What is it?
There’s something reassuringly constant about the Mercedes E Class. This is the brand’s heartland car, a car that you know will always be there, and will always offer the same considered blend of conservatism, advanced technology, good taste and fine manners.
The E-Class, and its differently labelled predecessors, has always been provided as a saloon, quite often a coupé and since 1978 as an estate, the first of these based on the long-lived W123. Mere months after the arrival of the seventh generation E-Class saloon we now have the estate, its speedy arrival no surprise given that one in three E-Classes is sold in this form across Europe.
The E-Class estate formula again remains constant, its boxier rear body providing a tailgate and a long, flat load floor. This time, though, the rear end has more of a coupé silhouette, despite which the seats-up load capacity rises from 600 to 640 litres, or 670 litres when you use the facility to position the backrest slightly closer to vertical. Self-levelling rear suspension is standard (the 350 gets Airmatic, too), the optional tow-hook is now electrically powered and height adjustable, the rear seats can be electrically released via boot-mounted buttons and the parcel shelf rises when the standard electric tailgate opens.
Waggling your foot beneath the back bumper to raise the tailgate only works if you order the option, but it now functions with the tow-hook. Later this year a foldaway third row of seats for kids will be available allowing space for seven.
The wagon is available with all the engine options offered in the saloon, the most popular of these is predicted to be the 220 d, featuring Mercedes’ all-new four-cylinder diesel. It promises useful improvements over the outgoing 220 d, its 7.7sec to 62mph, 61.4mpg combined and 120g/km of CO2 are all substantial improvements over the previous engine.
Much effort has been expended not only in making this engine quieter, but also making the E-Class estate’s cavernous cabin structure less of a noise-generating boom box. A strengthened engine bay, floor reinforcement struts and extensive sealing - including the door handles – are the results of this campaign. If you’re noise-obsessed, you can also order an acoustic pack featuring sound-suppressing glass, too, making the mighty, optional Burmester stereo that bit more impressive.