, you will get a warning on your phone. If the car is bumped while parked, you will get a notification and exactly which part thereof has been bumped on and enables you to quickly run to the scene and scream the fear of God deep into the heart of the guilty party as long as it’s not a taxi – because you might not live to tell the story!

The 220d is powered by a 2-litre motor which pushes 143kw, moving the car from 0 to 100kms in 7.3 seconds. In the real world of driving this is extremely quick.

This is a mild hybrid and, as such, it saves a lot of fuel [in the form of diesel].

I was getting around 6-litres per 100kms despite not being gentle with this beast.

You get a 100,000km and five years peace of mind included – extendable if you so wish.

For all this you pay around R1,3m. I must admit my test model was highly specked. So, there were some extra boxes ticked on the initial price.

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