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E-Class Estate next gen

It’s long, it’s lean and it looks absolutely fabulous, to quote a cliché. With the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate, the German designers and engineers have created another chapter in their history of making cars that are sheer pleasure to drive.

So what does the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate have to offer? As you would expect, the styling has been updated from what was seen in the past, with a touch of assertive chunkiness being blended with the smooth lines seen over past decades for a statuesque result. The bonnet on the new Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate, for example, looks particularly directional, with those angled lozenge-shaped twin headlights and those deep air intakes… but the Mercedes-Benz logo is still sitting proudly where it ought to be. One design feature this writer is particularly impressed with is what they’ve done with the daytime running lights. These wrap around the outline of the headlights themselves, as if the car is wearing Cleopatra-like eyeliner.

The rear view of the new Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate is more conservative, but still blends harmoniously with the overall styling rather than looking out of place. One particularly nice touch is what they’ve done with the dual exhausts, which echo the lozenges at the front rather than going for the more traditional round or square offerings seen on other cars. The brake lights also make “eyeliner” around the rear lamps. Side-on, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate looks sleek and tailored, with deep sculptured grooves running along the length of the body and hinting at the tough shell beneath the beautiful exterior. In short, the design team have really had fun with the new Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate.

The other place that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate has been improved is underneath the bonnet… which I’ll take a look at as soon as I can tear my eyes away from those fascinating daytime running lights. Three engines are on offer: two running on petrol and one on diesel. Working with the usual classification and naming system used by Mercedes, this means that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate can be broken down into the E 200, the E 250 CDI and the E 400, correlating with the 2.0-litre petrol, a 2.5-litre diesel and a 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine variants.

And these new engines have all the best that modern engineering can do. Remember when single-digit figures for the 0–100 km/h sprint were the sole preserve of sports cars and were never seen on stationwagons? Not any more. Even the slowest of the engines in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate is capable of getting up to the ton in 8.3 seconds (the E 200); the fastest time, however, goes to the E400, which does it in 5.4 seconds (the E250 CDI? 7.8 seconds). The acceleration times, of course, can be correlated with the power and torque curves. Power peaks at 135 kW at 550 rpm, 158 kW at 3800 rpm and 245 kW at 5500 rpm for the E 200, E250 CDI and E400 respectively. Torque, on the other hand, reaches its maximum at 300 Nm at 1200–4000 rpm, 500 Nm at 1600–1800 rpm and 480 Nm at 1400–4000, respectively, for the E200, E 250 CDI and E400. This is one of the few areas in which the E 250 CDI outperforms the E400 (and if you’re familiar with diesel engines, this isn’t surprising). The other area where the E250 CDI pips the E 400 at the post is in the area of fuel economy, where the E250 CDI will go through 5.1 L of petrol every 100 km (combined figures), while the E400 drinks 8.0 L (which still isn’t bad for a big petrol V6 engine). All three engines are coupled up to the rear-wheel drive train via a seven-speed automatic transmission.

You will find those engine options inside every new Mercedes E Class. The reason why someone would choose the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate over the sedan, coupe and cabriolet options is because of the space in the back. And the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate has got plenty. One particularly innovative feature is the double-layered load compartment floor: the top layer can fold away to reveal an extra 136 litres underneath. The boot space can also be transformed into a third row of seats, meaning that the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate is Mercedes’ answer to the MPV that doesn’t sacrifice style for the sake of capacity. The rear two seats, if you need to carry seven passengers, face backwards – so if you do go for the rear seat entertainment option, the people in this very back row won’t be able to see the screens. Access to the boot through the rear hatch in the E 400 is an absolute doddle with the Hands-Free function. Simply move your feet into the range of the sensor and up goes the tailgate. On the other models of Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate, the Easy Pack system is almost as easy – a simple touch of a button and you’re in. And if you really need a lot of room, the rear passenger seats (the middle row, if you like) are split-folding. You could sleep inside the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate if you wanted to – while it may be smaller, it certainly is more technologically advanced than my bedroom.

What the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate has got that my bedroom makes quite a large list. I do have a sound system, but not a 610-watt fourteen-speaker surround sound system (I wish!). The Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate does, and the volume control adapts to the road speed, adjusting itself depending on how fast you’re travelling. I have a comfy seat in my bedroom but this doesn’t have four-way lumbar support and a memory function that adjusts the seat position (and the steering column and the mirrors) like the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate does. This memory function also works in with one of the safety features: if the car’s sensors detect that things are getting a bit dicey and out of control, it will inflate the side and backrest cushions to keep you from being tossed around in the case of a crash and put the seat into the safest possible position into the bargain (memory package an option on the E200 but standard on the others). Other things that you’ll find as standard on all models of the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate but you won’t in my bedroom include: dual zone climate control with a pollen filter, rain sensing window wipers, or a voice-operated multimedia system that includes internet browsing function (when the car is stationary), Bluetooth interface, a navigation system with 3D mapping, and 10 GB of space for music files (if you don’t want to make the most of the USB input jack and iPod compatibility).

The memory function’s interface with the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate’s Pre-Safe feature is just one of the safety features in this car. Mercedes prides itself on excellent safety standards and seems to be in an “arms race” with other well-known European marques for making the safety car. The Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate adds to the usual collection of airbags (curtain, front, side and driver’s knee) with “pelvis bags” for the driver and front passenger. The Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate has sensors galore to let you know if things are getting a bit dicey: blind spot assistance, active parking assistance, collision prevention assist (in the E 200) and the full driving assistance package as standard on the E250 CDI and E200. This driving assistance package includes active blind spot assistance and active lane keeping assistance – the E400 throws in a 360° camera as well.

All these electronic assistants in the driving assist package let you know if you are about to hit something, and if you ignore the warnings and the car detects that you’re about to rear-end the person in front of you or have a close call with something beside you, the car will apply its own brakes, reducing speed to avoid or mitigate a crash (they haven’t yet added in an automatic voice that yells “What are you doing, you stupid idiot!?!?” when this happens). In this regard, the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate is almost as smart and as sensitive to what’s going on around it as a horse… except that the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate doesn’t decide to bolt at unusual noises. One particularly intriguing feature is the Attention Assistance, which comes as standard on all models. This is smart enough to detect when you change your driving style from normal and start showing signs of going into la-la land (either through drowsiness or being away with the pixies). If you do show signs of deviating from your usual driver profile, it will warn you with lights and sounds. You can switch this function off or put it into sensitive mode – a good choice for driving long straight roads in the middle of nowhere at night (Nullabor Highway, for example).

It’s hard to imagine how the makers can possibly improve on the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate. But who knows what the future will hold? Ten years ago, we’d never have thought that things like that Attention Assistance function would exist. But for now, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate is certainly a thoroughly modern vehicle at the forefront of what technology can do.

Current model series include:

  • Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate E200
  • Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate E250 CDI
  • Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate E400

For any more information on the Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quotes requests out to our national network of Mercedes-Benz dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!

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