New upscale load hauler will be the biggest of its kind. It's packed with innovations, too.

This is the new Mercedes-Benz E-class estate, the fifth version since the original first saw light of day back in 1977. It’ll go on sale here from early next year and is expected to re-take its place as standard-setter for those who want a big, luxurious car in which to cart around loads of stuff.

Mercedes-Benz has long positioned itself as the make known for technology-packed cars, and this newcomer continues in that vein. From a system that detects whether the driver is growing drowsy to one that applies emergency braking if it ‘senses’ that an accident is about to happen, it’s all there.

But its load carrying capacity is where it really scores, because it will take a bigger load than any other estate car. All models, too, will have a powered tailgate, a luggage cover that lifts automatically and rear seats that drop flat into the floor at the pull of a catch to extend load space. All cars also have self-levelling air suspension as standard.

A third row of rear seats is an option to make it a seven seater. These, if fitted, fold into the boot floor until needed.

Safety is well up to the mark, too. The car packs nine airbags as standard, including one to protect the driver’s knees, and an ‘active’ bonnet, designed to reduce injuries in collisions involving pedestrians.

The estate will be the third member of the E-class family, joining the saloon and coupe introduced this year. A cabrio is also due next spring. The estate model line-up will be a big one, giving a choice of eight engines. Six will available from launch, including two 2.2-litre diesel engines offering 170bhp or 204bhp. Both promise identical economy and emissions figures of up to 48.7mpg overall and 150g/km of CO2.

Petrol engines will start with a 1.8-litre unit promising 183bhp, up to 36.7mpg and 179g/km of CO2 emissions, running to a 5.5-litre V8 producing 388bhp and returning up to 25.4mpg and emissions of 258-260g/km.

Three specification levels will be available – SE, Avantgarde and Sport.

Stephen Jury


August 6, 2009

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