TEST: E200 Kompressor

I was able to take a brand new E200 Kompressor with the sports package for a long drive to Landshut. The bad news? I had to bring a customer with me to the dealer over there so that meant I couldnt really drive my way or stop to take nice pictures on the way, especially since the guy next to me turned out to be such a sour old grandpa.

Well we got going with me behind the wheel. Didnt talk much to my passenger since he seemed so grumpy. That meant it was going to be a quiet 45 minutes to Landshut.

The interior was dark since this E200 Kompressor was an Avantgarde spec model. The sports package added chrome to the pedals and footrest as well as the new steering wheel, which actually doesnt look so bad in real life.

Didnt like it when I saw it in the first pictures of the E-Class sports package. What struck you early on was the communicativeness of the steering wheel. Compared to our E320, the difference was like night and day.

Sadly, the steering feel was to direct, so that in curves, every movement can be felt, which sucks for limousine style driving. I was trying my best to make the old guy next to me not feel a thing, which is possible in our E320, but here, I needed time to adjust and get to know the steering.

The suspension was hard and seemed capable enough for sporty driving. I wasnt able to really drift into curves with the sour old bastard next to me. Comfort sucked. Yes, in a Mercedes-Benz!

The suspension was so hard, every little bump on the road could be felt. Even on smooth well-paved roads, the suspension was noisy and very nervous.

The good handling and low body roll of this car came at a price I suppose: the lack of comfort. I suppose the 18″ rims and low profile tires also played their part.

The seats were relatively comfortable though, but were still designed for sporty driving with their excellent side grip. The guy next to me commented on the poor comfort as well, so that meant he felt it too.

The car was the base model European E-Class, the E200 Kompressor with a supercharged 1.8-l 4-cylinder and 163-horsepower (240 Nm / 177 lb/ft).

I was really interested in seeing how this car drove since I had experienced the same engine in the C-Class and SLK-Class. A 1.8-l engine in an E-Class?

Yes, thats what I was thinking. Even worse, it was brand new with only 75 km on the odometer, thats 47 miles. That meant I couldnt really hammer it but I did anyway! :bigsmile:] Incidentally, theres also a black T-Modell S211 E-Class with the sports package in the showroom, but thats an E350.

I was of mixed opinions about the engine. It was smooth and refined, but I felt it was a little underpowered in the E-Class. When driving at a relaxed pace, the engine didnt feel underpowered and responded nicely to driver input.

I had to overtake a few trucks so I did either a kickdown (yes I know it was a new not run-in-yet car!) or shifted manually on the 5-speed automatic transmission. A kickdown saw the car accelerate decently.

Nothing slow, but nothing particularly fast either. The E220 CDI I drove recently would kill this thing though. Thats when the old geezer next to me said a word after what seemed like an eternity.

He commented on how this thing isnt very fast. Eh, no sh*t Sherlock, I can see that! :bigsmile:] Heres my overall opinion on the engine. Drive it relaxed, it drives nicely.

Ask for quick overtaking power and its a little underpowered. It got the job done, but it needed a little more time than something torquier like the E220 CDI.

The 5-speed automatic transmission was as usual very smooth and responsive. Shifting manually was fun because the E200 Kompressor pulled nicely in 2nd gear even while going uphill. Other than that, I just wished for an engine with a little bit more power and torque.

The supercharged 1.8-l is a wonderful 4-cylinder engine, but its not the best performer under the hood of the W211 E-Class.

The rest of the drive was spent cruising to Landshut. It would have been pleasant had this car not had the sports package. I really didnt like it to be honest.

I felt that Avantgarde spec E-Classes, like our E320, handled sporty enough without sacrificing comfort. This E200 Kompressor was very uncomfortable mainly because of the suspension.

Handling was however top notch but I felt that the regular E-Classes handle well enough for most keen drivers. This is especially true in Europe since US-spec Mercedes are softened up suspension and steering wise to offer a cushier drive.

The E200 Kompressor seemed like an ok car for European conditions. On the one hand, it drove nice enough if you cruised at a relaxed pace. On the other, the engine wasnt well suited for quick overtaking sprints.

Or maybe I am just spoiled by driving an E320 all the time. :p] I suspect the E200 Kompressor would make a great city car for those who dont want a diesel or dont drive a lot and therefore do not need anything above the new E280 (replaced the E240).

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