Three petrol engines and three CDI diesel engines will initially be available for the new Mercedes Estate, with outputs ranging from 150 hp to 204 hp. The power plants for the E 220 CDI, E 270 CDI and E 320 CDI models are from the second generation of sophisticated common-rail engines and deliver up to eight per cent more torque and around five per cent more output than the CDI engines fitted in the outgoing models. Fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 2.9 mpg (E 320 CDI). This, the flagship diesel model, develops an impressive 500 Nm of torque from just 1800 rpm.
The line-up of petrol engines offered by Mercedes Benz features two six-cylinder models – for the E 240 and the E 320 – as well as a newly developed four-cylinder power plant incorporating the unique TWINPULSE system. The latter combines numerous technologies – such as compressor supercharger, intercooler, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and Lanchester balancer – to minimise fuel consumption and maximise driving pleasure and refinement. With an output of 163 hp, the new E 200 KOMPRESSOR covers 31 miles per gallon in the NEDC combined cycle, 1.6 mpg better than before.
Level control with additional air reservoirs as standard
The chassis of the new Estate is based largely on the sophisticated axle systems that feature on the E-Class Saloon and ensure extremely high levels of safety, agility and comfort. The multi-link independent rear suspension is made entirely of aluminium and comes with level control fitted as standard. Unlike the previous hydropneumatic system, this self-levelling suspension is based on fully supporting air reservoirs which keep the vehicle at the same level, regardless of the vehicle load. In other words, the spring travel on the rear axle remains constant whatever the load, thus ensuring optimum ride comfort at all times.
Optional equipment available for the E-Class Estate includes the AIRMATIC DC air suspension system which constantly adapts the force of the shock absorbers and the spring rate to suit the current driving situation.
Three lines for individual design and equipment requirements
Three distinctive design and equipment lines – CLASSIC, ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE – meet different customer requirements. Even the basic model, CLASSIC, comes with a standard package that includes CD radio, automatic climate control, Sensotronic Brake Control, sidebags, windowbags, fine wood trim, light-alloy wheels and a host of other comfort and safety-related features. The ELEGANCE model does full justice to its name with discreet chrome trim on the bumpers, side rub strips and door handles, as well as a radiator grille with vanes painted in atlas grey, whilst the AVANTGARDE version distinguishes itself with line-specific, dynamically designed bumpers and side skirts, as well as cockpit instruments with white dials. Powerful bi-xenon headlamps and LED brake lights are also standard equipment on this model.
In the UK, the starting range consists of: E 200 KOMPRESSOR, E 240, E 320, E 220 CDI, E 270 CDI and E 320 CDI. The eight-cylinder models, E 500 and E 55 AMG follow in the autumn. UK prices and specifications will be announced nearer the launch. The 2003 registration projection is 2500 new E-Class Estates, with 3000 units in a full year.Published 10 January 2003