Mercedes-Benz has a long history of building large family estate cars. The current generation Mercedes E-Class Estate is the latest in that lineage, and locks horns with esteemed rivals such as the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring.
The one we desperately want to recommend is the E350d, with its 254hp, 457lb ft and 51.4mpg (the V6 is carried over largely unchanged from the old E-Class, we’ll see a new straight-six from the same modular family as the four in next year’s facelifted S-Class), but we’re struggling because the four-cylinder is just so good.
Mercedes’s old 2.1-litre four-cylinder saw service in everything from the Sprinter to the S-Class, and it wasn’t half rattly. This new 2.0-litre is certainly among the best four-cylinder diesels out there. Quiet, brisk (7.7 to 62mph, 146mph) and happy enough to rev, it doesn’t fundamentally cheapen the E-Class experience either, which is a real achievement.
Brilliant at cruising with everything dialed back to its softest setting – and for a car like this, that’s way more important than B-road nous (though you can upgrade to the AMG E43, with its 400-odd horsepower bi-turbo V6 should you so wish. We’d wait and start saving for a full-fat E63). The E350 gets air suspension as standard – the occasional thump through the chassis over sharper, more abrupt bumps does little to affect what is an otherwise pretty pillowy ride. Well worth spec’ing on the 220, too, we reckon.