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The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate has been unveiled, revealing a typically commodious but slightly less accommodating model than its strong-selling predecessor. Planned to go on sale in July, with deliveries slated to begin towards the end of October, the new Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series rivalling load hauler follows the recently introduced new E-Class saloon into showrooms. Its starting price is expected to be close to the £36,660 of today’s best-selling model, the E220d Estate. A seven-seat version, which will be launched later, has also been confirmed.
The new E-Class Estate takes its styling inspiration from the smaller C-Class Estate, sporting a significantly less angular, more flowing look than its predecessor. The front end design, from the bonnet to the back edge of the front doors, is shared with the E-Class saloon, but the roof is fitted with aluminium roof rails. Unlike recent E-Class Estate models, the tailgate is angled slightly and there’s now greater tapering towards the rear, providing a less boxy shape than before.As with its saloon sibling, there are two separate grille treatments: base and Exclusive line trim models have a classic chromed treatment, while Avantgarde and AMG line trim models get a more sporting look with a large three pointed star in the middle of the grille. Inside, the cabin is virtually identical to that of the latest E-Class saloon, with an optional dual screen instrument and infotainment system dominating the dashboard. At 670 litres, luggage capacity is 25 litres down on the outgoing E-Class estate. However, it is still 105 litres more than that offered by the Audi A6 Avant and 110 litres more than the BMW 5 Series Touring. With the standard 40/20/40 split rear seats folded away, load capacity increases to 1820 litres, which is 130 litres less than before. An electric lever in luggage area can be used to automatically fold the rear seat backrests down without the need to climb inside, although even with the backrests folded, the forward part of the luggage compartment floor is not completely flat. Despite the reduction in overall luggage capacity, Mercedes-Benz claims the new E-Class Estate has lost little in terms of practicality. At 1100mm, the loading width between the rear suspension domes is sufficient to accommodate a standard European pallet, according to the German car maker. As before, an electric powered cargo blind comes as standard. It motors upwards when the tailgate is opened to ease access to the luggage compartment without the need to fully retract the cargo blind each time.
Another standard feature is a so-called Easy Pack tailgate with electro-mechanical operation for one-touch opening. There is also an optional remote opening feature offering hands-free access as part of an improved Keyless Go function. It uses a sensor to allow the tailgate to be opened by motioning your foot under the centre of the rear bumper. As with the old E-Class Estate, the new model features rear air suspension as standard. It provides automatic self levelling, allowing a payload of up to 745kg and a towing capacity of up 2100kg depending on the model. Mercedes-Benz has reworked the tow ball coupling for its latest load hauler, providing it with standard electric control. The UK will be getting a limited range of engines when the estate goes on sale in October, with the choice initially limited to two diesel powerplants. The newly launched 2.0-litre diesel engine will be sold in its 220d tune, meaning 194 hp, with a 258hp 3.0 V6 350d above that. The only other powerplant confirmed for the UK at present is the turbocharged V6 AMG 43, which will follow later; we won’t be getting the basic 220d or any smaller petrol powerplants.
Beyond that we’ll see the next AMG E63 later this year, although sales will begin in 2017, with 4-Matic all-wheel drive as standard. Although the previous range-topping AMG was a small seller – only 100 estates were sold in the UK last year – it’s seen as being a halo model for the company’s other estates. Other 4-Matic versions will follow. There is no economy penalty in not getting the basic E200d, with the 220d returning an identical 45.6mpg on the combined European cycle for average CO2 emissions of 138g/km respectively. Historically, the E-Class Estate has accounted for around a quarter of all E-Class sales in the UK.
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