- Three economical diesel choices
- AMG E 43 and E 63 for performance fans
- E 220 d the pick of the range
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate was launched with a narrow range of engine options, but this was subsequently expanded to a far richer selection including some startling performance models under the Mercedes-AMG banner – namely the E 63 and E 63 S.
Whichever model you choose, an excellent nine-speed automatic gearbox is your only transmission choice.
For a large estate that’s likely to be used to haul heavy loads, tow caravans or simply ply motorways efficiently, the low-down torquey nature of a diesel makes the most sense here.
Premium car customers frequently tend to avoid the lower-powered engines for fear of looking like they’re scrimping, but in reality the E 220 d is all the E-Class you’re ever likely to need.
It’s powered by a new four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel and replaces the aged 2.1-litre found across almost the entire Mercedes range. Not only is it more powerful, quicker and more efficient, pleasingly it is significantly quieter too.
Power of 194hp helps deliver a surprising 146mph top speed, while 400Nm of torque available from just 1,600rpm ensures the 0-62mph sprint is completed in 7.7 seconds. A decade ago many a hot hatchback would have struggled to match those figures.
It’s remarkably efficient too, with a claim of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 109g/km.
Despite being less powerful, with a total output of 150hp, the E 200 d that went on sale during the autumn of 2016 is slightly less efficient than the E 220 d at 65.7mpg, while overall performance also suffers. With a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds the E 200 d is the slowest of the range.
If you fear how your neighbours will judge you, you can always have the badging deleted from the tailgate. Or opt for the significantly pricier E 350 d.
It’s a brawnier 3.0-litre V6 unit, with power upped to 258hp, while torque jumps to 620Nm, also from 1,600rpm. Top speed is electronically governed to 155mph, while the 0-62 dash is reduced to 6.2 seconds – it’s much quicker on paper yet on the road the extra urgency rarely makes its presence felt.
Needless to say it’s less efficient – official figures of 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 151g/km tell their own story.
Rortier Mercedes-AMG E 43
Under the bonnet is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine producing 401hp and 520Nm of torque from 2,500rpm, sufficient for an electronically limited 155mph top speed and a brisk 4.7-second 0-62mph time.
It sounds purposeful enough yet it doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end in the way the V8 powerplant does. As with the diesels, the nine-speed automatic is the only transmission option.
Needless to say, for a more performance-focused model, efficiency suffers – Mercedes-AMG claims 32.5mpg average while CO2 emissions jump to 197g/km.
Hardcore Mercedes-AMG E 63 and E 63 S
In May 2017 order books opened for the stupendously rapid E 63 and E 63 S versions of the E-Class Estate.
They both make use of a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol engine. The ‘standard’ version has 571hp and 750Nm of torque for 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, while the S gets 612hp and 850Nm for a 3.5-second dart to 62mph. Top speed on both is limited to 155mph unless you specify the AMG Drivers package.
- Comfort remains the primary focus
- Air Body Control suspension a sensible option
- Controlled rear-drive characteristics
As has long been the case with core Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estates, comfort rather than handling prowess is the primary focus here.
That’s not to say the Mercedes is in any way incompetent, merely that the BMW 5 Series Touring remains superior if you’re looking for an estate that handles with a greater degree of engagement.
Because the Mercedes cossets you from much of the outside world to focus on luxury, there’s less feel through the steering wheel, although it weights up progressively at speed – assuming you’re not letting the self-driving function do its thing.
E 200 d and E 220 d versions ride on conventional steel springs, but the optional Air Body Control – standard on other E-Class Estates – is worth considering. Its ability to soak up all manner of ruts and undulations is mightily impressive. That said you may prefer Sport over Comfort mode to introduce a little firmness to reduce the floaty aspect of the ride. It also helps reduce body roll through bends.
Sport+ mode ups the notch a stage further, tightening up all of the E-Class Estate’s responses, yet the ride quality never becomes jarring. This one feels more in tune with the E 43 as you hustle it along B-roads.
From launch only the Mercedes-AMG E 43 came with 4Matic all-wheel drive, although in 2017 it was also rolled out to E 220 d and E 350 d diesel models too – a first for the E-Class.
The 4Matic system retains a rear-wheel drive bias in normal circumstances and doubtless offers a greater degree of security in slippery conditions, but the wealth of electronics on board prevent the standard E-Class getting too wayward anyway.