Mercedes-Benz has reversed its decision to ditch the E220 CDI entry-level diesel from the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class line-up in Australia, just days after the international media launch of the new model.
The plan to introduce the E350 Estate as a stand-alone six-cylinder variant has also been dropped, with a twin-turbo E400 Estate now to be introduced. At the same time, the local launch of the four-cylinder E-Class models has been brought forward to June following early shipping approval from Germany, with the E400 and E63 AMG due to follow in August.
Mercedes-Benz senior communications manager David McCarthy said the late decision to bring in the E220 CDI was partially based around feedback from CarAdvice at the international launch of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class this week. By dropping the E220 CDI, we said in our 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review, the E-Class would be without a sub-$100K diesel competitor to the BMW 520d, which is the best selling 5 Series.
“Basically, with E220 it was probably a 50/50 decision initially whether it would stay in,” McCarthy said.
“I thought about what you [CarAdvice] said … and I’d always been an advocate of that car, because when it got the seven-speed transmission it became particularly sweet, and with the updates it’s getting it is going to be even sweeter.
“When I got back [from the international launch] basically we’d had a meeting and the [product planning] guys said, ‘Oh, I think we’ll leave it in’, and I told them I think we need to.
“The gap between an E200 and E250 is large enough … even though this doesn’t narrow the gap that much, it gives two choices at that [entry-level] end rather than one.”
The E220 CDI retains its 2.1-litre single-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine, producing 125kW and 400Nm (the E250 CDI adds a second turbo to raise outputs by 25kW/100Nm). Although the 8.4 second 0-100km/h claim is identical to that of the outgoing E220 CDI, combined fuel consumption drops from 5.2L/100km to 4.7L/100km.
McCarthy confirmed the E220 CDI would target the pricing of the BMW 520d, making the entry-level diesel an $80,000 proposition. Asked about the pricing of other models, the PR boss wouldn’t be drawn into specifics but did make a bold statement about Mercedes-Benz’s intentions with the facelifted E-Class.
“With E-Class pricing … I say the pricing is ‘assertive’,” responded McCarthy.
“We think the large car segment has a lot of life left in it, and we’re going to do our best to get our share.
“Our customers will be pleased, our competitors will be displeased.
“I’d be buying a couple of tissue packs for the opposition.”
Of the decision to take the 234kW/440Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo E400 Estate, instead of the 225kW/370Nm 3.5-litre non-turbo E350 Estate originally planned, McCarthy said that call was “a pretty easy one.”
“If we’re going to have a six-cylinder wagon, let’s have a grunty one,” he added.
The original decision to take the 3.5-litre non-turbo V6 E350 Estate instead of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 planned for the sedan was “a bit of a price thing [and] the volume is really small”.
Adaptive high beam assist is now confirmed as standard equipment on the E400, in addition to the E63 AMG, while it will be optional as part of a package on other models.