With the E-Class Estate, Mercedes' designers have aimed to combine the comfort, safety and elegance of a saloon with the everyday practicality of an estate. Its competitors in the luxury estate segment include the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Jaguar XF Sportbrake.
Much emphasis in the E-Class Estate is on space and flexibility in utilizing that space. With an optional folding rear bench seat in the load compartment, the vehicle has room for up to seven occupants or 1,950 litres of stowage. This can be achieved by folding the rear seat backrest out of the way using a release lever. The rear bench also has a 1/3 to 2/3 split. Under the load compartment floor there's an additional 132 litres of stowage space.
Audi's A6 Avant is wider but shorter than the previous model, but actually has more space in the back for two adults to sit comfortably. The boot offers 565 litres of space which expands to 1,680 litres when the split-folding rear seats are folded down flat. That's a little more capacity than in the Jaguar XF Sportbrake or BMW 5 Series, but still less than the E-Class Estate's 1,950 litres. Having said that, passenger space - rear legroom in particular - is better in the BMW.
With Mercedes-Benz's new design idiom being one that is younger, fresher and with powerful accents through elegant detail solutions, the E-Class Estate takes to the road with a re-interpretation that highlights the vehicle's striking looks. An intensified interior and exterior design there may be, yet this car remains unmistakably a Mercedes.
The front of the new E-Class Estate is more fluent, with a swept bonnet that seamlessly transitions to the border of the radiator grille and the newly designed headlamps. The twin headlamp face distinctive to the E-Class is elegantly fused with one-piece headlamps, while staying true to its character. The standard specification LED headlamps combine aesthetics and safety. Providing a discrete, sporty cap is the expressive wing design of the front bumpers. Horizontally structured tail lamps and black inserts in the compact rear bumper emphasize the vehicle's width.
The latest E-Class editions ride on a wider and longer platform than before, putting them on a par with the BMW 5 Series on the specs sheet and making them, visually, a little more spacious and more open than, for example, the Jaguar XF.
Available in the Hong Kong market are the E 250 and E 63 AMG. Under the hood, the E 250 features the new-generation 4-cylinder engine with direct petrol injection that powers the E-Class for the first time. The E 63 AMG's powerhouse is a V8 biturbo engine.
When it comes to luxury, the E-Class Estate aims for its owner to want for nothing more. The stylish interior features attractive trim elements in polished aluminium and an analogue clock on the centre console that speak of driving culture and refinement. The newly designed 3-tube instrument cluster and head unit display in flat-frame design are both functional and trend setting. The usual arsenal of entertainment, navigation and safety features are of course featured in the new Estate.
Customization options are aplenty. Optional active multicontour seats for the driver and front passenger boast independently controllable air chambers which can be adjusted to individual physiognomic needs. Side bolsters automatically adjust to driving conditions, while extra comfort comes from a massage function with seven zones. The seats have been awarded a quality seal by 'Aktion Gesunder Rucken e.V.', a German association promoting products for healthy backs.
The THERMATIC automatic climate control allows for individual temperature and air distribution for the interior's left and right sides, while the optional THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control allows for further individuality between the driver, front passenger and second row.
The E-Class Estate also has an optional panoramic sliding sunroof (standard in the E 63 AMG) consisting of a fixed glass roof and an electronically operated glass sunroof that slides over the exterior of the roof.