This camouflaged Mercedes-Benz E-Class was spotted around the Mercedes-Benz factory near Chakan. The driver tried to run away when he saw us click pictures. The car had the badges completely covered. A sticker on the rear right window read “Do not fill fuel.” What could it possibly be? Is Mercedes testing alternative fuel technology vehicles? Could this be a hybrid? We are not sure, but the German automaker is definitely upto something as it looks to regain its lost market share in the Indian luxury car market. The Mercedes E-Class is the segment leader and there are nine variants on offer for the Indian market. The E200 makes the base variant of the E-Class in petrol but the base diesel is the E250. In order to offer buyers more options (specially those who buy the E-Class to usher in the comfort of the rear seat), Mercedes-Benz needs to offer a cheaper diesel E-Class. The cheapest diesel E-Class is the E250 CDI Classic, which is priced at Rs. 39.86 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai).
If one closely observes the boot, the badge can be read as E220. Now Mercedes-Benz does not have the E220 on offer in the Indian car market. The company had recently announced its plans to offer lower displacement engines as it looks to counter its German rivals, which offer 2.0-liter motors of the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 respectively. The company has the E220 on offer in the international markets.
The E220 uses the same 2143cc, four-cylinder diesel engine as the E250 but with reduced power out of 170 hp of power against 200 bhp of the E250 and 400 Nm of torque against 500 Nm of the E250. The decrease in power will not only help Mercedes-Benz price the car more aggressively but will also boost the mileage of the car. The less powerful engine might be 14 hp down on the BMW 520d, but will help Mercedes in offering the E-Class range at a cheaper price than its rivals. Just recently Audi has created tough competition by pricing the new A6 at Rs. 37 lakhs for the base variant. Could the E220 be offered at similar prices to woo buyers?
EDIT – We have confirmed from our sources that it was indeed the Mercedes E220 which was being tested by ARAI. The car said fill no fuel as ARAI is testing the fuel efficiency figures of the E220 CDI as part as their mileage certification. The E220 will also get a new entertainment system for the rear seat, which will help the E-Class maintain its market share in the segment.