Isn’t it odd how turning a saloon into an estate can totally alter a car’s appeal? It is just a bit more boot space, after all.
For me this was exactly what happened with the Mercedes E-class, which we road tested this week in E350 CDI estate form. I have driven the equivalent saloon and it’s great, but from a completely subjective point of view I find it wholly uninteresting.
I may even have suggested to some well-respect journos that the E-class was too middle-aged, and that the XF was much more interesting, which caused some consternation (possibly more about who I was calling middle-aged than about the cars) but that goes to prove how un-scientific my preference of premium saloon is.
I don’t deny that the E-class is brilliantly put together, comfortable, has a great range of engines and does all the things that an E-class needs to do. But I still look at the saloon and feel little personal interest (E63 AMG aside).
The estate is a different matter. I look at the estate and wonder how long I’ll have to wait before I can afford one, and I look forward to that moment. I actually like the idea of buying a low-price, high mileage E350 CDi estate in ten years time and just running it forever until it eventually gives up. This is currently what I plan to do with my own 135,000 mile, 1991 Mercedes 190E, which could well see me through until 2020 if it remains as indestructible as it appears to be now.