Mercedes will score a world first by offering a hybrid estate car when it launches the new E-class wagon in 2010.
Recently spotted testing near Stuttgart, the next generation, W212 E-class is underpinned by an all-new large car platform and will offer hybrid-electric powertrains, along with ultra-clean Bluetec diesel engines.
Mercedes’ two-mode hybrid system works in a similar way to the Toyota Prius’, but teams an 18bhp electric motor with an ultra-clean 2.2-litre Bluetec diesel engine.
The new estate will be significantly bigger than the current model - which is already the largest premium wagon on the market – with a longer wheelbase and more luggage space. Other engines are likely to be familiar from the current range, so four petrol units ranging from the 1.8-litre four cylinder petrol to the 5.5-litre V8 are expected, along with three diesels engine including the 2.2- and 3.0-litre CDIs.
In saloon form the new E-class is expected to go into production late in 2009, but spotting this wagon mule car out testing suggests the estate version will follow very soon afterwards.