The Mercedes E220 model is the engine choice for most value-oriented Mercedes E-Class buyers. All newer E-Class models come with a 2.0L 4-cylinder under the E220 nameplate. All E220 models offer at least 190hp these days which is considered underpowered or adequate, depending on who you are asking.
Either way, you are likely going to benefit from the increased efficiency associated with a 4-cylinder engine. Most taxi drivers tend to opt for the E220 model because it is commonly known to last hundreds of thousands of miles without needing major overhauls.
The E220 model is sometimes known to leak oil and the suspension of the E220 does come with a few caveats, especially in a higher mileage model. Overheating due to overworking and a potentially faulty water pump is also known to make the E220 a bit of a headache.
Either way, if you take proper care of your E220, you should not worry all that much. The equipment list with the E220 is not as substantial as it is in some higher-end E-Class models but you are able to upgrade it through a myriad of Mercedes optional equipment packages.
Mercedes E220 – The powerplant
The Mercedes E220 nameplate refers to a 2.0L gas engine capable of delivering around 200hp and 300Nm of torque. All newer E220 models come with an automatic gearbox, but some older E220 models were even available with a manual, especially in Europe.
The E220 engine is known for its durability and efficiency and that’s why it is commonly being used for most taxi cars in Europe. Mercedes also offers a 220-diesel engine that is one of the most popular engines in Europe, especially for the C-Class.
Either way, this engine should be able to last you a long time if you take proper care of it. Most Mercedes customers indeed prefer a 6-cylinder in a car as large as the E-Class, but if you are a more value-oriented customer who appreciates efficiency over grunt, the E220 is the best pick of the bunch.
Mercedes E220 models come as RWD cars from the factory, but you are able to pay an additional $2,000 on average if you want the 4MATIC AWD system.
Mercedes E220 – Design and body
The Mercedes E220 is fairly similar looking to all the other non-AMG E-Class models which means that identifying E220 models from higher up models is only possible by sound and the nameplate on the back. This works in favor of E220 customers because you are basically getting the same visual package for less money.
You can upgrade to more premium trim levels which include Avantgarde, Classic, Premium, Sport, Luxury, Elegance or AMG trims depending on the E-Class generation. Most people deem the AMG models to look the best because they incorporate a more aggressive and sophisticated-looking design at the same time.
As previously stated, if you de-badge an E220 model, it is fairly difficult to know if the E-Class you are looking at is a 6-cylinder or a 4-cylinder model. Another way to tell is to look at the tailpipes because 6-cylinder Mercedes models tend to have pipes on both sides.
However, the current trend in the automotive industry seems to push fake exhaust systems which virtually nullifies this form of identification as well.
Mercedes E220 – Efficiency and practicality
The Mercedes E220 model is the value champion because it offers the best mileage out of all E-Class models. However, this is only the case if you are not pushing your 4-cylinder E-Class too much because in that case, a 6-cylinder E-Class is actually more economical.
However, if you want the most economical E-Class model, you should focus your attention on the E220 CDI diesel models if they are available for purchase. Practicality-wise, it makes no difference if you opt for the E220 or any other E-Class variant out there because they are all equally as reliable.
Mercedes E220 – Common issues and reliability
The Mercedes E220 engine is made to last a long time if you take proper care of it. This means maintaining the car and the engine whenever necessary. If you do this, you will be able to enjoy your E220 for a long time.
These engines are sometimes known to leak oil and are sometimes known for overheating, especially if you push them really hard. Some E-Class generations are known to offer a faulty water pump which only accelerates this issue.
All in all, the E220 is a reliable car because it is made to last. If a diesel 220 CDI variant is available to you, you should buy it because it offers more than the 220 petrol versions found in most E-Class models, bar the newer ones.
Is the Mercedes E220 enough?
If you want a true Mercedes E-Class experience, you should upgrade to a 6-cylinder engine because a 6-cylinder engine feels more natural and is a lot more potent. However, if you don’t care about power and you want to enjoy your car as often as possible, the 4-cylinder engine is likely going to be a better choice because it is cheaper to run.
You don’t need a 6-cylinder engine per-se to properly enjoy a Mercedes because a true Mercedes experience requires more than that. If you are value-oriented, it’s better to opt for a 4-cylinder engine and spend that extra cash on optional equipment necessary for each individual model.
Is the Mercedes E220 underpowered?
Mercedes E220 models tend to offer around 200hp which is adequate for some, but underpowered for others. A mid-size luxury sedan indeed feels a lot more substantial with a 6-cylinder engine, but a 6-cylinder engine is not a lot more powerful than that.
If you really want a powerful E-Class, you will have to opt for AMG 6-cylinder engines or even better, AMG V8s.
Are all future E-Class models going to use 4-cylinder engines?
The automotive industry is moving to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future which means that downsizing and forced induction is likely going to encompass all newer models. The new C-Class is now only available with 4-cylinder engines, even the C63 AMG which was known for its 8-cylinder engine.
It is highly unlikely that the new E63 is going to use a 4-cylinder, but the rest of the range is likely going to be based on a 4-cylinder hybrid or mild hybrid engine.