► Mercedes reveals new E-class Estate
► Range includes 396bhp E43 4Matic
► On sale in July from £38k
Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour? Unveiling the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-class Estate at the MercedesCup tennis tournament was clearly going to serve up (sorry) the opportunity for some ace (sorry) puns, and Mercedes wasn’t about to stand around on the baseline and let them fly on past without taking a swipe or two (oh, forget it).
For example, we’re told that the new E-Class Estate ‘sixth-generation model is as dynamic as the tennis pros and as spacious as centre court’. And to prove the latter there’s a column of tennis balls on the stage demarking the new load-lugger’s carrying capacity (12,000 of 'em will fill the E's boot).
Fault! Enough of that – how big is the new Mercedes E-Class Estate?
Minimum 670 litres with the seats up, maximum 1820 litres with the seats folded. Mercedes is resigned to reporting this is merely ‘one of’ the biggest in the segment rather than the most absolutely voluminous. Is style really more important than anything else these days?
But wait a minute – that is still more spacious than the BMW 5-series Touring (560-1670 litres) and the Audi A6 Avant (565-1680 litres). In fact, the only car we can find that’s actually able to accommodate more is the Skoda Superb Estate (660-1950 litres), and we can’t imagine there are many people cross-shopping between that and a brand new Merc. Let’s score that a premium win for the big E.
It's also the only passenger car that'll swallow a van-spec Europallet whole...
On top of which, the E-Class has 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats with angle-adjustable back rests as standard, and offers 1100mm between the wheel arches in the back. Making it one of few estate cars that can swallow a Europallet. Self-levelling rear air suspension is standard too (all-round adaptive Air Body Control remains extra), it can tow up to 2100kg, and there are all sorts of life-enhancing optional extras, including a foot-operated boot release and Easy-Pack load securing.
Ok, that’s all the dull stuff out of the way – tell me something exciting about the new 2016 E-Class Estate
Hmm. Unfortunately, it’s four-cylinder 191bhp E220d turbodiesel only when cars start arriving in the UK in October 2016, but come the end of the year this will be joined not only by the six-cylinder 254bhp E350d turbodiesel but the Mercedes-AMG E43 4Matic as well.
This last is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol that produces 396bhp, comes equipped with four-wheel drive in place of the usual rear-wheel drive, receives bespoke chassis tuning, and features a nine-speed auto breathed upon by Affalterbach to deliver shorter shift times. If it’s excitement you want, this is the closest you’re going to get until the full-on dragon-that’s-swallowed-some-firelighters Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate arrives in 2017.
I suppose it comes with all the tech from the E-class saloon?
Most definitely. Options includes the Drive Pilot that can steer the car on the motorway for up to a minute at a time, the Remote Parking Pilot, and the missile-lock-alike Distance Pilot Distronic, an adaptive cruise control system that can follow another vehicle all by itself up to 130mph. The future is... kinda scary.
Other items of note include optional ‘plug & play’ rear-seat iPad integration (available December 2016 in Europe), while an on-board concierge via the built-in ‘me connect’ system is rolling out across 19 European countries in June 2016.
You need to have Comand Online (which comes with a year's subscription), and then you just press a button in the car to be connected to a call centre that will help you with everything from route planning to booking theatre tickets.
Anything else before I nod off?
Funny you should say that, because Mercedes is also making a lot of noise about the new E-class Estate’s refinement – typically a difficult area for estate cars due to both their elongated profile and the big empty cavern of space inside, which tends to resonate like a wasp in a cajon. Here there are strength-increasing underfloor struts (as you’d find on a cabriolet), carefully applied sound insulation on the bodywork, and ‘sound absorbers’ under the rear seats and in the wheelarches.
Attention has also been paid to the engine and transmission mounts, the suspension kinematics, and the ‘aeroaccoustics’ – meaning everything from the door seals to the A-pillars and exterior mirrors has received treatment. You still have to pay extra for the Accoustic Comfort Package, though, which adds a special sound reducing film to the windscreen, even more sound deadening, and laminated safety glass in the side and rear windows that has a special film for absorbing infrared light to cool the interior.
How much is the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and when does it go on sale?
Order books for the new E-Class Estate open in the UK this July, ahead of first deliveries in October 2016. Pricing hasn’t officially been announced, but cargo optimised Mercedes usually cost around £2k more than their saloon car brethren, which suggests the new E-Class Estate will cost from around £38,000.
Read more about the latest Mercedes-Benz E-class