One the freshest models on display in the foyer of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart is the all new E-Class Estate. Now in its fifth generation with a pedigree that dates back to 1977 – since when more than one million models have been sold.
As with every estate, it is within the load area that the full story is told. Here Mercedes-Benz claims a class-leading position, ranking the newcomer as the largest estate car in the premium segment with a load space that can be expanded from 695 litres up to 1950 litres within an area large enough to accommodate an optional third row of seats.
A feature of its load compartment management system is a key-activated tailgate that opens automatically. Another is a quick-fold mechanism that lowers the split rear seat backs to create a level loading surface simply by means of a cable pull from the load compartment area. This procedure can be carried out without the need to adjust head restraints or rear-seat cushions.
Other practical features are a folding load compartment floor which can be raised up and secured in various positions to increase usable height and a securing net to prevent loads from sliding around in transit.
The new estate comes equipped with all of the technical innovations introduced in the E-Class saloon and coupé. Safety items include the much-publicised drowsiness detection system, automatic emergency braking, adaptive high beam assist and nine airbags. Air suspension with self-levelling at the rear is an additional feature.
Visually, the new Estate has the good-looks of its saloon sibling coupled with the strong shoulder-line of an estate. In addition to its larger load area, interior dimensions have been increased with more rear elbow and head room. Viewed in profile, its side pillar design and finish create an illusion that the windows are formed as a single unit. As befits an estate, the load area has a muscular, sweeping line and a rear end set off with chrome trim and wrap around LED tail lights cluster that highlights its practical purpose.
From the wide choice of engines available, the market in Ireland will be built around the E200CDI and E220CDI diesel versions, each of which comes with BlueEFFICIENCY low emissions technology and low road tax. Prices, which Mercedes-Benz chief executive Stephen Byrne claims will be as competitive as those of the new E-Class range as a whole, will be announced in the new year close to the date of its introduction.
Photos; Jarlath Sweeney