Mercedes-Benz will publicly unveil the latest version of its E-Class Estate model this week, not at a motor show but the MercedesCup tennis tournament in Stuttgart.
The launch of the sixth-generation model, which goes on sale in July, follows the arrival of the E-Class saloon earlier this year. Its main targets will be big hitters the BMW 5 Series Tourer and the Audi A6 Avant.
A completely new body shape marks out the new E-Class Estate – evolved from its smaller sibling the C-Class, the body shell is bolder with a more swooping profile.
Despite the new model boasting a lower roof line, Mercedes claims best-in-class rear-seat head and elbow room for the Estate, together with boot space that is 670 litres as standard – 25 litres less than its predecessor but more than its direct rivals. This can extend to 1,820 litres by dropping the rear seats.
Cargo capacity can also be extended by 30 litres by repositioning the rear-seat backrest at a 10-degree steeper angle, while before the end of 2016 a third-row folding bench seat will be offered for children, as in previous versions.
Three powertrains will be offered, all matched to the 9G-Tronic automatic transmission as standard. Initial UK models will be 220d versions powered by an all-new four-cylinder 1950cc diesel engine of 191bhp and 295lbft of torque. It will crest 62mph from rest in 7.7 seconds and go on to 146mph, while official combined cycle fuel economy is 67mpg with CO2 emissions of 109g/km.
In late 2016 the E 350d will join the range, its six-cylinder 2987cc diesel offering 254bhp and 467lbft of torque. The 0-62mph is 6.2 seconds, top speed an electronically-limited 155mph, with fuel economy of 52mpg and CO2 emissions of 140g/km.
At the same time Mercedes will launch its AMG performance model, the E43 4Matic, with 290bhp, and 384lbft from its 3-litre V6 engine, along with 4Matic all-wheel drive. It will reach 62mph in 4.7 seconds, go on to 155mph with fuel economy of 34mpg and CO2 emissions of 192g/km.
The new E-Class Estate will offer many features seen on previous models, notably the self-levelling rear air suspension, while inside the car replicates the saloon, a major change from its predecessor – notably the touchpads, mounted between the front seats and on the steering wheel and able to be issue commands to the Infotainment system by thumb swipes, which Mercedes says keeps with its safety motto of ‘hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.’
The most desirable interior upgrade on the options list will be a optional double panel with two 12-inch digital screens. According to its creators the resultant widescreen cockpit display appears to float in the air, providing a large display with virtual instruments in the driver’s field of view along with a central display above the centre console. The driver can choose between ‘Classic’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Progressive’ display modes.