From £35,2059
Six-cylinder diesel power makes E-Class Estate pricey, but it’s still one of the most seductive and multi-talented new cars in the real world

What is it?

This is the new Mercedes E-Class in one of its most convincing forms: with a strong, decently economical and refined V6 diesel in the front, and up to 1820 litres of immaculately managed carrying capacity inside its estate-car hind quarters.

The E350 d comes along as Mercedes fleshes out the E-Class Estate offering at both ends of the model range, after introducing the car only a few months ago. A 148bhp 2.0-litre E200 d slots in alongside the 191bhp E220 d, bringing the wagon’s pecuniary entry point down below £37,000 – while the 396bhp Mercedes-AMG E43 pushes the range’s upper price threshold close to £60k, with a full-flooded E63 shortly to come in above that.

Four-cylinder petrol and ‘plug-in’ petrol-electric derivatives are on offer too, of course - making this ‘W213’-generation version of Mercedes’ long-lived mid-sized executive option more various in its engine options than any before it.

But Mercedes’ decision to offer the tax-saving E350e in saloon-guise-only means the 350 d Estate’s existence isn’t threatened by its petrol-electric sibling quite as directly as its four-door equivalent. Something which, for those who care more about how well a car works in the real world than how much appeal it may have on the order form, is to be welcomed.

What's it like?

By comparison with some of the high-performance multi-cylinder diesel engines recently offered by Audi, BMW and Porsche, the decade-old ‘OM642’ V6 diesel in the E350d isn’t exactly headline-grabbing. And yet it remains so good at ushering the car along that it seldom really needs to break a sweat, and perfectly suits the brisk but relaxed stride that so much else about the car encourages you to adopt.

Weighing close-to two tonnes, the E-Class Estate depends on torque for that sense of easy pace – and the E350d has 457lb ft of the stuff from just 1600rpm. That’s enough to make a heavy car seem surprisingly light, and to put meaningful extra potency under even smallish accelerator pedal extensions.

The car’s nine-speed automatic gearbox is also tuned very cleverly to keep the crankshaft operating along its torque peak, and shifts more quickly and intuitively than Mercedes’ auto boxes used to. The upshot is simply that, while other manufacturers are desperate to convince you that their latest big diesel engine is as exciting as a petrol, Mercedes seems happy to continue to let this one stick to what it’s good at: lazy-revving, laid-back, smooth muscularity.

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The E-Class comes with self-levelling air-sprung rear suspension as standard, with all-corner air springs an option that was fitted to our test car. The way the car rides and handles will leave nobody in doubt about its priorities. This is a modern luxury executive car rather than a sports saloon, which makes it all the more distinctive amongst a field of rivals increasingly congregated at the sporting end of the dynamic spectrum. And so an equivalent Jaguar XF or BMW 5-series is a touch more direct and involving (not that you can buy a wagon version of the former).

But if you want proper devotion to the causes of loping comfort, inner-cabin calm and effortless ease-of-use, the E-Class provides it. The car steers with moderate and consistent weight and pace, and little or no steering feel – but also with a matching imperviousness to bump-steer. The ride is medium-soft, dealing very well with hollows and lumps in the road surface, although occasionally tripping up a little bit over sharp ridges. And while the car’s comfort bias makes its steering response a little bit sleepy, lateral body control is still respectable – the car more likely to run out of vertical poise on a testing B-road before it runs out of cornering grip.

The richness, comfort and practicality of the E-Class Estate’s cabin matches its suave and relaxing performance and handling very neatly. Among the highlights here are Mercedes’ huge and appealingly well-rendered optional digital instrument and infotainment screens, superbly comfortable leather seats, colour-selectable ambient lighting strips, and plenty of ornate and tactile chrome trim.

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Second-row occupant space is strong, with room for three adults when needs must. And the car’s boot – which, at 640 litres with the seats in place, beats all of its immediate rivals for carrying capacity – benefits from three-way 40:20:40 split-folding seatbacks and a powered tailgate as standard. It can also be fitted with a third row of seats, facing rearwards and suitable for children only, for those who want their family wagon to be able to serve as an occasional seven-seater.

Should I buy one?

The E350d Estate follows a familiar pricing strategy from Mercedes, pushing it a few thousand pounds above its nearest rivals on showroom price. Though it’s new to the class, it’s not the fastest-accelerating, the most frugal or the most CO2-efficient option in the field, either.

But paying a premium does get you a family car with a deeply impressive array of qualities here: one that that mixes outstanding practicality, comfort and luxuriousness with performance that’s strong in so many respects.

You’ll need to migrate even further up the model range to find an E-Class with much in the way of driver appeal. But you wouldn’t use that as an excuse to change much about this car, which plays the relaxing old-school ‘big Benz’ very adeptly indeed.

Mercedes E350 d AMG Line Estate 

Location Feltham, Middlesex; On sale now; Price £49,775; Engine V6, 2987cc, turbodiesel; Power 255bhp; Torque 457lb ft; Gearbox 9-spd automatic; Kerbweight 1890kg; 0-62mph 6.0sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 48.7mpg; CO2/tax band 151g/km, 30% Rivals: Audi A6 Avant 3.0 TDI 272, BMW 530d M Sport Touring

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Comments
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Add a comment…
michael knight 28 November 2016

50 Gland? wowzer. And it's

50 Gland? wowzer. And it's burning soon-to-be-outlawed fuel. A collectors item for the purveyor of ancient taxis.
xxxx 28 November 2016

Mercedes

Of course Mercedes strange intermediate reliability will always be an issue, one car will be fine and the next identically spec'd car will breakdown. Just ask Lewis, me bitter, never.
275not599 28 November 2016

The habits of a troll

The habits of a troll - number one: always comments on the poster, not on the car.
289 28 November 2016

@275not599

LoL 275...Haha, how true.

Actually I just ignore the twat. He is totally irrelevant to my life.

Winston Churchill 29 November 2016

289 wrote:

289 wrote:

LoL 275...Haha, how true.

Actually I just ignore the twat. He is totally irrelevant to my life.

^^^ Not ignoring me. ^^^

bowsersheepdog 4 December 2016

Winston Churchill wrote:

Winston Churchill wrote:
289 wrote:

LoL 275...Haha, how true.

Actually I just ignore the twat. He is totally irrelevant to my life.

^^^ Not ignoring me. ^^^

Quite correct, he isn't ignoring you. He is, however, quoting your own utter failure to practice what you preach, since it is the precise same error that yourself had made slightly earlier.

Winston Churchill 29 November 2016

275not599 wrote:

275not599 wrote:

The habits of a troll - number one: always comments on the poster, not on the car.

^^^Commented on the poster and not the car.^^^

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