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Mercedes-Benz's elegant, hi-tech E-Class really is 'estate' of the art

PUBLISHED: 08:49 28 November 2016 | UPDATED: 08:49 28 November 2016

Elegant, hi-tech E-Class is the latest in a long and formidable line of large Mercedes-Benz estate cars.

Elegant, hi-tech E-Class is the latest in a long and formidable line of large Mercedes-Benz estate cars.

Mercedes-Benz

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate is a stylish and hugely practical way to carry passenger and loads comfortably over long distances, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Elegant, hi-tech E-Class is the latest in a long and formidable line of large Mercedes-Benz estate cars.Elegant, hi-tech E-Class is the latest in a long and formidable line of large Mercedes-Benz estate cars.

Mercedes-Benz has an enviable reputation for large, luxurious, load-luggers and the latest E-Class estate is true to form.

Elegant and stylish, this estate combines practicality with desirability to transport passengers and loads huge distances comfortably and capably.

Under the bonnet

Gor for the larger 12.3in display screens to create a wide cockpit.Gor for the larger 12.3in display screens to create a wide cockpit.

The E-Class debuts the new, highly-efficient 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with 194hp in the 220d. It’s more refined than the old 2.1-litre unit but can’t match the silkiness of the 258hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel in the 350d, or its huge low-down pull.

That said, the 220d does the job admirably with the big plus point, especially for business users, being the high economy and low emissions.

The new standard nine-speed automatic gearbox helps with a smoother and more responsive power delivery, especially when kicked down.

How it drives

The E-Class estate is a delight to drive but it’s more mile-muncher than sports tourer. That said, it’s more than competent on twisty roads, with its sheer size the limiting factor, but it’s in its element wafting along fast roads and motorways where its ride refinement and high-speed stability shine.

AMG Line looks better with its more dynamic styling but loses out to entry-level SE on ultimate ride comfort with standard 19in wheels – optional 20in ones on the test car – making the low-speed ride firmer and more sensitive to poor surfaces.

Space and comfort

The E-Class can carry four or five adults comfortably in its spacious cabin but the estate is a huge cargo carrier too. Offering 670 litres of load volume, and 1,820 litres with the 40/20/40 split rear seat backs released from the boot itself and folded flat, the boot swallows loads, even a Europallet with a minimum 1,100mm width between the wheelarches. And, with its electric drive, the load cover rises when the tailgate is opened.

Self-levelling rear air suspension as standard keeps a fully-loaded E-Class estate on an even keel.

At the wheel

The driving position is clear and uncluttered with all the electric adjustment you need to find the ideal set-up at the wheel.

Invest in the bigger, optional Comand Online infotainment system and you get a 12.3in colour display in the centre of the fascia and the 12.3in TFT instrument display, in place of analogue dials, and you have a floating, widescreen cockpit. I also loved the touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel to control the instrument cluster and multimedia system.

Final say

The E-Class takes Mercedes-Benz’s large estate to a new level of class and luxury, debuting hi-tech features that will spread across the model line-up in time. And that just proves E-Class also fills a big role in the Mercedes range.

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