From £28,360
Huge executive estate heads straight to the top of the class

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

The E-Class is a refined and relaxing return to old Mercedes qualities

1 February 2010

What is it?

It’s the latest weapon in the impressive arsenal of Mercedes’ new E-class: the estate. We recently concluded that the E-class saloon has a (very narrow) edge over BMW’s latest 5-series, the first time it has enjoyed that status in a fair fight in over 20 years. And now the wagon – arguably the strongest variant – is starting to fill dealerships.

And believe me, it will fill them to bursting point. This latest E-class estate is even longer than its predecessor, at 4895mm long and 2071mm wide, including mirrors. It’s not made for nipping in and out of high street parking bays, in other words.

Still, the trade-off for this bulk is a class-leading load capacity. With the rear seats up, the boot capacity is 695 litres, but lowering them yields a vast 1950 litres. Oh, and there’s another 112 litres under the boot floor on top of (or underneath) that.

The price you pay for this is a premium of £1750 over the equivalent saloon – which seems fair for the extra practicality.

What’s it like??

There’s got to be a catch to all these positives, right? No. In pretty much every way – from the less awkward looks to its even more planted feel – the estate is the pick of the E-class range.

Up front, there’s little to indicate that you’re in a huge estate, apart from the sight of a distant wiper in your rear-view mirror. The latest E-class’s neat, classy fascia is present and correct, and the control weights are as much of a delight here as they are in the saloon. That does mean that the steering is a teeny bit on the light side, particularly around the straight ahead, but it’s still gloriously smooth and linear.

Our example came in with the most obvious engine choice, Mercedes’ 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, and at no point did it feel like it was struggling to cope with a kerb weight just 75kg shy of two tonnes. Mercedes claims a 0-62mph time of 7.2sec, and it sounds about right.

E-class estates come with self-levelling air suspension at the rear as standard, and the system hooks up well with the regular springs at the front. The ride is composed on all but the worst urban potholes, and motorway cruising is an impressively relaxing experience. Body control on twistier routes is better than you might expect, too.

In keeping with tradition, the new E-class estate can be had with seven seats. For an extra £960 you can add two leather-trimmed, rear-facing child seats, which fold into the boot floor when not required, returning the load space to that of a modest aircraft hangar.

Neat design touches in the storage end include an electric tailgate, an electric luggage cover that moves automatically up and out of the way to widen the load aperture, and handles near the boot opening that allow you to release the rear seats without having to clamber inside.

In front of the load bay, there’s room for four six-footers to travel in comfort – thanks, in part, to neatly sculpted seat backs.

Should I buy one??

Okay, so there are some small downsides. The amphitheatre behind you does amplify road noise to a slightly louder volume than you’ll find in the coupe or saloon. And the seven-speed automatic ’box can be a little clumsy at times, introducing an annoying delay when pulling away from junctions.

But these are minor blemishes on a very fine scoresheet. The E-class saloon may hold a small advantage over the 5-series saloon, but on this strength, BMW will have to work miracles with the next 5-series Touring to avoid a rout.

Join the debate

Comments
13

8 February 2010

The headline doesn't distinguish between the CDI or the CGI, I thought this a new test having read the 350 CDI test in last weeks mag..


8 February 2010

If you were only to ever have one car, sounds like this could be the one. Almost perfect (except the 37K plus options to get into one)

8 February 2010

4Matic would do nicely.

8 February 2010

Is the new E-Class estate the only estate with the option/standard rear facing seats? I know Volvo used to do them (I remember seeing the world go by backwards when I was small enough to fit in the boot seats!)

8 February 2010

After 20 years I am very happy for Merc that the E class has at last got a victory over the BM 5 series, so many generations of E class have been ignored and all the praise given to the ugly bmw.

I believe the the last generation E class was actually a better car then the previous 5 series but again it lost out unfairly.

But this time round Merc have done a great job they are like Chelsea winning a lot more then they did 10 years ago, BMW is now Arsenal 3rd place not champions anymore past it!!!

1st = mERC

2nd = Audi

3rd = Bmw

4th = VW

9 February 2010

must agree with moe, the new e class wagon looks amazing. i went to the local dealer at the weekend to have a look and it is just beautifully made and benefits form a perfectly executed design. And more interestingly, i didn't think it was that much money...as much as i'd love a 3 litre diesel, the 2.2 with 170ps would be sufficient in the real world, and for 35k you can have a nicely specced avantgarde, i was fearing a price nearer 40k.

just one question, does anyone drive a new merc with a manual gearbox? i can't see that the 2.2 benefits from an antiquated 5 speed slusher...

9 February 2010

[quote elsol]just one question, does anyone drive a new merc with a manual gearbox? i can't see that the 2.2 benefits from an antiquated 5 speed slusher...[/quote]

If you go into a Mercedes dealership and want a manual gearbox, the salesperson will be able to count on one hand the number of C-Class and above cars sold with a manual.

9 February 2010

[quote moe360]

After 20 years I am very happy for Merc that the E class has at last got a victory over the BM 5 series, so many generations of E class have been ignored and all the praise given to the ugly bmw.

I believe the the last generation E class was actually a better car then the previous 5 series but again it lost out unfairly.

But this time round Merc have done a great job they are like Chelsea winning a lot more then they did 10 years ago, BMW is now Arsenal 3rd place not champions anymore past it!!!

1st = mERC

2nd = Audi

3rd = Bmw

4th = VW

[/quote]

Well, remember this is (so far) just Autocar's, or to be more accurate Andew Frankel's, view that the E-Class is the better car. I've read a test between these two cars in another magazine, which prefered the 5-series.

Nevertheless, the E-Class estate is a damn fine car. If only it wasn't such a pain to park in urban areas because of its sheer size.

10 February 2010

[quote Overdrive]If only it wasn't such a pain to park in urban areas because of its sheer size.[/quote]

The problem is finding a big-enough parking space...otherwise, it's quite easy to park! As with other Mercedes, it's got an excellent turning circle, meaning that it can fit in the tightest of spaces (I think they only need 1 metre more than the length of the car to be able to get into the parking space...other cars need a parking space which is around the length of the car and another half). I didn't initially believe this, until I saw my father manoeuvring the previous-gen E-Class...simply astonishing!

Also, I think that this E-Class can give you directions on how to park the car after it finds for you a big-enough space.

 

- Follow your own star -

11 February 2010

[quote crazyal]If you go into a Mercedes dealership and want a manual gearbox, the salesperson will be able to count on one hand the number of C-Class and above cars sold with a manual.[/quote]

just because they don't sell many does that mean they're no good??

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