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The new Mercedes E-Class Estate brings elegant lines and relentless digitalization

Wagons are still alive and kicking

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest estate of them all? PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

The launch of a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is always a special moment for the company, the competition, and the fans of the brand alike. The model is still the bread-and-butter series for the German brand, and it has to perfectly mix business-class luxury with mainstream family appeal if it is to defend its place in the automotive food chain.

Maybe that’s why the firm has kept things nice and safe with the new E-Class Estate. No EQS-style design experiments or anything else that could upset the distinguished clientele. Just an elegant cargo carrier packed with all the things the carmaker’s customers love. That’s how it has just been unveiled and will soon be parked in showrooms across the world. Here’s a closer look at the latest Chedeng.

Every engine is electrified, including the diesels and the in-line-sixes. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

Let’s start with the engines. Unsurprisingly it’s all about hybrids and electrification. Half of all engine variants will be plug-in hybrids at launch, with many versions able to achieve a purely electric WLTP range of 100km or more.

When the new T-model hits showrooms during the summer, Mercedes will be offering the E-Class exclusively with four-cylinder engines. But don’t panic: The in-line-six blocks should follow a few months later, as will the diesel plug-in hybrids.

The most basic E is the E200 with 204hp, and for the time being the only diesel is the E220d with 197hp. The combustion engines are mild hybrids and all come with an integrated starter generator (ISG), a new battery, and a more powerful electric motor, which now has an output of 17kW instead of the previous 15kW. There will also be the E300e with a total system output of 312hp and a 25.4kWh battery, for which Mercedes promises an all-electric range of 113km.

One of the reasons why people opt for estates in the first place. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

One of the main reasons to buy this variant is certainly the cargo space, and the same is not only generous, but now also reveals itself at the press of a button as standard. Open the rear gate and you will be greeted with between 615L to 1,830L of cargo volume in the mild hybrids, and between 460L and 1,675L in the plug-in versions.

Those numbers are actually slightly lower than the ones of the predecessor, and the more sporty design may be the reason for that. Curves don’t make for good cargo space—just ask Volvo (or look at any old W124).

Overall, the new E-Class Estate has grown slightly in all dimensions. A length of 4.95m (+4mm), a width of 1.88m (+28mm), and a wheelbase of 2.96m (+22mm) are proper numbers for a proper Merc.

The luxury-laden interior now comes with more rear headroom and cargo space. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

The increase in size will primarily benefit passengers, and Mercedes promises more knee, leg, and elbow rooms than the previous model. The cabin is dominated by the MBUX Superscreen that we’ve already seen in the sedan version.

It consists of a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, a 14.4-inch infotainment display, and an optional passenger display that also measures 12.3 inches. The latter has a special trick up its sleeve: Passengers can watch movies or other dynamic content without distracting the driver thanks to a camera-based privacy system.

There is no escaping the relentless digitalization that the company is currently pursuing, and the whole spaceship-like cockpit is powered by a new electronic architecture that combines all computing processes in one single control unit for faster data streams.

This new E-Class Estate will offer a more digitalized experience. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

For passengers, this mainly means you’ll never be bored onboard this cargo hauler. A Burmester 4D surround-sound system with new sound visualization and even better voice control has two of the numerous features you get, and third-party apps such as TikTok, Angry Birds, or Zoom are now also available via the new app store.

This turns the E-Class into a proper business express, where you can even hold video conferences with the optional selfie cam (but not while driving, of course). Next to entertaining you, the car will also look after you with extended wellness features. Even your Apple Watch can be integrated, and various climate, mood light, and seat functions promise to help with everything from motion sickness to relieving stress.

The world could always use more wagons instead of crossovers. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

This wouldn’t be a Mercedes if it didn’t have every driver-assistance system under the sun fitted, and the latest version even comes prepared for Level 4 autonomous parking. Order the electric-folding tow bar and you can tow trailers weighing up to 2,100kg, while all models also come fitted with an improved version of the 9G-Tronic gearbox.

An air-sprung rear axle comes as standard, while the full Airmatic suspension setup is available as an option. With a drag coefficient of just 0.26, this elegantly drawn estate not only pleases the eye, but should also cut through the wind with efficient ease. Prices have not been confirmed yet, but will likely sit slightly above the current model.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.