Fifty years after Mercedes-Benz’s first ever station wagon, the 1966 Universal based on the 200D to 230S fintail models, the German carmaker presented the sixth-generation of their E-Class Estate, also known as the T-Model and Wagon.
It’s a smarter and more stylish looking model than its predecessor drawing its inspiration from the smaller C-Class Estate with a less angular design, especially at the back where it dons a more sloping tailgate, along with a sportier roofline.
With a luggage volume of 670 liters with the rear seat bench in place and 1,820 liters when folded, capacity is down by 25 liters and up to 135 liters respectively over the previous model, but that’s a small price to pay for the new E-Class Estate’s sleeker appearance. Plus, it still beats both the Audi A6 Avant (565 liters / 1,680 liters) and BMW 5-Series Touring (560 liters / 1,670 liters), while as an extra bonus, the new Benz wagon will again be optionally available with a third, folding bench seat for children.
Also, while luggage volume is slightly down, the new E-Class Estate retains the previous model’s 1,100mm (43 inches) loading width between the wheel arches allowing the cargo area to accommodate a Europallet.
The rear seat backrest comes with a 40:20:40 split as well as a new function that allows to position it at an approximately 10‑degree steeper angle that creates an additional 30 liters of cargo volume while continuing to enable full use of five seats, as standard. Other features worth mentioning include the standard EASY-PACK electromechanical tailgate that can be opened with kicking motion under the bumper, a fully power-adjustable retractable and extendible trailer coupling with ESP trailer stabilisation and Crosswind Assist (optional extra), and a holding device for cycle racks that can accommodate up to four bikes weighing up to 100kg (220 pounds).
Based on the new W213 E-Class saloon, the Wagon comes with a self-levelling rear air suspension as standard allowing the rear to always stay horizontal, even when fully laden (up to 745 kg / 1,643 lbs, depending on the model) or with all the towing capacity in use (up to 2100 kg / 4,629 lbs). Optionally, it can be fitted with Merc’s AIR BODY CONTROL all-round air suspension.
Powering the Estate model in Europe at launch will be a range of three diesel engines, the 150PS (148hp) 2.0L E200d, 194PS (191hp) 2.0L E220d and 258PS (255hp) 3.0L V6 E350d, and four petrol units, the 184PS (181hp) 2.0L E200, 211PS (208hp) 2.0L E250, 333PS (328hp) 3.5L V6 E400 4Matic, and the 401PS (396hp) 3.0L V6 E43 4Matic AMG. At market launch, all models are equipped as standard with the new 9G‑TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission.
Until Merc unleashes the E63 AMG Wagon, the title of the fastest model in the range goes to the E43 AMG 4Matic that hits 100km/h (62mph) in a swift 4.7 seconds topping out at an electronically limited 250km/h (150mph). Like its sedan sibling, it comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission with shorter shift times, tuned chassis with standard air suspension all around, a rear-biased (31:69) 4Matic all-wheel drive system, a body kit, sports trimmed interior and 19-inch wheels.
Mercedes will begin accepting European orders for most E-Class Estates in late summer with first deliveries at the end of the year.
For its market launch in the USA in early 2017, the E-Class Wagon will be available with a 3.5-liter Biturbo V6 gasoline engine in the E400 4MATIC Wagon producing329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. It will be equipped as standard with the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes didn’t say when and with which engines it will expand the range in North America.