There is something about a three-pointed star on the front of the car that commands respect. Lane-hogging drivers on the motorway tend to melt aside at the sight of one in the rear-view mirror. Mercedes-Benz is the world's oldest car maker, and one of the most respected. New in its range for 2013 was the latest incarnation of the E-Class, and alongside the saloon is the estate model which is one of the most commodious cars of its size on the market.
Within an overall length of just under five metres, this big Mercedes estate car can pack in up to 1,855 litres of carrying capacity, and its standard boot space with all the seats in place is a very useful 600 litres. That makes it a versatile family wagon capable of transporting five people in upper-crust comfort together with a generous amount of luggage.
The choice of engines in the E-Class Estate includes two-litre (211 bhp) petrol, 5.5 litre (557 or 585 bhp) petrol, 2.1 litre (170 or 204 bhp) diesel, 3.0 litre (252 bhp) diesel and a 2.1 litre (204 bhp) diesel-electric hybrid. There are two main� trim levels: SE and� AMG Sport, with the full-blown AMG performance and equipment package topping the range in the 5.5 litre V8 models.
Prices start from £34,665 for a 220 CDI with the 170 bhp diesel engine, and rise to a top-rung 63 AMG model with a 5.5 litre, 585 bhp petrol engine at £85,880.Performance
With a three-litre V6, 24-valve engine teamed with a seven speed automatic transmission, the E350 Estate has plenty of punch for strong performance, but BlueTec eco measures including stop-start and braking regeneration ensure that the fuel economy does not suffer unduly. For a large estate car with this level of performance, a combined average economy figure of just over 46 mpg is not at all bad. The CO2 output of 159 g/km puts it in band G for VED, so the annual road tax bill is £175.
Power output for the version we tested is 248 bhp peaking at 3,600 rpm, and maximum� torque is a lusty 457 lb ft coming in at 1,600 rpm and sustained through to 2,400 rpm, so there is plenty of punch comparatively low down in the rev range. This mid-range version will sprint to the benchmark 62 mph in a whisker under seven seconds, and the top speed on a trip to a derestricted autobahn would be 152 mph.
Even the most modestly powered E-Class Estate, the 220 CDI, has a 0-62 mph time of 8.8 seconds and a 133 mph top speed. At the top of the range, the E-Class Estate 63 AMG S has supercar pace with a 0-62 mph time of 4.2 seconds, and an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph.
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