Mercedes E-Class Estate - Interior & comfort
The Mercedes E-Class has one of the nicest, most high-tech interiors available
Comfort is the first thing people expect from a Mercedes E-Class Estate. When we first drove the saloon, we were pleased that the quest for driver appeal hadn’t diluted the passenger experience and the same is true of the estate.
All E-Class Estate models feature a suspension system with selective damping, plus full air suspension on the rear axle to keep the car level, even when you’re carrying heavy loads. The E-Class is designed to make the car engaging to drive without compromising its smoothness over bumps and ridges, and for the most part it delivers. On the standard 17-inch wheels fitted to Sport trim, the suspension absorbs road imperfections with ease.
We're not quite so impressed by the ride in the AMG Line versions, although our test car came on the bigger of the two wheel sizes. The large 19-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in low-profile tyres, which are far less able to absorb shocks than the higher-profile ones fitted to smaller wheels. As a result, bumps in the road send jolts shuddering through the car.
The E-Class is impressively quiet inside, too. The suspension transmits very little racket from the road into the passenger compartment, while there’s barely any noise of wind rushing over the windscreen and door mirrors. Only the occasional outburst from the engine under hard acceleration is likely to break the tranquillity.
Mercedes E-Class Estate dashboard
The interior design of the latest E-Class is a real high-water mark in the model’s history, and has lost nothing in the translation from saloon to estate car. The first thing that strikes you is the attention to detail, with four attractively designed swivelling central air vents. Then you find that they’re every bit as enjoyable to use as they are to look at, as they’re made of metal that’s cold to the touch.
High-quality details like this abound on a dashboard that apes Mercedes’ flagship models. It looks classically elegant while still making certain rivals seem dated – although the clean, simple dashboard of the Volvo V90 has enough appeal that the Mercedes only has a narrow advantage.
The E-Class’ front seats are big and supportive, giving a faultless driving position. The instrument display is clear and can be upgraded to a twin-widescreen layout, with digital displays for the dials and sat nav, without losing clarity or becoming fiddly to use.
Equipment is generous on all E-Class models. The infotainment system in even the entry-level version consists of two 12.3-inch screens, and features DAB radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The car has LED headlights and the added convenience of a powered tailgate, which can be remotely controlled using the key. A reversing camera makes manoeuvring easy, while heated front seats and ambient interior lights that offer a rainbow of 64 colour choices add to the feeling of luxury. Outside, 17-inch alloy wheels are standard.
The sportier and more expensive AMG Line model is distinguished by AMG exterior styling upgrades, including bigger alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, an AMG Nappa leather steering wheel and stainless-steel pedals. The AMG Line Premium model brings keyless entry, a 360-degree camera for easy parking, upgraded headlights and a function for the navigation that overlays directions onto a camera feed of the road in front of you. In the standard E-Class range, the top-spec model is the AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, which has 20-inch alloy wheels, gloss black detailing, a panoramic sunroof and a high-end Burmester audio system.
Mercedes has slimmed down its options list, so now you can only choose a few different packs. On its configurator, the AMG Line Premium model is listed as an option pack, while top-spec cars allow you to add a driving assistance package for £1,695 and towing package for £695. Most colours cost £685, while you can also change the alloy wheels and the colour of the leather upholstery.
Although not an option as such, 4MATIC four-wheel drive isn’t something you should choose lightly. You have to consider not only its £1,500 cost, but also the resulting increased fuel consumption and higher CO2 emissions, which can impact company-car tax.