Few large estates are quite as comfortable as the E-Class Estate – especially if you pick the optional air suspension. You wouldn’t exactly call it fun to drive, however…
You can get the Mercedes E-Class Estate with three diesel engines and as a high performance petrol-powered AMG E43 version.
The standard four-cylinder E200d model is best suited to pottering around town. It grumbles a little when you accelerate hard but it settles down into a reasonably quiet cruise and returns around 55mpg compared to Mercedes’ claimed 67.3mpg.
The faster E220d model is well worth considering if you do lots of motorway miles. It returns almost identical fuel economy to the E200d version but can accelerate from 0-62mph a whole second faster in 7.7 seconds.
If you rarely venture into town and want an estate that’ll blast past slow-moving traffic with ease, you’ll want to spend extra for the six-cylinder E350d model. It’s smoother, quieter and faster than the E200d and E220d models and still manages to return around 40mpg in real-world conditions.
Fancy an estate that’ll give some two-door sportscars a run for their money? Then the E43 is the Mercedes E-Class Estate to go for. It’ll struggle to return more than 25mpg but its 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 helps it sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds – very nearly as fast as a Porsche 911.
If it’s truly barnstorming performance you’re after, you’ll want to consider the E63 model. It might look broadly similar to the standard Mercedes E-Class Estate but it comes with a 571hp turbocharged V8 engine that’ll rocket it from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds. It will set you back more than £80,000, however.
The E-Class Estate isn’t just hugely comfy, it’s packed with tech – hand over £1,695 for the Driver Assistance Plus package and it can pretty much drive itself on motorways
On a slightly more sensible note, there’s also a plug-in hybrid Mercedes E-Class Estate E300de. Mercedes claims it’ll deliver more than 140mpg, but you can expect to see it return closer to 80mpg in normal driving conditions. Charging the onboard batteries from 10% to 100% takes just 90 minutes using a dedicated household wall charger, after which you’ll be able to drive for up to 30 miles without using the diesel engine at all. Even with these eco-friendly credentials, the E300de’s no slowpoke – it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in a smidge under six seconds.
All cars come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard that’s smooth and easy to use but it’s not quite as responsive when you put your foot down as the eight-speed unit in the BMW 5 Series Touring.
If you live somewhere that suffers from cold winter snaps, you’ll want to pick an E220d or E350d model fitted with Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system. They’ll set you back £1,600 more than the standard rear-wheel-drive versions but should help make sure an icy driveway doesn’t stop you getting to work on time.
The E-Class Estate’s large rear windows mean it’s a little easier to see out of than the E-Class saloon, but its sheer size means it’s still a tad tricky to park or thread through tight city streets. Thankfully, all models come with a reversing camera and a system that’ll automatically steer you into bay and parallel parking spaces.
All estate models come with air suspension for the rear wheels as standard which helps soften the blow of large potholes and keeps the car level when it’s fully loaded. Its body is actually a little bit stiffer than the saloon too, which helps make it a touch more agile in tight corners – if not quite as fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series Touring.
Full air suspension will set you back an extra £1,495 but it’s well worth paying for – especially if you’re a high-mileage driver. It effectively separates you from pockmarked British roads with a cushion of air, making the estate even more comfortable.
The standard nine-speed automatic gearbox is excellent and manages to pick the right gear at the right time, almost without fail. It’s not quite as quick to change down when you accelerate as the 5 Series Touring’s eight-speed ‘box but it slushes gears together at slow speeds more smoothly than the V90’s automatic.
The estate’s just as quiet as the saloon too, but the larger 19-inch alloy wheels on AMG-Line models do produce a little more tyre roar at motorway speeds than the SE’s standard 17-inch items.
To help make long drives even more relaxing, you’ll want to pick the £1,695 Driver Assistance Plus package. It comes with a bewildering selection of safety systems that work together to help the car effectively drive itself on motorways and in busy stop-start traffic. It’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you – providing you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
This bucketload of advanced technology helped the E-Class saloon achieve an impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2016, including a 95-per-cent adult occupant protection score. The estate version hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP but expect it to provide almost identical levels of protection.