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Expert Reviews

First drive: Mercedes E-Class Estate

Friday 23 September 2016

First drive: Mercedes E-Class Estate
Summary

We’re all pretty familiar with the latest version of the Mercedes E-Class saloon by now, and the new estate model is constructed on the same platform. As a result, there aren’t too many new features appearing the big estate.

The interior, drivetrain and technology package are all as they were, and the engine line-up also remains untouched. This means customers will be able to specify Mercedes’ new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel, which will appear in the E220d. This is a noteworthy powerplant, as it is spearheading the company’s plan to invest £2.3 billion into producing engines with greater energy efficiency.

In our E220d test car, it produces 192bhp and 300Nm of torque. Fuel economy is an appealing 67.3mpg on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions are kept at 109g per kilometre. Putting your foot on the throttle instantly reveals the amount of work that has gone into making this engine smooth and quiet, yet powerful enough to lug the E-Class’s considerable 1,780kg kerb weight around.

Looks & Image

The E-Class has always managed to excel when it comes to its appearance and desirability, and this new estate model is no exception to that rule. While the saloon is fitted with Mercedes’ stylised new rear end, the estate cuts an even more visually appealing shape. Well, to our eyes it does anyway.

Opening the door reveals the kind of luxurious cabin that Mercedes has become known for. In fact, it actually isn’t all that different from that of the flagship S-Class model. High praise for the E-Class Estate indeed.

As the estate’s interior is the same as that of the saloon, the optional twin 12.3-inch ‘floating’ screens that adorn the dashboard remain its pièce de résistance. As far as options go, this one is worth having as they are easy to read, navigate and configure. Beware, though, as they are an additional £495 on top of the COMAND Online system’s £1,495 price tag.

Space & Practicality

The driver and front passenger will find there is plenty of room for even the loftiest of occupants, while those in the back are treated to abundant leg room and comfortable seats.

However, if you’re in the market for an estate, the boot is going to be what you’re most interested in. Put plainly, it’s huge, offering up to 1,820 litres of what Mercedes calls “virtually endless” space with the rear seats down. With the back seats in position, you’ll find 640 litres of luggage capacity.

This means the E-Class Estate boasts one of the largest boots in its segment. To sweeten the deal even more, it also comes with bag hooks, luggage rails, electrically foldable seats and a raft of other cubbyholes for squirrelling bits and pieces away.

Behind the Wheel

While the E-Class might cope just fine when the road gets a bit interesting, don’t expect to be blown away through the corners. The car’s two sport modes – which don’t make much sense on a car of this nature – fail to mask the vehicle’s bulk and comfort-biased suspension set-up.

That said though, this is a car designed for motorway cruising and trundling around town, and if you use it for either of these things, you’ll find it excels. With all settings in “Comfort” mode, the E-Class Estate offers one of the most relaxing drives this side of a Rolls-Royce.

Mercedes’ semi-autonomous driving technology was a new feature on the saloon, and it appears on the estate, too. The highlight of the bunch is Drive Pilot, which calls upon radar sensors, a stereo camera housed behind the windscreen and sensors in the rear bumper to ensure the car stays in lane and at speed with little input from the driver.

Value for Money

If you’re looking for a bargain, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class might be a bit of a let down. Remember, your money is paying for the car’s badge prestige, after all. The BMW 5-Series Touring occupies a similar price point, and while it might be a tad more entertaining on a country road, the E-Class feels like the more premium choice inside.

You’ll get satellite navigation as standard that feeds in live traffic information on the go. There’s also a decent seven-speaker stereo system, as well as safety features such as hill-start assist, a brake drying function and a brake priming system to lower stopping distances.

If you’re willing to cough up £3,895 for the Premium Plus package, you’ll also be treated to a Burmester sound system, which is hands down one of the best car stereos available. This package also includes a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and keyless go.

Prices for the 220d SE start at £37,936, which represents an increase of £2,000 over the saloon. Considering the vastly improved practicality on offer in the estate, it justifies the premium.

Who would buy one ?

This is a car that will largely appeal to families that require additional space, as well as business people who are on the road a great deal of the time. Both groups will find the added practicality and premium image an appealing factor.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Mercedes E-Class 220d Estate

Engine: 2.0-litre diesel

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Performance: 192bhp, 0-62mph 7.7 seconds, top speed 146mph

Economy: 67.3mpg

Emissions: 109g/km

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