The E200 has starting rolling into Mercedes dealerships with a starting price of $79,900, replacing the $84,800 E220 CDI as the base model of the E-Class range.
The new variant gives Mercedes a more competitive price tag to compete with rivals, though the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Lexus GS are all cheaper still, starting at $77,900.
The E200 is a petrol variant powered by a turbocharged 1.8-litre direct fuel injection four-cylinder producing 135kW and 270Nm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic.
Fuel consumption is slightly higher than the 5.9L/100km of the E220 CDI four-cylinder turbo diesel, though 6.6L/100km is a commendable figure for a big car.
Mercedes-Benz says the E200 is still well equipped despite its status as the most affordable E-Class.
“This is not a stripped down version [of the E-Class],” says Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman Jerry Stamoulis. “There are some things it doesn’t have compared with the E250, but it doesn’t really miss out [on anything significant].”
The new Mercedes-Benz E200 includes standard features such as satellite navigation, the company’s Comand multimedia system with a TFT display, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Attention Assist.
Mercedes-Benz has offered an E200 model with the previous generation E-Class, but Stamoulis says buyers not only get more features with today’s model but are also more likely to embrace the relatively small engine under the bonnet.
“We had an E200 before but it’s a very different market now when we last had it,” he says.
“The value equation is much better and the customer perception about four-cylinder turbo engines has definitely changed.”
Mercedes admits the E200 is likely to steal some sales from the E220 CDI that shares the same equipment and effectively charges a $5000 premium for the diesel engine.