The E-Class Estate enjoys a bit of a cult following among quite a few friends, including my sister. In its diesel format, and usually at least two decades old, Mercedes-Benz’s grand and grown-up motor car appears to win over its station wagon German rivals — the likes of Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring. These super fans all have young families and lead active lives, so abundant space is a key seller. They also want their cars to fuse function with a touch of old-school class and certainly not be showy.
Which is one of the reasons I’m keen to try out the all-new Mercedes E-Class Estate. The other is that I’m drawn to the station wagon aesthetic — the elongated sedan that maintains the elegance, but adds extra function, as in rear and trunk space. The car sent to me is also diesel-powered, albeit a refined engine that passes the stringent new London emissions regulations which forced the above-mentioned friends and sister to tearfully part with their older E-Classes.
The E 400 d 4MATIC on test has a 3.0-liter straight-six engine capable of producing 330 horsepower and 700 Nm, while acceleration to 62mph is in just over five seconds, impressive given the size of this car which is just shy of 5,000 mm in length and a little over 2,000 mm in width. Meanwhile, the E-Class Estate has a combined fuel consumption of around 40 mpg.
I’ve been sent the pinnacle “AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus” which comes with a host of goodies — styling elements adapted and borrowed from Mercedes-Benz’s motorsport sub-division. This includes pretty stylish 18-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloys, some special sporty body visual signifiers and a panoramic sunroof, which for a car of this length is an essential feature. Meanwhile, the trunk being the estate’s raison d’être, luggage space is ample, increasing from 640 to 1,820 liters with the rear seats lowered — perfect for packing in a couple of prams, or indeed some skis.
The cabin is conventionally stylish and comfortable in a way that you would expect of a Mercedes-Benz. Material choice is very traditional too, meaning our seats are covered in a thick layer of comfy leather, and the center console is finished in an open-pore ash wood veneer. The car comes with a seat comfort package, which includes luxuries like heated front seats, while the three-spoke multifunction AMG steering wheel is trimmed in Nappa leather. Finally, drive and entertainment information are displayed clearly on the 12.3-inch cockpit display, there is “Hello Mercedes” voice control, smartphone connectivity and handy wireless charging.
Our car comes with 64-color ambient lighting to alter the cabin mood. I have to admit to being partial to the concept since the choice of colors almost always feels artificial. For anyone who regularly reads my car reviews, I’m particularly offended by the purple ambiance which, despite its clear-to-me 80s disco connotations, seems to be a thing among German carmakers. Perhaps there is an audience for this. We do, however, enjoy the Burmester with its clear and concise surround sound system on our commutes.
Driving the E-Class Estate is a breeze, despite the extra length which I only take note of when trying to find London parking. The driving assistance package is pretty comprehensive too, comprising of blind spot assist, braking assist with cross-traffic function, emergency stop assist and much-needed and excellent parking assist.
With over 14 million sedan and estate E-Classes sold since 1946, this model is the best-selling series in the history of Mercedes-Benz. What’s more, the car on loan is only the tenth generation of E-Classes, which just shows that classic looks don’t age quickly.
Every Saturday my sister’s E-Class Estate would carry her and her three kids with their instruments, including my niece’s enormous double bass, to music school. The car did this effortlessly. She has struggled since to find a car that isn’t an SUV to perform the same task. If diesel prices had not soared and, perhaps more importantly, we weren’t facing a climate catastrophe, I think she would have jumped at this new model. The E-Class Estate will probably not get your heart racing, but its timeless design and functionality will certainly maintain its cult status for generations to come.