Common problems with Mercedes E220

The Mercedes E220 is the entry-level Mercedes Benz E-Class model which commonly uses either a 2.0L 4-cylinder for the newer models or a 2.2L 4-cylinder for older E-Class models. Some believe that an E-Class should not be bought if it does not come with at least a 6-cylinder engine, while others believe that the 4-cylinder is just perfect.

A 4-cylinder engine costs less to run, it does not use nearly as much fuel, it is lighter and more affordable to fix in most cases. However, a 6-cylinder engine does feel more fitting for a mid-size luxury sedan because it offers a more substantial, more powerful driving experience.

Nowadays, Mercedes 4-cylinder engines are more than capable to offer upwards of 200hp, but a 6-cylinder Mercedes commonly offers around 300hp. All in all, the E220 model-line tends to suffer from thrust link bushing cracks, differential leaks, rough suspension, potential overheating, and the overall lack of power.

However, the E220 is the entry-level Mercedes E-Class and most E220 models are bought by taxi drivers which is indeed a good sign that the engine in the E220 is reliable. The E220 is somewhat of a standard engine option for a taxi driver, and many of these are known to last hundreds of thousands of miles.

The Mercedes E220 comes with a clever way to make the suspension feel more refined and more cohesive by filling the front bushings with a special oil that tends to reduce the overall shakiness and vibrations associated with driving on less than ideal roads. However, these bushings are known to crack after a while which means that they form leaks.

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This usually leads to a bouncier ride which tends to progressively become worse before you are then able to notice it. This also leads to increased levels of tire wear, so be sure to pay close attention in order not to create any more issues.

Differential leaks

As previously mentioned, the E220 is the go-to engine for most taxi drivers in Europe, and Mercedes is aware of that. That’s why they tend to overengineer these engines to be workhorses and last a long time, but that does not mean that they are not prone to issues originating from bad maintenance.

A common issue associated with the lack of maintenance on high-mileage E220 models is a leaky differential. If the differential starts to leak it is likely going to need a re-seal or a complete housing replacement if the issues are more severe.

Rough suspension

Both the bushings and the ball joints are a known common issue for the majority of E-Class models out there. Mercedes tries their best to make a superiorly comfortable car which does not necessarily mean making the most reliable suspension system.

Some AIRMATIC air suspension models are known to leak from time to time, especially if they are not maintained correctly. Even the older models with pneumatic self-leveling suspension systems are known to experience all sorts of issues that ultimately lead to the car sagging to one side or the other.


There were quite a few Mercedes E-Class models that have been part of at least a single overheating issue. Issues such as these are more common with a smaller engine such as the 2.2L 4-cylinder because they sometimes need to work harder to achieve the same level of power as a 6-cylinder.

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If you pair that with a faulty water pump, chances are that your E220 is going to overheat eventually. As such, be sure to keep an eye out for the temperature gauge.

Lack of power

A Mercedes E-Class is a mid-size luxury sedan that rivals the likes of the BMW 5-series and the Audi A6. All three of these cars are usually being bought with 6-cylinder engines because a 6-cylinder engine is a lot more fitting for such a large and heavy car.

Even though modern-day Mercedes 4-cylinder engines are able to push way beyond 200hp, they are still not as potent nor enjoyable to drive as a 6-cylinder engine. They tend to lack power and are not as good for overtaking purposes as 6-cylinder engines are. Furthermore, a 6-cylinder engine is quieter and sometimes even more economical depending on where and how you drive.

FAQ Section

 Is the Mercedes E220 the best E-Class variant?

The Mercedes E220 is the car to buy if you want to lower your overall ownership costs and you don’t care about driving the best and smoothest engine out there. As previously mentioned, most E220 models are bought for work purposes which means that they tend to cross a few hundred thousand miles in their lifetime.

They are not the most powerful, nor the most refined, but they tend to cost less to run both because they use less fuel and because they are cheaper to insure. This 4-cylinder engine is available for money-saving purposes and is not nearly the best and most refined powerplant option for a car as large as the E-Class.

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Does the E220 come with AWD as standard?

The Mercedes E220 does not come with an all-wheel-drive system as standard because the AWD system is more tailored to higher-end E-Class models. That does not mean that you are not able to upgrade to the AWD system, but rather that it does not come as standard and that most people tend to skip it.

The 4MATIC option tends to cost around $2000 which means that you are almost able to upgrade to a higher-end E-Class for that amount of money, which I something I would always do.

Is the E220 comfortable and refined?

Even though the E220 is cheaper, slower, and not nearly as cool, that does not mean that it is not refined or comfortable. A 6-cylidner is indeed more refined and quieter, but the differences are not huge. Most people who don’t care about cars are not going to be able to notice the difference without pointing it out.

It’s just the fact that a 6-cylinder engine fits the character of the E-Class a bit better. While we can enjoy larger engines in larger cars, we most definitely should.

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Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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