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by Tim Beissmann

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate has arrived in Australia offering improved functionality, safety, performance and value.

But if you haven’t ordered one yet you had better join the queue, with the entire first shipment already sold out.

Following the release of the sedan and coupe in August last year, the 212-series E 350 Estate is the latest model to join the range. The E-Class cabriolet will complete the set when it arrives in Australia in April.

Aiming to position itself as the benchmark luxury family tourer, Mercedes has broken tradition and focused its attention on what goes on behind the driver’s seat.

The rear dimensions have grown, increasing elbow width in the back by 51mm to 1505mm, while headroom with the large tilting/sliding sunroof has also improved by 46mm to 1010mm, just 2mm shy of the full-roof version.

The rear seats feature a 1/3:2/3-split and the backrests can either be folded down by a cable pull from the load compartment or unlocked from the sides inside on the C-pillar.

Opening the tailgate is done automatically either by using the ignition key or pressing the rear handle. Doing so opens up a range of possibilities.

The first is providing access to the 1950-litre load compartment capacity which sets the standard in its class. Deep within owners will find the automatic compartment cover and retaining net which is now attached at beltline level to make it easier to install and remove and no longer interferes with folding the seats.

When the tailgate is opened the cover is automatically raised to allow unobstructed loading and unloading, while the folding floor can be secured in various positions to increase the usable height of the load compartment.

For even more precious cargo, an optional folding rear-facing bench seat designed to accommodate two additional passengers up to 50kg/140cm is also available and unique to the segment.

Protecting up to seven occupants is close to a dozen new or improved driver assistance systems to help prevent accidents or reduce their severity. Attention Assist drowsiness detection system is standard, while Distronic Plus proximity control is optional and an enhanced version of Pre-Safe Brake – which can initiate partial or full emergency braking autonomously – is available for the first time.

Nine airbags, including side and curtain bags in the rear and pelvisbags in the front for the first time, work together with seatbelt tensioners, belt-force limiters and Neck-Pro crash-responsive head restraints.

Out of the cabin the newly developed Direct Control suspension features the adaptive damping system as standard while the self-levelling rear suspension ensures the Estate always remains at the same level, even when fully loaded.

Carried over from the sedan and coupe, the E 350 Estate is powered by the 200kW/350Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6, which scrapes in at 9.9 litres/100km in combined urban and highway conditions.

With an additional $8400 of new standard equipment at a lower price than the outgoing model, the Mercedes-Benz E 350 Estate is in showrooms now for $138,100.

(Price listed is the Manufacturer’s List Price which includes GST and LCT but excludes dealer delivery and all on road costs. For driveaway price information, consumers should contact dealers.)




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