Earlier this year we finally clapped eyes on the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class at the North American International Auto Show. Seven years since the last E-Class was launched, the 2016 edition ushered in some pretty major updates, including the introduction of a new generation of four-cylinder diesel engines as well as a comprehensive exterior makeover modelled heavily on the curvaceous form of the latest C-Class and S-Class. Now, hot on the heels of the previously revealed Saloon and Cabriolet comes the third model to join the E-Class stable, the 2016 Estate.
In the UK, the new estate will be served up with two differing diesel engine combos. The smaller four-cylinder E220 d uses a 2.0 litre 194bhp unit whilst the more powerful E 350 d draws its power from a six-cylinder 3.0 litre engine capable of 258bhp if pushed to its limits. The third option is earmarked AMG, the byword for Mercedes performance. Like the E350 d, the E 43 AMG estate will debut later this year. Expect fireworks from the 401bhp 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine which comes fully equipped with standard issue AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive sports suspension and 9-speed automatic transmission.
With a loading capacity of 670 to 1820 litres, the new E-Class estate will whisk you, your passengers as well as up to 745kg worth of stuff around in trademark German luxury. Luggage lugging is a breeze thanks to a plethora of hands-free gadgets such as electric folding rear seat backrests, an easy-pack electric tailgate that can be halted in any position and an optional automatic boot lid which pops up or down by sensing your foot swish under the rear bumper.
On the road, self-levelling rear air suspension ensures that the E-Class estate always stays horizontal, even when fully laden, whilst Air Body Control extends this weight-compensating rear air suspension all around the car. Towing is just as much of a doddle, thanks to the addition of a fully power-adjustable and retractable tow bar whilst ESP trailer stabilisation and Crosswind Assist features help to keep your payload on the straight and narrow.
Whether in Saloon, Cabriolet or Estate guise, the E-Class has always been a handsome devil. The 2016 E-Class Estate is of course no exception. As on the Saloon model, the front end design varies depending on your choice of trim level. While the base spec E-Class Estate wears the classic Mercedes grille, the premium Avantgarde line and the AMG variant both don the sports radiator grille, discernible by its large central Merc star. For the first time, the estate gets aluminium silver roof rails as standard whilst a slightly revised roof spoiler and horizontal, two-piece LED tail lights round off the E-Class’s refreshed if not altogether revamped look.
You’ll find a selection of added extras inside the 2016 Estate’s amply propertied cabin. Debuting on the new E-Class, touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel allow the instrument cluster and multimedia system to be controlled at the swipe of a finger. Meanwhile, the panel itself can be replaced by two optional high-resolution 12.3-inch screens if required. A heat comfort package provides not just heated seats but also keeps your arms toasty with heated armrests in the doors and on the centre console. Out back, the rear bench seat can be transformed into a gaming hub or cinema courtesy of plug and play tablets integrated into the back of the front seats.
The anticipated array of intelligent drive systems aboard the E-Class Estate is headlined by Active Brake Assist, Remote Parking Pilot and Drive Pilot, the closest thing yet to autonomous driving on a production Merc. For the first time, the autopilot will keep the car at a specified distance behind vehicles in front on all types of road and at speeds of up to 130mph with consummate ease.
The estate version of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is all set to knock up alongside some of the ATP Tour’s biggest stars at the MercedesCup tennis tournament in Stuttgart later this month. All three power variants will be on UK sale by the end of the year, with the E220 d due to arrive in showrooms as early as this autumn.