Mercedes E-Class Estate – Review
By Liam Bird
We’re all familiar with Janis Joplin trying to obtain a Mercedes Benz by some kind of divine intervention, but after having just handed back the keys to an E250 estate, I feel far more empathy with Joni Mitchell than I ever did for poor old Janis. Ms Mitchell, you see, sang the immortal line: ‘Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?’ And, right now, that’s exactly how I feel too. It might be a good idea though to point out that I haven’t spent the last few days driving a Big Yellow Taxi.
In a world where marketing departments spend thousands on trying to sell us Sportwagons, Avants, Scouts, Tourers, Station Wagons and Shooting Brakes – all of which, despite the extra metal behind their rear wheels, struggle to swallow all the family and their luggage – it’s good to know that Mercedes still make good old traditional estates. Proper ones with gargantuan boots you could sleep in if need be and, better still, in that direct no-nonsense German way, they call them estates too.
One glance is enough to confirm that an E-class estate is no sports-car. But arguably, if you’re in the market for either, the other is the last thing you need. That said though, there is something very attractive about Benz’s big load-lugger, especially if it’s in Avantgarde spec and it’s been treated with one or two extras from the options list. The 15mm lower sports suspension, 18inch alloys and unique rear valance with twin exhausts fitted to our test car all help make an already good looking car particularly handsome without diluting any of the easily identifiable Mercedes DNA.
Inside, there’s more Mercedes familiarity. A trademark large leather steering wheel frames a five-dial dash. As usual the gear selector is column mounted, meaning the centre console remains uncluttered and hides yet more useful storage space. The combined sat-nav and DAB unit is easy to fathom. Even if it is sometimes easy to confuse the cruise control and indicator stalks. Every switch, button, catch or latch has a feeling of reassuring indestructibility.
“Balances body control and comfort”
On the road too, the E-Class feels beautifully constructed. The steering, light at parking speeds, weights up nicely as your pace quickens. There’s more than enough torque to pass slower traffic. When worked hard the 2143cc 4 cylinder diesel does become a little vocal. But thanks to the seven-speed auto ‘box nothing seems to worry it unnecessarily. Progress remains incredibly smooth. The ride too balances body control and comfort well. Although it could be said it’s slightly softer than you might have expected from something designed for the autobahn.
But what really sets the E-Class apart is that it looks equally at home carrying five people in comfort to the airport, as it does arriving outside a Michelin-starred restaurant for a dinner reservation. Whether you drive it fully loaded or on you own, it’s both relaxed and satisfying. Start-stop technology means it’s capable of a claimed 53.3mpg. It feels like it’s been built to last forever. And thanks to that badge it will retain its value too. It’s probably the best estate in the business. I had to hand “mine” back: I’m missing it already.
Mercedes Benz CDI Blue Efficiency Avantgarde Estate
Engine: 2143cc 4 Cyl 16V Diesel
Transmission: 7 speed G-tronic Automatic
Power: 204 bhp @ 4200rpm
Torque: 368 lbft @ 1600 – 1800rpm
0-62mph: 7.8 sec
Max Speed: 144mph
Mpg: 53.3 (combined)
Price: £37,775 (car shown £44,610)