Whilst we may all dream of owning a fire breathing E63 AMG, back in the real world we’ve looked at the rest of the Mercedes-Benz E Class range to look for the sweet spot. Let us introduce you to the E400d.
Comparatively rare, Autotrader shows only 153 (at the time of writing) for sale in the UK, whereas there are more than 2,000 of the more familiar E220d. However, as a used purchase, we believe the E400d deserves the spotlight, as it blends performance, economy, and comfort to create the perfect executive express.
Let’s look into why.
The E400d is something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing; despite being in the sportier AMG Line trim sitting on 19-inch wheels, it looks no different from its lesser engined siblings.
Of course, this is a diesel powered car, so whilst it may not fill your eardrums with the V8 noise that an E63 AMG would, you do experience similar acceleration thanks to 517lbs ft of torque delivered from just 1,200rpm. The result is 0-62mph in 5.1sec – over half a second quicker than its predecessor, the E350d.
It’s one smart engine, with an all-new construction and clever exhaust manifold design to boost efficiency and responsiveness. The elimination in any lag results in almost alarmingly urgent acceleration, and economy is virtually as good as the E220d.
Performance improvements are also helped by the incredible nine-speed automatic gearbox, which also helps keep things quiet and refined as it shifts up through the cogs. However, the party piece is that the Mercedes 4MATIC four-wheel drive system comes standard on the E400d, endowing you with the ability to use all of that torque whatever the weather.
Inside, the E400d is a wonderful place to sit, especially thanks to the wide-screen cockpit with full Mercedes Command system which comes as standard on this model.
The AMG line trim means ARTICO leather on the upper dashboard, contrast stitching, ash wood trim, black roof lining and AMG branded steering wheel and sports pedals. The result is exceptional refinement, with a well-insulated cabin and an engine you can barely hearOur example tested also had the optional nappa leather seats and Comfort Package, with the brilliant Mercedes Air Body Control providing a magic carpet ride. Crucially, this is not something you can even specify on the E63 AMG, with its sportier, stiffer setup. There’s even a built-in air fragrance dispenser!
Of course, running costs are where the E400d becomes a more real-world proposition versus the E63 AMG. Not only is a similar age car almost half the price of its counterpart, but fuel economy is also an obvious difference – a realistic 44mpg from the E400d versus 24mpg at best for the E63 AMG.
As you would expect, tax is also a couple of hundred pounds cheaper, whilst the E400d sits a few insurance groups further down the ladder.
In truth, if you want the full AMG experience, only the full-blooded E63 AMG will do. But as an all-rounder, you are not left short-changed by the E400d. In its own right this is a fast car, allowing you to take advantage of its prodigious pace thanks to the 4MATIC system. You can also have your cake and eat it; relax in supreme comfort and be rewarded with fuel consumption you’d expect from a supermini, not a large saloon car which can comfortably handle a family and their luggage.
More importantly, it is the comparison with the lesser E220d where the E400d really stands proud. The four-cylinder models simply lack the indulgence, with engines that feel strained and out of character with the E-Class’ size and luxury feel. The drivetrain in the E400d completely changes the character of the car for the better, and as a result, we feel it is a real used car bargain.