Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Car Review

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate review

£40,285 - £98,180
Published: 06 Apr 2021


What is it like to drive?

Given the Mercedes E-Class saloon doesn’t quite have the handling smarts of the BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF, it’s no great loss to discover the E-Class Estate gives away a bit of cornering prowess in the name of carrying a garden shed on its back.

Yes, if you’re concentrating you can sense there’s a bit more weight out back, and perhaps a slightly taller centre of gravity. But the other 99.9 per cent of the time, you simply won’t give a monkeys. As per usual, the Estate’s boomier cabin isolates motorway road noise a mite less successfully than the saloon, but this is still a gorgeously refined long-distance GT. Load it up with various family and accessories, point it at France and you’ll be so chilled you might well forget to turn off for the Channel Tunnel and end up in Dover.

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The E220d is the engine of choice for long-distance work. Good for 65mpg and over 750 miles on a tank – says us, not Mercedes – this is a stupendous piece of humble turbodiesel engineering. However, diesels are of course rather tricky to market of late, so Mercedes has introduced a pair of plug-in hybrids so you can have your eco-cake and eat it, whether you prefer fuelling from the green pump, or the black one.

The petrol E300e offers 316bhp and a claim of 37g/km CO2 emissions. The E300 de (hardly a badging masterclass, is it?) beats its classmate’s raw figures, and may well offer the best of both worlds for company car buyers needing an assured motorway tool which can also get into town for that vital meeting without blowing the Christmas party budget on stringent urban emissions zone fines.

Then there’s the AMG E53 – a curates egg of a performance car. The raw spec looks very appealing: a turbocharged straight six churning out a creamy-smooth 430bhp and 384lb ft, augmented by a 48-volt electric boost that erases turbo lag as you accelerate and then kills off the engine entirely when coasting, so you cruise with a lower carbon footprint than a sailboat. It’s all wheel-drive too, and looks merely ‘mildly perturbed’ next to the full-fat E63’s ‘bloody furious’ expression.

In practise, the E53 falls between the stools it’s set out for itself. Mercedes only claims 30mpg, but we struggled to make it into the mid-20s, while a similarly engined BMW M340i is good for mid 30s to the gallons in our testing. It’s also a curious powertrain to use, managing to sound angrier than the performance it actually delivers – like a Jaguar F-Type shouting through a rolled-up newspaper.

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It also seems to lack the outright insta-torque you’d expect from a six-pot that’s being boosted with a turbo and an e-motor. AMG’s future is surely electric, but at the present it feels more like a semi-reluctant experiment than a shot across the bows of Porsche’s hybrid line-up.

We’d sell everything that was needed to upgrade into a sixty-three. The dogs wouldn’t have enjoyed such a rapid wagon anyway…

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Mercedes-Benz E Class E63 S 4Matic+ Night Edition Prem+ 5dr 9G-Tronic
  • 0-623.5s
  • CO2
  • BHP612
  • MPG
  • Price£99,265

the cheapest

Mercedes-Benz E Class E200 Sport 5dr 9G-Tronic
  • 0-627.7s
  • CO2
  • BHP197
  • MPG
  • Price£41,160

the greenest

Mercedes-Benz E Class E300de SE 5dr 9G-Tronic
  • 0-626s
  • CO242.0g/km
  • BHP316
  • MPG
  • Price£49,725

Variants We Have Tested

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