E-Class estate targets business drivers

  • CO2 emissions from 150g/km
  • Class-leading load volume
  • Lower prices and more kit

Mercedes-Benz hope to persuade more company car users to get behind the wheel of its latest E-Class estate model with lower-emissions and lower prices.

Key to the appeal of the new E-Class estate to company car drivers is the 150g/km CO2 emissions of E220 CDI and E250 CDI manual versions.

Prices are yet to be confirmed, but they are expected to start at about £2000 more than equivalent versions of the E-Class saloon, which would make the 170bhp E220 CDI estate at just over £29,000 on the road - around the same as a 177bhp BMW 520d SE.

The E-Class estate offers class-leading load compartment dimensions - 695 litres up to window height with the rear seats in place (Volvo V70: 575 litres, Audi A6 Avant: 565 litres, BMW 5-Series Touring: 500 litres), and it has the longest and deepest luggage area.

Like the E-Class saloon launched in June, the equipment grades will be SE, Avantgarde and Sport. SE models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, synthetic leather trim, Bluetooth integration and an electrically operated tailgate.

Avantgarde in intended as a 'contemporary luxury specification' with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, lower suspension, leather seats and automatic dimming rear view mirrors.

Sport models have 18-inch alloys, AMG styling kit, sports suspension and brakes and sports seats.

The 204bhp E250 CDI is expected to attract previous users of the E280 CDI offering similar performance to the old six-cylinder engine, but with fuel economy and emissions more in-keeping with a four-cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class product manager Nick Williams said its fleet/retail split with the E-Class estate had been about 50/50, compared with almost 80 per cent fleet for the Audi A6 and more than 60 per cent for the 5-Series Touring.

He believes manual versions of the E220 CDI and E250 CDI with the new equipment grade structure and more favourable pricing would help win over user choosers.

However, in order to protect residual values, Mercedes-Benz would need to encourage a greater take-up of these manual versions as used cars at the end of their fleet cycles, when traditionally used car buyers have been more used to automatics.