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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate UK-Version

With its broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, significantly enhanced levels of safety and comfort equipment and class-leading versatility, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is perfectly positioned to maintain its position as the first choice for buyers looking for the ultimate in luxurious family-oriented versatility.

Prices for E-Class Estate line-up range from an attractive £31,485 for the E 200 BlueEFFICIENCY SE to £76,710 for the E 63 AMG.

The Estate will initially be available with a choice of four turbo diesel engines - the E220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, the E250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, the E 350 BlueTEC and the E350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. Petrol powerplants include the E 200 BlueEFFICIENCY, the E 250 BlueEFFICIENCY, the E 350 BlueEFFICIENCY and the E 63 AMG.

Combining exceptionally high levels of refinement and punchy performance, the E-Class Estate range delivers up to 54.3 mpg on the combined cycle and Corporate Tax-friendly CO2 emissions that start from just 136 g/km. All engines are EU5-compliant, with power outputs ranging from 170 hp to 525 hp.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate features class-leading levels of load space capacity and practicality. Fitted as standard with self-levelling rear suspension, Easy-Pack electrically-operated tailgate, with rising load space cover and Easy-Pack Quickfold rear seats, the car's rear compartment can swallow up to 695 litres with the rear seats in place and a vast 1950 litres with the rear seats folded.

Easy-Pack Quickfold enables the rear seats to be lowered by operating the lever located on the d-pillar, with just one finger. There is no need to move seats or headrests to get full access to the maximum, fully flat load space. The regular dimensions of the intelligently configured loadbay means the Estate can swallow cuboids up to 1,725 x 1,000 x 620 mm in size.

To better reflect the expectations of UK drivers, the Classic, Elegance, Avantgarde and SPORT model lines of the outgoing E-Class Estate range have been replaced to create the a more straightforward and approachable SE, Avantgarde and SPORT model range.

"Through careful packaging we have created a very high level of standard specification for the new E-Class Estate and managed to achieve an attractive price position representing a four per cent average improvement in value over the current model," said E-Class Product Manager, Nick Williams.

"The SE is now much more competitive as an entry-point model that it has ever been," explained Williams. "It's the model on which we've worked the most, boosting standard specification and making many features that are optional in some countries, such as advanced parking guidance, upgraded alloys wheels, Artico upholstery and heated front seats, standard in the UK."

"With its luxurious levels of appointment, we feel the Avantgarde will appeal to the more traditional Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate buyer," continued Williams, "while the UK-only Sport model is our conquest car. Its AMG styling means we're confident of attracting new, younger - or young-at-heart - customers to the Mercedes-Benz brand."

Like the new E-Class Saloon and Coupé range, the Estate will feature a comprehensive raft of economy-enhancing BlueEFFICIENCY measures. BlueEFFICIENCY technology - the watchword for exceptionally economical and eco-friendly Mercedes-Benz passenger cars - is designed to reduce weight, aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance to further optimise engine technology and to make energy management even more efficient. More than 98 per cent of the range now features all this BlueEFFICIENCY technology, with the exception of the E 63 AMG performance flagship.

As with its Saloon and Coupé counterparts, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate has been developed on UK roads. Right-hand drive prototype testing of various models was carried out and assessed by Mercedes-Benz road test experts and 'normal' Mercedes-Benz UK staff, with feedback and final adjustments made if necessary.

SE

Comprehensively equipped entry-level model, available with four cylinder engines only. Equipped with AIRMATIC suspension with rear self-levelling, Easy-Pack electrically-operated tailgate, Easy-Pack Quickfold rear seats, Headlamp Assist, Attention Assist, ADAPTIVE BRAKE, nine airbags, PRE-SAFE®, 16 inch alloy wheels, Artico upholstery, heated front seats, Multifunctional Nappa leather steering wheel, PARKTRONIC Advanced Parking Guidance, Automatic climate control, aluminium trim, a Nappa leather-covered steering wheel and Bluetooth Connectivity as standard.

Avantgarde

Costing an additional £2,550 over the SE, Avantgarde adds larger 17inch alloys, full leather upholstery, bi-Xenon headlamps with Intelligent Light System, LED daytime running lights and Adaptive Highbeam Assist, ambient lighting, black ash wood trim, 15 mm lower suspension, auto-dimming mirrors and a bespoke front apron.

SPORT

A £1,530 step-up from Avantgarde to the flagship SPORT line adds full AMG bodystyling as well as AMG floormats, pedals and sports steering wheel, sports seats, brushed aluminium trim, Dynamica microfibre/Artico seat facings, variable ratio Direct Steering, paddle shifters for the 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission, Sports Braking and Sports Suspension systems and 18 inch AMG alloy wheels.

Equipment

All models in the new E-Class Estate range are fitted with AIRMATIC air-suspension with self-levelling rear functionality, as standard. This avoids having to change the spring and rebound travel and helps to ensure comfortable vibration characteristics when fully loaded. It also ensures full ground clearance is available at all times. The AIRMATIC air suspension is combined with an electronically controlled damping system that adapts the damper characteristics with continuously variable control and individually for each wheel.

Open wide The new Estate's generously proportioned luggage compartment measures 695 litres, easily making it the biggest in its sector. Accommodating larger items could not be simpler - the standard Easy-Pack Quickfold system enables the one-third-two-thirds rear seat backrests to be folded down from the load compartment using one finger on the operating levers on either the C or D pillars. Neither the head restraints nor the rear-seat cushions need to be adjusted beforehand in order to be able to do this and create a level loading surface.

Seven up The optional third row of two child seats (£890 in Artico, £1,000 in leather) effectively transforms the Estate into a spacious seven-seat people carrier. The seats, which fold easily and quickly out of the loadbay floor both incorporate three-point seatbelts and full head restraints. These rear passengers are afforded the same levels of rear impact protection as all other passengers by the inclusion of a strengthened U-shape aluminium extrusion that runs along the fore-aft axis of the car. This channels impact energy into the rear axle to provide excellent protection in the event of a rear impact.

Luxury Climate Control The new E-Class Estate marks the debut of a Mercedes-Benz-developed automatic climate control system which, as well as permitting individual temperatures to be set in three zones (for driver, front passenger and rear passengers), additionally offers three climate modes. If the optionally available Luxury Climate Control system is fitted, the car occupants can choose from 'Diffuse', 'Medium' and 'Focus' at the push of a button and thus adjust the air quantity and air distribution to their liking without having to leave the convenient automatic mode.

In 'Diffuse' mode, for example, the Luxury Climate Control system operates with a low air speed and distributes the air over a wide area so that there are fewer draughts. This is the purpose of the automatically controlled, upwards inclined diffuse nozzle in the centre of the dashboard. In 'Focus' mode the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow of a larger quantity of air.

A for accuracy Sophisticated sensors are another reason why the three-zone Luxury Climate Control system does full justice to its name. These ensure that the desired temperatures set by the occupants remain constant: even the standard-fit automatic climate control system features two sensors for the interior temperature, four sensors for measuring the temperature of the air flowing out of the air outlets and one sensor for recording the intensity and direction of the sun's rays, while the Luxury Climate Control system for the new E-Class Estate additionally includes a dew-point/moisture sensor and a pollutant sensor.

The dew-point sensor enables specifically targeted cooling and, if required, reheating of the inflowing air, meaning that the air conditioning operates even more economically. The pollutant sensor senses when the carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen concentrations in the outside air are too high and, if the level of these pollutants increases suddenly, closes the air recirculation flap automatically.

The standard equipment package for the new E-Class Estate includes two-zone Automatic Climate Control. With this system on board, the driver and front passenger can set the desired temperature using the rocker switches on the elegant control panel in the lower section of the centre console. The control panel display uses organic light emitting diode technology - the electroluminescent layer of the light emitting diodes are coated with a film of organic compounds resulting in a matrix of pixels that can emit different colours.

The Luxury Climate Control system is equipped with a separate control panel at the rear of the centre console, allowing the rear passengers to select their ideal temperature and - if required - adjust the air quantity manually. This means they control the special booster in the centre console, which offers five speed settings and, therefore, ensures highly effective climate control in the rear of the car. Another highlight of the Luxury Climate Control system is the residual heat function: pressing the 'Rest' button heats or ventilates the interior for around 30 minutes when the engine is switched off.

Powerful performance If automatic mode is deactivated, the blower speed and air distribution can also be adjusted by rocker switch. The 'ZONE' function is new: at the push of a button, the temperature settings are synchronised, and the level selected by the driver is transferred to the front-passenger side. Both Automatic and Luxury Climate Control systems have received a boost in both heating and cooling output. The heating output has been increased by 10 per cent to 11 kilowatts, equivalent to the power of the central heating system in a modern family house.

An air-conditioning unit with an output of around 8.4 kilowatts - some five per cent more than the unit used in the predecessor model - ensures rapid cooling of the interior. The air-conditioning compressor is continuously variable, allowing economical on-demand operation of the air conditioning. The control is provided by a solenoid valve, which varies the swept volume of the air-conditioning compressor. All Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate models powered by four-cylinder diesel engined use an air-conditioning compressor which is automatically disconnected from the engine's belt drive when no cooling power is required.

Hermetically-sealed filter A large, hermetically sealed fine-dust combination filter, fitted as standard, ensures that the air entering the interior is clean. It is 96 to 98 per cent efficient at filtering out particles of between five and ten micrometres in size and 100 per cent efficient when it comes to removing ten-micrometre particles. Thanks to its activated-charcoal coating, the fine-dust combination filter can also filter out gaseous substances which are the cause of unpleasant odours. The filter is active on a permanent basis - even in air recirculation mode. As well as being more effective, the climate control systems for the new E-Class Estate are also audibly quieter than before: the noise level at maximum cooling output is reduced by around three decibels.

Advanced control and infotainment systems A wealth of intelligently conceived details in the interior of the new E-Class Estate highlight the fact that the car has been developed with the customer and, therefore, everyday practicality, in mind.

The dashboard incorporates an illuminated air-conditioned glove compartment with a capacity of around 6.8 litres. A 12V outlet and a socket for connecting an external audio device are also integrated. This is also the location of the (optional) Media Interface for connecting an MP3 player.

The front-passenger footwell incorporates a practical storage net suitable for holding an atlas or map. Directly above this is an adjustable bottle holder.

In the Avantgarde and Sport models, two stowage boxes, each with a capacity of around 2.6 litres and suitable for carrying smaller items, are housed beneath the driver's seat and front-passenger seat.

Additional coat hooks are built into the B-pillar trims.

As part of the Sun Protection package (optional £365), two-piece luxury sun visors are provided for the driver and front passenger, along with manually operated roller blinds for the insides of the rear side windows.

Centre Console Controller The aluminium controller on the centre console is one of the core elements of the tried-and-tested control and display concept which Mercedes-Benz first unveiled in the S-Class in 2005. Key features include special 'hot-key' buttons which provide fast access to frequently used functions.

The multifunction steering wheel is central to the sophisticated control and display concept. Its 14 buttons are linked to the central display in the instrument cluster and merely need to be tapped with a thumb to gain fast access to a wide range of information displayed right in front of the driver's eyes. The driver uses the left-hand button in horizontal direction to mark one of the main menus on the central display and in vertical direction to select the desired submenu. Each selection or setting is accepted by pressing the 'OK' button, while the 'Return' button is used to return quickly to the next-highest menu level.

The buttons on the right-hand side of the multifunction steering wheel are used for adjusting the volume (vertical), activating the mute function (middle) and using the car phone (horizontal). Beneath these is an additional button for activating the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.

Instrumentation There are five instruments in the cockpit to provide the driver with all the necessary information: speedometer (middle), rev counter (right), clock (left), coolant temperature gauge (far right) and fuel gauge (far left). Thanks to black-panel technology, the indicator and warning lights assigned to the various circular instruments are not visible during normal driving; the driver only sees these when the ignition is switched on or if a fault occurs.

One of the new features is the instant fuel consumption and shift-up indicator (on six-speed manual transmission), which informs the driver of the current fuel consumption and when the next-highest gear should be selected in order to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions

In the centre of the dashboard - where it can be easily seen by the driver and the front passenger - a large colour display in 16:9 format provides information about all the infotainment system functions. There are two versions of this sophisticated AM-TFT (Active Matrix Thin Film Transistor) display available, depending on the equipment specified for the E-Class Estate: a 5.8-inch version for the Audio 20 and Navigation 50 devices or a high-resolution 7.0-inch version for COMAND.

Infotainment for all The new E-Class Estate is equipped with sophisticated infotainment devices that deliver outstanding performance and, above all, are easy to use. These are called Audio 20 (standard equipment), Navigation 50 with Media Interface (£1,210) and COMAND with Media Interface (£1,995).

All of the devices include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a colour display in the centre of the dashboard and a Bluetooth interface to connect a mobile phone to the hands-free system wirelessly. Eight loudspeakers fitted as standard in the doors and the rear parcel shelf deliver superlative sound.

Features of the Audio 20 CD system include a CD player (with MP3 capability), a dual tuner for FM/MW/LW/SW, automatic station search, RDS function (for FM reception) and a 4 x 20-watt amplifier.

The Navigation 50 infotainment system with Media Interface is an all-in-one device featuring a combination of car radio, audio DVD player and Europe-wide DVD navigation mapping system. The radio functions and the options for linking with other systems are the same as for the Audio 20 system.

In COMAND The COMAND multimedia system with Media Interface includes a DVD player for audio and video as well as a Europe-wide navigation system. Data is stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive, allowing extremely fast access to the navigation data and, compared to DVD-based navigation, even faster route calculations. The high-resolution map appears on the 7.0-inch colour display in the centre of the dashboard and provides useful additional information such as the outlines of prominent buildings along the road to aid orientation.

In addition, COMAND also includes a Music Register for around 1000 compressed music tracks in MP3, WMA or AAC format, which can be downloaded from memory cards. The system uses the Gracenote® database to recognise music tracks played from a CD, DVD or the Music Register and then display the title of the track and the artist on the display. Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND with LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control and a text-to-speech function as standard, allowing the driver to listen to route-specific traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries or station names. New traffic reports relevant to the current route can be read out automatically by the system.

Voice-activated satellite navigation Continued development of the LINGUATRONIC system means that the navigation system in the new E-Class Estate can now be controlled by whole-word voice input: the driver no longer needs to spell out the names of countries, towns or streets. It is just as easy to use the voice-operated control to select a radio station or an entry in the phone/address book: all available or stored names can be called up without the need for prior voice-input training.

Further infotainment options As an option, customers can combine the infotainment devices that feature in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate with further systems offering even more information and entertainment.

 

The Logic 7® surround sound system (£650) developed by Mercedes-Benz in partnership with audio specialist Harman Kardon® provides three-dimensional audio enjoyment noticeable above all by a natural 360-degree music experience in all seats. Music signals are distributed by a 610-watt amplifier controlling 14 high-performance loudspeakers.

Media Interface features in the glove compartment can be used to connect an iPod, USB stick or other external audio devices to the infotainment system in the new E-Class Estate. The interface includes a control unit that links the external music memory to the Estate's on-board electronic and control systems. The advantage of this is that the titles of the tracks stored on the iPod can be shown on the colour display in the dashboard and in the instrument cluster, allowing them to be selected almost effortlessly using the controller and the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The battery in the audio device is charged for as long as the portable music memory is connected to the car via the media interface.

A separate DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) tuner and additional aerials (optional £335) allow passengers on board the new E-Class Estate to receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak.

A newly developed Rear Seat Entertainment System with a DVD player (optional £1,765) and two large colour displays (8.0-inch) in the rear of the front head restraints makes the ride even more entertaining for the rear passengers. The system also includes connection options for external audio or video devices and for the integration of a digital TV tuner. If COMAND is fitted, the DVD films and TV programmes (if the TV tuner is specified) played by the COMAND device can also be viewed by those passengers sitting in the rear seats.

Exterior - Visual Dynamism

Created under the watch of design director Professor Gorden Wagener the latest E-Class Estate successfully combines the familiar design hallmarks of its predecessors - solidity, understated elegance and integrity - with a fresh and bold new visage and rear that makes the Estate's profile even more distinctive than before. Created by Wagener and his 50-strong design team in Sindelfingen, the Estate was designed in parallel along with the other variants in the new E-Class family, to ensure a uniform and cohesive look and feel.

The twin-headlamp face, an E-Class Estate attribute since 1995, has been given a more progressive and modern interpretation. Inspired by the engaging geometrical shapes found in cubism, the jewel-like headlamps have the effect of precious gems precisely set into the car's wings. These piercing lights flank Mercedes-Benz unmistakable radiator grille. Drawing on the E-Class' rich heritage, the grille is now more upright and features a three-dimensional chromed surround and a dynamic arrowhead shape

Different by Design

The intelligent interplay between lines and surfaces is a key element of contemporary Mercedes-Benz design. Large, concave or convex surfaces are given structure and context by taut, clearly defined lines that react with light and shade to create a visual dynamism and tangible athleticism. This design concept has been perfected down to the last detail in the new E-Class Estate. Like the headlamps, the front bumper flows seamlessly into the body to create an impression of being cast from a single mould, while the car's sculpted sides unite the front and rear with its upward sweeping character line. The E-Class Estate design has also been honed to enhance the individual model lines - the Avantgarde features a unique front bumper with a larger lower air intake and the LED daytime driving lights, while the Sport model includes AMG body styling including new front and rear aprons and side skirts.

Rear of the Year

Harking back to the seminal 'Ponton' Mercedes of 1953, the rear wings of the latest E-Class feature a powerful design line that spans the rear wheel arch. As well as significantly bolstering the car's muscular stance, this striking motif unites the car's side and rear sections to emphasise the width of the body. This impression of strength is enhanced by the emphasis on horizontal lines like the chromed tailgate handle and the two-piece tail lights that unite the Estate's rear and flanks. The rear LED have been designed to 'float' within the light housing creating a sense of depth to the lights.

The geometric lines of the tailgate create a clean and regular opening for the easy loading of large and bulky objects. The standard-fit Easy-Pack tailgate features fully automatic raising load cover to ensure ease of use during loading and unloading. The tailgate can be opened at the touch of a button on the ignition key and closed by a button on the tailgate. In the upper third of its opening range the tailgate can be stopped at any desired opening angle by pressing the button on the ignition key - a useful feature in garages with low ceilings. The desired opening angle can also be programmed in via the switch on the tailgate. The Easy-Pack load compartment cover now rises and lowers automatically when the tailgate is opened or closed to keep contents hidden from view.

The generously proportioned luggage compartment measures 695 litres, easily making it the biggest in its sector. Accommodating larger items could not be simpler - the standard Easy-Pack Quickfold system enables the one-third-two-thirds rear seat backrests to be folded down from the load compartment using one finger on the operating levers on either the C or D pillars. Neither the head restraints nor the rear-seat cushions need to be adjusted beforehand in order to be able to do this and create a level loading surface.

With the rear seats folded flat, boot space climbs to a vast 1950 litres, with the length of the load compartment from the back seats measuring 2001 mm and the depth of the load compartment measuring 771 mm. This means the largest cuboid that can fit in the Estate is 1,725 mm long, 1,000 mm wide and 620 mm high, while the longest rectangular object is 3,200 mm long, 300 mm wide and 30 mm high.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate can also be turned into a seven-seater - a third row of seats with two rear-facing fold-out child seats is available as an option (£890 in Artico, £1,000 in leather). This row of two child seats effectively transforms the Estate into a spacious seven-seat people carrier. The seats, which fold easily and quickly out of the loadbay floor both incorporate three-point seatbelts and full head restraints. These rear passengers are afforded the same levels of rear impact protection as all other passengers by the inclusion of a strengthened U-shape aluminium extrusion that runs along the fore-aft axis of the car. This channels impact energy into the rear axle to provide excellent protection in the event of a rear impact.

The Easy-Pack folding compartment floor liberates a further 112 litres of space by folding up the floor and taking advantage of its numerous holding positions. The second load level is also divided into practical compartments designed to hold small or fragile items securely in place. Versatility can be further enhanced by the Easy-Pack load-securing kit (£255 option), which uses aluminium rails, telescopic rods and belt reels to prevent objects such as shopping bags from moving about during transit. It also includes an Easy-Pack rear sill protector to protect the Estate's stainless steel boot sill. This protective mat, housed within the boot lip by a magnetic strip, can be pulled out to cover the boot sill and protect it from being scuffed.

Aerodynamic Efficiency

The latest E-Class spent hundreds of hours being aerodynamically tuned to cleave its way through the air as cleanly and efficiently as possible. The result of processing 30 million fluid elements is an impressive drag coefficient of Cd 0.29 a figure that makes the new E-Class Estate one of the world's most aerodynamic estate in its market segment.

Aerodynamic highlights include

Controllable fan shutter that adjusts the flow of cooling air to be limited as required, to reduce pressure loss as the air enters the engine compartment. Aerodynamically optimised light-alloy wheels that reduce airflow separation and flow losses around the wheels. Sealed joints between the bonnet and headlamps that ensure significantly enhanced airflow around the front section. Wheel spoilers on all four wheels to both improve the airflow around the tyres and reduce lift. Cladding of the engine compartment and the underbody optimises the flow of cooling air from the engine compartment and prevents flow losses caused by air blockage and swirl on the car's underbody. Newly-developed exterior mirror housings designed to keep clear in wet weather and generate minimal wind noise.

Interior

More space means more comfort. At 4,895 mm long, 1,854 mm wide and 1,471 mm high, the new E-Class Estate is 7 mm longer, 35mm lower and 32 mm wider than the outgoing model. Its wheelbase has increased by 20mm to 2874mm, while front and rear tracks have grown by 23mm and 49mm respectively. These increased dimensions translate into superior accommodation for driver and passengers alike - more elbow, leg and head room - for both front and rear passengers. In the latest E-Class, the distance between the front and rear seats has increased 10mm to a class-leading 848mm, elbow room has also increased 51mm to 1505mm, while headroom is up by 14mm to 1007mm in the front and 11mm to 972mm in the rear.

On V6 models which are fitted with the 7G-Tronic Plus seven speed automatic transmission as standard, the DIRECT SELECT gearshift is located on the steering column. The area where the shift/selector lever is usually found on the centre console is replaced by a closable stowage compartment with a wood or aluminium-trimmed sliding cover, or a double cup holder suitable for cups, cans or bottles with a diameter of up to 82 mm.

The control panel incorporating the controller and further buttons is located behind this. The soft armrest, featuring indirect lighting in Avantgarde and SPORT models, makes the controller extremely easy to operate and also serves as an opener for the spacious stowage compartment between the front seats, which has a capacity of around five litres and, as an option, can house a mobile phone cradle.

Both manual and automatic versions feature an asymmetrically split armrest which protrudes further forwards on the driver's side, serving as a practical hand rest for operating the controller. Behind this is a large stowage compartment, while a further compartment, which can also be used as a double cup holder, is concealed beneath the retractable cover on the right-hand side of the centre console.

Light Fantastic

The calm and spacious atmosphere of the E-Class Estate cabin is complemented by its intelligently-configured and intuitively-designed architecture. The expansive breadth of the body, for example, is reflected in the horizontally-oriented lines of the dashboard, and the seamless design that flows from dashboard to door panels. Every aspect of the cabin's design is to promote comfort and relaxation - and none more so than the Mercedes' innovative Ambient Lighting system. The interior of the Avantgarde and Sport models features advanced optical fibres located behind the trim elements on the dashboard and above the door centre. This creates a band of light around the cabin inside for discreet yet effective night lighting.

Standard trim in SE grades is embossed aluminium with Eucalyptus wood optionally available. Artico, a man-made leather, is used for the seat covering. Avantgarde models have Black Ash wood trim as standard, with Burr Walnut available optionally, while seats are leather covered. On Sport models, the trim is stylish brushed aluminium, with sports seats covered in a combination of grippy dynamica microfibre/Artico man-made leather (Black) and full leather trim is available for the sports seats is available, in Black only, as an option, other colour leathers are available, but not with sports seats. Fine Nappa leather covers the steering wheel and shift/selector lever across the entire range.

Functional Form

Fewer switches but more functions: that's the key to the E-Class cockpit. The rotary controller on the centre tunnel puts a whole range of functions at the driver's fingertips. It is linked to the large colour display on the dashboard and allows operation of the navigation system, car radio, telephone, DVD player and other components of the infotainment system. The 12-button multifunction steering wheel is another integral part of the sophisticated control and display concept.

The instrument cluster reflects the different characters of the UK model line-up. The SE has circular instruments with chrome surrounds, white illumination and a black background. In the Avantgarde cockpit the instruments feature a matt-silver painted background and deep, giving them a sporty, elegant aura. The Sport driver's view of the sports instruments, is conducted through a stylish three-spoke AMG steering wheel.

Equipment Highlights

All models in the new E-Class Estate range are fitted with AIRMATIC air-suspension with self-levelling rear functionality, as standard. This avoids having to change the spring and rebound travel and helps to ensure comfortable vibration characteristics when fully loaded. It also ensures full ground clearance is available at all times. The AIRMATIC air suspension is combined with an electronically controlled damping system that adapts the damper characteristics with continuously variable control and individually for each wheel.

Open wide The new Estate's generously proportioned luggage compartment measures 695 litres, easily making it the biggest in its sector. Accommodating larger items could not be simpler - the standard Easy-Pack Quickfold system enables the one-third-two-thirds rear seat backrests to be folded down from the load compartment using one finger on the operating levers on either the C or D pillars. Neither the head restraints nor the rear-seat cushions need to be adjusted beforehand in order to be able to do this and create a level loading surface.

Seven up The optional third row of two child seats (£890 in Artico, £1,000 in leather) effectively transforms the Estate into a spacious seven-seat people carrier. The seats, which fold easily and quickly out of the loadbay floor both incorporate three-point seatbelts and full head restraints. These rear passengers are afforded the same levels of rear impact protection as all other passengers by the inclusion of a strengthened U-shape aluminium extrusion that runs along the fore-aft axis of the car. This channels impact energy into the rear axle to provide excellent protection in the event of a rear impact.

Luxury Climate Control The new E-Class Estate marks the debut of a Mercedes-Benz-developed automatic climate control system which, as well as permitting individual temperatures to be set in three zones (for driver, front passenger and rear passengers), additionally offers three climate modes. If the optionally available Luxury Climate Control system is fitted, the car occupants can choose from 'Diffuse', 'Medium' and 'Focus' at the push of a button and thus adjust the air quantity and air distribution to their liking without having to leave the convenient automatic mode.

In 'Diffuse' mode, for example, the Luxury Climate Control system operates with a low air speed and distributes the air over a wide area so that there are fewer draughts. This is the purpose of the automatically controlled, upwards inclined diffuse nozzle in the centre of the dashboard. In 'Focus' mode the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow of a larger quantity of air.

A for accuracy Sophisticated sensors are another reason why the three-zone Luxury Climate Control system does full justice to its name. These ensure that the desired temperatures set by the occupants remain constant: even the standard-fit automatic climate control system features two sensors for the interior temperature, four sensors for measuring the temperature of the air flowing out of the air outlets and one sensor for recording the intensity and direction of the sun's rays, while the Luxury Climate Control system for the new E-Class Estate additionally includes a dew-point/moisture sensor and a pollutant sensor.

The dew-point sensor enables specifically targeted cooling and, if required, reheating of the inflowing air, meaning that the air conditioning operates even more economically. The pollutant sensor senses when the carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen concentrations in the outside air are too high and, if the level of these pollutants increases suddenly, closes the air recirculation flap automatically.

The standard equipment package for the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate includes two-zone Automatic Climate Control. With this system on board, the driver and front passenger can set the desired temperature using the rocker switches on the elegant control panel in the lower section of the centre console. The control panel display uses organic light emitting diode technology - the electroluminescent layer of the light emitting diodes are coated with a film of organic compounds resulting in a matrix of pixels that can emit different colours.

The Luxury Climate Control system is equipped with a separate control panel at the rear of the centre console, allowing the rear passengers to select their ideal temperature and - if required - adjust the air quantity manually. This means they control the special booster in the centre console, which offers five speed settings and, therefore, ensures highly effective climate control in the rear of the car. Another highlight of the Luxury Climate Control system is the residual heat function: pressing the 'Rest' button heats or ventilates the interior for around 30 minutes when the engine is switched off.

Powerful performance If automatic mode is deactivated, the blower speed and air distribution can also be adjusted by rocker switch. The 'ZONE' function is new: at the push of a button, the temperature settings are synchronised, and the level selected by the driver is transferred to the front-passenger side. Both Automatic and Luxury Climate Control systems have received a boost in both heating and cooling output. The heating output has been increased by 10 per cent to 11 kilowatts, equivalent to the power of the central heating system in a modern family house.

An air-conditioning unit with an output of around 8.4 kilowatts - some five per cent more than the unit used in the predecessor model - ensures rapid cooling of the interior. The air-conditioning compressor is continuously variable, allowing economical on-demand operation of the air conditioning. The control is provided by a solenoid valve, which varies the swept volume of the air-conditioning compressor. All E-Class Estate models powered by four-cylinder diesel engined use an air-conditioning compressor which is automatically disconnected from the engine's belt drive when no cooling power is required.

Hermetically-sealed filter

A large, hermetically sealed fine-dust combination filter, fitted as standard, ensures that the air entering the interior is clean. It is 96 to 98 per cent efficient at filtering out particles of between five and ten micrometres in size and 100 per cent efficient when it comes to removing ten-micrometre particles. Thanks to its activated-charcoal coating, the fine-dust combination filter can also filter out gaseous substances which are the cause of unpleasant odours. The filter is active on a permanent basis - even in air recirculation mode. As well as being more effective, the climate control systems for the new E-Class Estate are also audibly quieter than before: the noise level at maximum cooling output is reduced by around three decibels.

Advanced control and infotainment systems

A wealth of intelligently conceived details in the interior of the new E-Class Estate highlight the fact that the car has been developed with the customer and, therefore, everyday practicality, in mind.

The dashboard incorporates an illuminated air-conditioned glove compartment with a capacity of around 6.8 litres. A 12V outlet and a socket for connecting an external audio device are also integrated. This is also the location of the (optional) Media Interface for connecting an MP3 player.

The front-passenger footwell incorporates a practical storage net suitable for holding an atlas or map. Directly above this is an adjustable bottle holder.

In the Avantgarde and Sport models, two stowage boxes, each with a capacity of around 2.6 litres and suitable for carrying smaller items, are housed beneath the driver's seat and front-passenger seat.

Additional coat hooks are built into the B-pillar trims.

As part of the Sun Protection package (optional £365), two-piece luxury sun visors are provided for the driver and front passenger, along with manually operated roller blinds for the insides of the rear side windows.

Centre Console Controller

The aluminium controller on the centre console is one of the core elements of the tried-and-tested control and display concept which Mercedes-Benz first unveiled in the S-Class in 2005. Key features include special 'hot-key' buttons which provide fast access to frequently used functions.

The multifunction steering wheel is central to the sophisticated control and display concept. Its 14 buttons are linked to the central display in the instrument cluster and merely need to be tapped with a thumb to gain fast access to a wide range of information displayed right in front of the driver's eyes. The driver uses the left-hand button in horizontal direction to mark one of the main menus on the central display and in vertical direction to select the desired submenu. Each selection or setting is accepted by pressing the 'OK' button, while the 'Return' button is used to return quickly to the next-highest menu level.

 

The buttons on the right-hand side of the multifunction steering wheel are used for adjusting the volume (vertical), activating the mute function (middle) and using the car phone (horizontal). Beneath these is an additional button for activating the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.

Instrumentation There are five instruments in the cockpit to provide the driver with all the necessary information: speedometer (middle), rev counter (right), clock (left), coolant temperature gauge (far right) and fuel gauge (far left). Thanks to black-panel technology, the indicator and warning lights assigned to the various circular instruments are not visible during normal driving; the driver only sees these when the ignition is switched on or if a fault occurs.

One of the new features is the instant fuel consumption and shift-up indicator (on six-speed manual transmission), which informs the driver of the current fuel consumption and when the next-highest gear should be selected in order to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions

In the centre of the dashboard - where it can be easily seen by the driver and the front passenger - a large colour display in 16:9 format provides information about all the infotainment system functions. There are two versions of this sophisticated AM-TFT (Active Matrix Thin Film Transistor) display available, depending on the equipment specified for the E-Class Estate: a 5.8-inch version for the Audio 20 and Navigation 50 devices or a high-resolution 7.0-inch version for COMAND.

Infotainment for all The new E-Class Estate is equipped with sophisticated infotainment devices that deliver outstanding performance and, above all, are easy to use. These are called Audio 20 (standard equipment), Navigation 50 with Media Interface (£1,210) and COMAND with Media Interface £1,995).

All of the devices include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a colour display in the centre of the dashboard and a Bluetooth interface to connect a mobile phone to the hands-free system wirelessly. Eight loudspeakers fitted as standard in the doors and the rear parcel shelf deliver superlative sound.

Features of the Audio 20 CD system include a CD player (with MP3 capability), a dual tuner for FM/MW/LW/SW, automatic station search, RDS function (for FM reception) and a 4 x 20-watt amplifier.

The Navigation 50 infotainment system with Media Interface is an all-in-one device featuring a combination of car radio, audio DVD player and Europe-wide DVD navigation mapping system. The radio functions and the options for linking with other systems are the same as for the Audio 20 system.

In COMAND

The COMAND multimedia system with Media Interface includes a DVD player for audio and video as well as a Europe-wide navigation system. Data is stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive, allowing extremely fast access to the navigation data and, compared to DVD-based navigation, even faster route calculations. The high-resolution map appears on the 7.0-inch colour display in the centre of the dashboard and provides useful additional information such as the outlines of prominent buildings along the road to aid orientation.

In addition, COMAND also includes a Music Register for around 1000 compressed music tracks in MP3, WMA or AAC format, which can be downloaded from memory cards. The system uses the Gracenote® database to recognise music tracks played from a CD, DVD or the Music Register and then display the title of the track and the artist on the display. Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND with LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control and a text-to-speech function as standard, allowing the driver to listen to route-specific traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries or station names. New traffic reports relevant to the current route can be read out automatically by the system.

Voice-activated satellite navigation Continued development of the LINGUATRONIC system means that the navigation system in the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate can now be controlled by whole-word voice input: the driver no longer needs to spell out the names of countries, towns or streets. It is just as easy to use the voice-operated control to select a radio station or an entry in the phone/address book: all available or stored names can be called up without the need for prior voice-input training.

New, Stronger and Safer

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate sits on an all-new chassis architecture that features a raft of technological and engineering innovations to enhance rigidity, safety, dynamism, refinement and comfort. Around 72 per cent of all the bodyshell panels for the new E-Class Estate are made from ultra-high strength grades of steel - a new record in passenger-car development that boosts both safety and weight.

These advanced high-tech alloys, which boast three to four times the tensile strength of conventional high-strength steel grades, account for around eight per cent of the weight. They are used at points where the material can be exposed to exceptionally high stresses during an accident - such as the B-pillars, the side roof frames and the rear crossmember - cutting weight by a third compared to conventional sheet steel.

Aluminium Sheetmetal

To trim kerb weight, aluminium is used for the bonnet, front wings, transmission tunnel and various load-bearing sections. This lightweight metal is further employed in three robust transmission tunnel braces to enhance floorplan rigidity. The car's front end is a hybrid construction made from sheet aluminium and fibreglass-reinforced plastic, while the spare-wheel well is made of glassfibre matting-reinforced composite.

The doors also predominantly consist of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel to provide an even higher level of crash safety than the outgoing model. The inner door shells comprise steel blanks reinforced by additional sections in the area of the frame and the waistline as well as at bumper height. Additional members made from ultra-high-strength cold-formed steel, located in the lower area between the door's inner and outer shells significantly enhance side-impact protection. Each of the rear doors houses two of these diagonally arranged sectional panels. As a result of all these measures, the body's static torsional stiffness has been increased by more than 30 per cent compared to that of the outgoing model.

Lightweight Wheel

Technology The range of light alloy wheels and tyres offers a wealth of personalisation options with no fewer than six wheel and tyre combinations in 16-, 17- or 18-inch formats. Standard equipment sees SE models equipped with five twin-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels shod with low-rolling-resistance 225/55 R16 tyres. Thanks to a special forging technique, the weight of these wheels has been reduced by a total of 9.6 kilograms over previous versions. Avantgarde models have 17-inch 5-twin spoke wheels with 245/45 R17 tyres, while Sport versions have stylish 18-inch AMG 6-twin spoke wheels and 8.5J rims with 245/40 R18 tyres on the front and 9J rims behind with 265/35 tyres.

Riding on Air

All E-Class Estate models are fitted as standard with rear air suspension The rear suspension also features a self-levelling system to ensure an 'even keel' no matter how heavy the load. Full AIRMATIC is available as an option on V6 models.

Seven sensors monitor the driving situation and the position of the body, sending information to an electronic control unit. This also processes information concerning road speed, steering wheel angle, braking torque and engine torque, and uses the data to calculate the optimum shock-absorber characteristics.

The system adjusts the damping force for each wheel individually, depending on the current road conditions and driving situation. When driving normally, soft damping settings are also selected if the road surface is poor. This mode offers occupants of the E-Class Estate maximum comfort without impairing the outstanding directional stability, grip or handling safety. As the driving style becomes more dynamic, the shock-absorber settings are adapted continuously and therefore meet the driver's need for enhanced agility.

The driver can pre-program the principal vehicle characteristics at the push of a button on the dashboard. There are two modes to choose from: 'Comfort' and 'Sport'. In Sport mode, the hydraulic forces of the shock absorbers are increased to allow even better directional stability and grip at high speeds as well as reducing understeer at speeds of up to 75 mph.

Front Strut Suspension

The front layout features a wheel-locating MacPherson air suspension strut, which combines the shock absorber, air bellows and air reservoir. Engineered and developed to take into account the varying weight of the loads the car might be transporting, the air bellows are much larger than on the outgoing model and have been further optimised using a new and more robust material. The special shape of the air bellows made it possible to use a MacPherson air suspension strut in a luxury Estate for the first time.

Special attention has been paid to the head bearings for the new air suspension struts, which have to transfer all the forces and, therefore, need to be capable of withstanding extremely high loads in both the compression and rebound stages. An extremely rigid, diecast-aluminium flange supports the bearing, its special design ensuring ten times greater stiffness at the point where forces are applied compared to the outgoing model.

Multi-link Independent Rear Suspension

Mercedes-Benz' proven multi-link independent suspension has been further modified for the new E-Class Estate to meet comfort and agility requirements, no mater what the weight of the rear payload. Modifications to the self-levelling system include the axle carrier's front cross-bar, which now has a larger support base at the connecting points with the car's body.

In keeping with the lightweight-design concept at the heart of the new E-Class Estate, wheel location components such as struts, hub carriers and the metal sections of the elastomer bearings are largely made of aluminium. The rear-axle subframe is made of high-strength steel. Maximum towing weight is an exceptional 750 kg. A manually-folding factory fit towbar is a £695 option.

Long distance comfort

Newly-developed Direct Control suspension with standard-fit amplitude-dependent damping system is behind the high degree of long distance comfort provided by the E-Class Estate. The shock absorbers adapt to current driving situations, reducing damping forces automatically when driving normally, and increasing the forces as required when cornering at speed or performing evasive manoeuvres. The result ensures chassis and suspension meet driver requirements in terms of road noise, tyre vibration and agility - without ever compromising on active safety.

The shock absorber system works hydromechanically without the need for sensors or electronics. Its core components are a bypass duct in the shock absorber's piston pin, and a control piston which moves in a separate oil chamber. When the shock absorber bounce is low, the control piston moves oil through the bypass duct so that a lower damping force is produced at the actual shock absorber valve. The result is a high level of ride comfort. If the forces on the shock absorber rise, the control piston moves to its limit position so that oil ceases flowing through the bypass duct, meaning that the full damping force is available.

Refinement

As A Priority Several aspects of the three-link/MacPherson strut front suspension have been modified for the new car specifically to enhance ride comfort. In the interests of optimal axle kinematics, more favourable vibration characteristics and enhanced safety, the lower link level consists of two individual elements that serve as torque and cross struts. As well as offering more precise wheel location, the main benefit of these struts is that they allow better compensation for vibrations caused by tyre imbalance and fluctuations in braking forces than rigid wishbones. In addition, more crumple space is available in the event of a frontal crash. The third front-axle link is the track rod, which connects the transversely installed steering gear to the wheels.

The spring struts consist of cylindrical, transverse force-compensating coil springs, double-tube shock absorbers and newly developed three-phase head bearings. To optimise ride comfort further, an upright position for the spring strut has been developed to reduce the forces acting on the torque strut bearing. The front anti-roll bar is connected to the spring strut, which is likewise actively involved in locating the front wheels. Intelligent use of aluminium and steel reduces the weight of the front axle by 12 per cent compared to the outgoing model. The forward-slanting torque struts and the cross struts are made of aluminium.

Brakes

Large front and rear brake discs provide an ideal technical basis for ensuring safe and reliable deceleration in any driving situation. The front and rear discs measure up to 344 mm and 320 mm in diameter respectively, depending on the engine version. For brake cooling, engineers have developed two-section aluminium cover plates which have been tested in the wind tunnel and ensure that, whilst driving, the cool air flows from the underbody into the wheel arches and, ultimately, to the brake discs.

Further braking highlights in the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate include the pedals. As with other members of the E-Class family, Mercedes-Benz has used a steel and plastic hybrid design for the pedal support, which reduces weight and takes up less space than previously. In a Mercedes-Benz first the brake pedal, made from two shells welded together, is attached in this support. The shell design likewise helps to reduce weight and also ensures high torsional stiffness and bending strength.

ADAPTIVE BRAKE

With ADAPTIVE BRAKE, the new E-Class Estate offers an innovative braking system incorporating additional assistance functions for even greater comfort and safety. One example is the practical HOLD function: after the E-Class Estate has been braked to a standstill, briefly pressing the brake pedal a little further is all that is required to activate this function. The car is then held by the brakes, even if the driver's foot comes off the brake pedal. In this way, the ADAPTIVE BRAKE prevents the car from rolling forwards when stopped at traffic lights or stuck in stop and-go traffic and from rolling backwards when facing up a slope. The HOLD function is deactivated automatically when the car moves off.

If the driver's foot moves abruptly from the accelerator to the brake pedal before an emergency stop, the brake system increases the pressure in the brake lines and brings the pads into contact with the discs so that maximum braking power is available as soon as the driver hits the pedal.

ADAPTIVE BRAKE also enhances safety in the wet by sending brief braking pulses at regular intervals to remove the film of moisture from the brake discs, allowing the brakes to work to full effect. Activated when the windscreen wipers on the E-Class Estate have been operating for a set time, the driver will never notice the precisely-metered brake pulses.

Finally, the ADAPTIVE BRAKE assists the driver with hill starts. If the sensors detect that the E-Class Estate is stopped on an uphill slope, a hill-start-assist function is activated automatically, maintaining a constant brake pressure for a brief period to prevent the car from rolling backwards. The driver has enough time to move their foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator without having to use the foot-operated parking brake.

Dynamic Steering

Standard equipment on the new E Class Estate includes variable ratio rack-and-pinion power steering, which is more indirect in the central position compared to the outgoing model and, therefore, helps to improve directional stability and road adhesion at high speed. When the steering wheel angle exceeds around 100 degrees, the ratio becomes more direct to reduce the number of steering wheel turns required to park or manoeuvre.

Also available is the Direct-Steer system (standard on V6 models) which lives up to its name by providing the driver with more direct response when cornering and, therefore, even more agile handling. The variable rack ratio, which adjusts in line with the steering angle, increases sharply as soon as the angle reaches five degrees, meaning that the driver does not have to move the steering wheel so much when cornering, providing even more control.

In other driving situations the system offers the same advantages as the proven speed-sensitive power steering system. The new system gives the driver an exceptionally assured steering feel when driving at high speed as well as improving straight-ahead driving and directional stability. When driving slowly or parking, the new technology provides even more comfort than before as the direct ratio further reduces the steering effort required.

Saving fuel, enhancing feel A further highlight is the power steering pump featuring an electrically-controlled solenoid valve which controls a bypass opening and, as a result, allows metering of the oil quantity in line with requirements. This setup reduces the pressure and oil quantity when driving straight ahead - the power steering pump operates with a substantially reduced output and, consequently, helps to save fuel.

As before, the E-Class Estate is equipped with an individually adjustable steering column with a height adjustment range of 25 mm and a reach adjustment range of 25 mm, offering far more adjustability than other Estates in this market segment. A fully electrically-adjustable steering wheel is included if the optional Memory package (£1,225) is ordered. To enhance occupant safety, the column has been designed to collapse telescopically in the event of a frontal collision and has an extended deformation path, some 100 millimetres longer.

Diesel Engines

More for less - that's certainly true when looking under the bonnet of the new diesel-powered E-Class Estate range. The newly developed four-cylinder powerplants have a higher output than the previous six-cylinder units, despite the smaller displacement. And they return impressive fuel consumption figures previously only achievable in the compact-car class. The Mercedes-Benz strategy is to use smaller displacement turbocharged engines in place of larger, non-turbocharged engines. Key benefits include lighter weight, reduced internal friction and a more economical fuel-consumption map.

Power and Parsimony

In the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, the newly developed 2143cc diesel engine (already seen in the E-Class Saloon and Coupe) makes its Estate debut with two power levels - 170 hp in the E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and 204 hp in the E250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. Both powerplants return excellent combined cycle fuel consumption and a tax-effective CO2 emission figures of 54.2 mpg and 136 g/km.

This means the E250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY outperforms its predecessor by 20 per cent yet has the same displacement, while peak torque has increased by 25 per cent from 400 to 500 Nm. Both new engines deliver exceptional levels of refinement, complemented by agile responses, exceptional pulling power and strong performance: the E 250 CDI, for example, accelerates from zero to 62 mph in just 7.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 144 mph, where conditions allow.

Fourth Generation

This series of engines sees Mercedes-Benz introducing fourth-generation common-rail direct injection into series production. One of its hallmarks is a 400 bar increase in the maximum rail pressure, which now stands at 2000 bar for the E 220 CDI and E 250 CDI models. Newly developed piezo injectors are key components in the latest CDI generation. They use their piezoceramic properties to change their crystal structure - and therefore their thickness - in a matter of nanoseconds when electrical voltage is applied. The injectors are equipped with a stack of thin piezoceramic layers (called the 'piezo stack') to enable them to achieve a sufficient overall lift from the very small lift per layer.

In contrast to the systems commonly used to date, this lift activates the nozzle needle directly so that the fuel injection can be adjusted more precisely in line with the current load and engine-speed situation - for example by means of precise multiple injections, which have a favourable effect on emissions, fuel consumption and combustion noise. And the engine is far quieter when idling than its predecessor. The piezo injector can inject fuel 2000 times quicker than the blink of an eye - in just 20 microseconds.

Biturbo Focus

The new engine in the E 220 CDI and E 250 CDI Estate model features two-stage turbocharging providing improvements in start-up performance and peak output.

The compact module for the new two-stage turbocharger consists of a small high-pressure (HP) turbocharger and a large low-pressure (LP) turbocharger connected in series. The HP turbine is located directly at the exhaust manifold and initially allows exhaust gas to flow through it; it then rotates at up to 215,000 rpm. Its housing features an integral bypass duct, which can be opened or closed by means of a charge-pressure control flap triggered by a vacuum cell. If the flap is closed, the whole exhaust stream flows through the HP turbine, meaning that the exhaust-gas energy is available solely for the HP turbine drive, allowing optimum charge pressure to be built up at low engine revs.

As the engine speed increases, the charge-pressure control flap opens and a portion of the exhaust stream then flows through the bypass duct to relieve the HP section. Downstream, the two exhaust gas streams join up again, and any remaining exhaust gas energy drives the HP turbine at a maximum speed of up to 185,000 rpm.

To protect against overloading, the LP turbine is also equipped with a bypass, which is opened or closed by means of a wastegate. Once the engine reaches medium revs, the HP turbine's charge-pressure control flap is opened so wide that the HP turbine ceases to perform any appreciable work. This allows the full exhaust gas energy to be directed with low losses into the LP turbine.

The two turbos are similarly connected in series and are in addition connected to a bypass duct. The combustion air from the air cleaner first flows through the low-pressure turbo, where it is compressed as a function of the LP turbine's operating energy input. This pre-compressed air then passes into the high-pressure turbo, which is coupled to the HP turbine, where it undergoes further compression - the result is a genuine two-stage turbocharging process.

The key benefit of this sophisticated, on-demand control of the combustion air supply by means of two turbochargers is the improved cylinder charging and, consequently, high torque even at low revs. Other benefits include better fuel economy, a lack of turbo lag, a good torque curve across the entire engine speed range, spontaneous throttle response and noticeably improved performance.

As a logical addition to the turbocharger system, Mercedes-Benz installs a larger intercooler, which reduces the temperature of the compressed and heated air by around 140 degrees Celsius so that a larger volume of air can enter the combustion chambers.

Six-cylinder CDI: more power and torque but lower fuel consumption

In a similar vein, the 2987cc V6 diesel engine in the new E-Class Estate is one of the most sophisticated compression-ignition units in the world. Developing 265 hp at 3,800 rpm and a hefty 620 Nm at 1,600-2,400 rpm, this engine delivers outstanding agility when accelerating from rest and exemplary flexibility when accelerating in any gear: the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 6.7 seconds and onto a 155 mph electronically-limited top speed.

Despite the higher output and torque, combined cycle fuel consumption has been improved to an impressive 44.8 mpg, a figure achieved with the help of the sophisticated 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, fitted as standard.

The Mercedes engineers have gone to great lengths to optimise the technology at the heart of the V6 diesel engine, reducing the compression from 17.7 to 15.5, enhancing the turbocharger with a more efficient EGR cooling zone, switchable bypass duct, ceramic glow system, modified injection nozzles and optimised air ducting.

BlueTEC : one of the world's cleanest engines

The advanced new E 350 BlueTEC is powered by an advanced 2987cc V6 engine that features an innovative AdBlue® aqueous urea post-combustion treatment, the powerplant develops 211 hp at 3400 rpm and an impressive 540 Nm between 1600 and 2400 rpm, while returning a remarkable 38.7 mpg and 190 g/km CO₂ on the combined cycle.

BlueTEC is a proprietary Mercedes-Benz technology developed to reduce emissions - particularly nitrogen oxides - from diesel vehicles. The system in the E-Class injects AdBlue®, an aqueous urea solution, into the exhaust flow.

The resulting chemical reaction releases ammonia, which in turn converts up to 80 percent of nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water in the downstream SCR Selective Catalytic Reduction catalytic converter. The fully-integrated 25.7-litre AdBlue® tank is installed under the floor of the boot and the supply is replenished at regular maintenance intervals.

The forth-generation turbo diesel powerplant beneath the bonnet of the E 350 BlueTEC is one of the most sophisticated on the market. It has advanced features such as a lightweight aluminium crankcase, a Variable Nozzle Turbine (VNT) blower with electrically adjustable turbine blades, electrically controlled intake port shut-off for modified swirl characteristics, common-rail injection and piezo-electric injectors in place of solenoid valves.

These injectors have a crystalline structure that changes within milliseconds when subjected to an electric voltage. As a result the needle at the tip of the injector is raised with the precision of only a few thousandths of a millimetre, producing a particularly fine injection of fuel. Up to five fuel injections with a peak pressure of up to 1600 bar are possible for each power stroke for exceptional levels of refinement and efficiency.

In addition to its BlueTEC technology, the E 350 BlueTEC also enjoys the full benefits of Mercedes-Benz innovative range of bespoke BlueEFFICIENCY economy-boosting measures. Accordingly, the E 350 BlueTEC rides on bespoke tyres with a 10 per cent lower rolling resistance, achieved through the advanced rubber blends for the tyre tread and sidewall, while still retaining good handling and braking characteristics. The E 350 BlueTEC also features smooth underbody panelling, allowing the car to cleave cleanly through the air at speed thanks to reduced aerodynamic drag and lower wind resistance.

Knocking Down NOx

The newly developed EGR valve works like a rotary disc valve and ensures precise control of the fresh air and recirculated exhaust gas. To optimise the quantity of exhaust gas recirculated and thereby achieve high recirculation rates, the exhaust gases are cooled down as required in a highly efficient heat exchanger with a large cross-sectional area. Together with the HFM (hot-film air-mass sensor) module integrated in the fresh-air ducting, which provides the engine control unit with precise information about the current fresh-air mass, this setup brings about a significant reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions.

Rear-mounted Camshaft

Another of the features of the new diesel is the rear-mounted camshaft drive, which allows statutory pedestrian protection requirements to be met when the engine is installed longitudinally and the bonnet rises from front to rear. The valve timing mechanism is another new development and reduces friction at the 16 intake and exhaust valves, which are controlled by one overhead intake camshaft and one overhead exhaust camshaft acting via cam followers featuring hydraulic valve clearance compensation. The camshaft, Lanchester balancer and the ancillary assemblies are driven by a combination of gearwheels and just a short drive chain.

A switchable water pump helps to quickly heat up the combustion chambers and the friction partners as well as reducing fuel consumption and untreated emissions. The pistons are cooled by an oil pump with a central control valve for all four piston-cooling sprayer units with large oil-spray nozzles. The generous dimensions ensure optimum piston cooling, even at full load, and make for a long service life.

In Gear

Both manual and automatic transmissions fitted to the E-Class range (except the E 350 BlueTEC model) feature an advanced ECO start/stop function The tried-and-tested six-speed manual transmission has been further adapted to suit the high torque figures of the four-cylinder engines: more effective gearing, a dual-mass flywheel and a larger clutch means it is capable of transmitting peak torque of 500 Nm.

Standard equipment for the petrol powered E 250 BlueEFFICIENCY, E 350 BlueEFFICIENCY and diesel-powered E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and E 350 BlueTEC models is the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission. This transmission features three driving modes - Sport, Comfort and Manual - and the transmission characteristics are linked to throttle and suspension settings for an integrated dynamic experience. In 'C' mode, the 7G-Tronic Plus offers a consumption-optimised transmission mode that is always active once the engine has been started.

Earlier upshifts mean the power plant operates at a lower engine speed level and, therefore, consumes less fuel. A further new development is the standstill decoupling function: if the car is stopped at traffic lights or stuck in traffic, for example, the transmission shifts to 'N' position and thus reduces the engine load.

Petrol Engines

All petrol models in the E-Class Estate family employ direct fuel injection - a technology which allows further advances when it comes to improving petrol consumption. Compared to conventional port injection, direct fuel injection allows higher compression and, therefore, improved thermodynamic efficiency, saving motorists money at the pump: the new four-cylinder direct-injection powerplant for the E-Class Estate consumes up to 16 per cent less fuel than comparable engines installed in the outgoing model.

Compared to conventional port injection, direct fuel injection allows higher compression and, therefore, improved thermodynamic efficiency, saving motorists money at the pump: the new four-cylinder direct-injection power plants for the E-Class Estate consume up to 16 per cent less fuel than comparable engines installed in the outgoing model.

In the 204 hp E 250 BlueEFFICIENCY, Mercedes-Benz has replaced the previous V6 3.0-litre engine used in the erstwhile E 280 with a four-cylinder 1.8-litre unit (1796cc) that despite its smaller capacity still posts a three per cent increase in torque over the larger engine. This result reveals a further Mercedes strategy for the future: the use of turbochargers in small-displacement engines.

 

Alloy Intensive

The four-cylinder engines are made almost entirely of aluminium: the crankcase is made of cast aluminium, while a special high-strength aluminium alloy is used for the cylinder head. Two forged overhead camshafts with variable adjustment are used to control the 16 valves. A vane-type adjuster with integrated control valve allows fast and smooth adjustment of the timing, ensuring that it is always at the optimum setting.

This setup has two advantages: firstly, the variable camshaft adjustment enables a high torque yield even at low revs; secondly, this technology allows high specific outputs. The valves are controlled by means of cam followers and feature maintenance-free, hydraulic valve clearance compensation.

The new direct-injection petrol model features an electronically-controlled thermostat to ensure that circulation of the coolant is stopped when the engine is cold. This allows the engine oil to heat up quickly and, therefore, minimises in-engine friction and improves fuel consumption.

The turbocharger module is welded to the exhaust manifold on the engine's exhaust side and features a wastegate valve and a deceleration air function for controlling pressure characteristics. There are many benefits from using a turbocharger rather than a supercharger [which is driven by the engine]. By not requiring engine power to operate, a turbo is more efficient. It also takes up far less space, weighs around 4 kg less and offers better noise and vibration characteristics than a supercharger.

Raising the Bar

Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition in the field of direct petrol injection. As early as the mid-1950s, the company unveiled the technology in the legendary 300 SL 'Gullwing' Coupé. This classic sports car was the first series-produced automobile to feature a four-stroke engine with direct injection - a sensational development that significantly boosted the six-cylinder's output.

In the direct-injection system of the new E-Class Estate, the air and fuel are not mixed until they reach the combustion chambers. With the help of an injector, the fuel is injected into the cylinders at an angle of 30 degrees and, depending on the engine operating characteristics, at a pressure of up to 140 bar. Here the fuel droplets and the air particles form a mixture, which is guided to the spark plugs via specially shaped recesses in the pistons. By way of comparison, the fuel pressure in a four-cylinder engine incorporating conventional injection technology is approximately 3.8 bar.

To ensure optimum swirl in the mixture, thus making combustion fast and as complete as possible, the engines have intake ports with specially calculated flow characteristics. An adjustable swirl flap is also used to produce high turbulence in certain operating ranges and thus improve the combustion process. The high-pressure fuel pump is driven by the intake camshaft, while a quantity control valve integrated in the pump module ensures on-demand metering of the fuel supply.

A pressure regulator with its own sensor, monitored by the engine control unit, controls the pressure in the fuel line (rail), which is directly connected to the multi-hole solenoid injectors. The new four-cylinder direct-injection engines meet the EU 5 emission standard.

The new engines are exceptionally refined thanks to the newly-developed Lanchester balancer: Two forged shafts supported in three bearings, which are arranged below the crank mechanism and counter-rotate at twice the crankshaft speed.

The E 350 BlueEFFICIENCY is equipped with the world's first petrol engine to feature spray-guided direct injection. The six-cylinder 3498cc power plant develops 306 hp at 6500 rpm and provides peak torque of 370 Nm from 3,500 rpm to 5,250 rpm. Thanks to the state-of-the-art engine technology, combined cycle fuel consumption is improved to return 39.8 mpg, and performance remains exceptional with the benchmark sprint from 0 to 62 mph completed in just 6.7 seconds.

In 2006, Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to introduce spray-guided direct petrol injection into series production. Thanks to higher thermodynamic efficiency, this technology allows better use of the fuel and, therefore, improves fuel consumption and lower exhaust gas emissions.

The key benefit of the V6 engine is delivered in stratified-charge mode, when the powerplant operates with a high degree of excess air and, therefore, extremely fuel-efficiently. This advantageous 'lean-burn operation' is now also possible when the direct-injection unit is running in higher engine speed and load ranges because the combustion chambers are supplied with fuel several times in succession within a fraction of a second in every combustion cycle, thus improving mixture formation, combustion and consumption.

Fast and precise piezo injectors are key components of the second-generation direct petrol injection system. They open their nozzle points outwards, forming a gap that is mere micrometres in size, shaping the jet of fuel and ensuring its even, hollow-cone-shaped dispersion.

Thanks to their ability to switch within microseconds, the piezo injectors also allow for multiple injection that benefits lean-burn operation, thus playing a crucial role in achieving the engine's exemplary consumption figures. A high-pressure pump with downstream distributor and pressure valve supplies the fuel and ensures on-demand flow control. With a level of up to 200 bar, the system's fuel pressure is several times higher than that in a conventional port injection system.

The combustion process with several injections in succession per combustion cycle also enhances the refinement and emission characteristics of the V6. Untreated emissions (hydrocarbons) are reduced by more than half in the warm-up phase, while specifically-targeted injection and combustion control allows higher temperatures in the exhaust manifold, ensuring faster heating of the catalytic converters.

Emissions are controlled by two close-coupled three-way catalytic converters with linear lambda controls, which are activated immediately after a cold start. Mercedes-Benz reduces nitrogen-oxide emissions by means of two-pipe electrically-controlled exhaust gas recirculation, which directs up to 40 per cent of the exhaust gases back into the cylinders, depending on the engine's operation, and by means of two NOx storage catalytic converters on the underbody. During lean-burn operation, these catalytic converters absorb the nitrogen oxides and re-release them in short regeneration phases so that they react chemically to form harmless nitrogen and oxygen.

Four valves per cylinder, variable intake and exhaust camshaft adjustment, a two-stage intake manifold, a balancer shaft and intelligent thermal management are further highlights of the V6 engine with direct injection. The crankcase and cylinder head are made of aluminium; the cylinders are equipped with liners that have a low-friction aluminium-silicon coating.

Economy-optimised automatic transmissions

The E 250 BlueEFFICIENCY and E350 BlueEFFICIENCY models are both fitted with Mercedes-Benz' acclaimed 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission. This transmission features three driving modes - Sport, Comfort and Manual - and the transmission characteristics are linked to throttle and suspension settings for an integrated dynamic experience. In 'C' mode, the 7G-Tronic Plus offers a consumption-optimised transmission mode that is always active once the engine has been started.

Earlier upshifts mean the power plant operates at a lower engine speed level and, therefore, consumes less fuel. A further new development is the standstill decoupling function: if the car is stopped at traffic lights or stuck in traffic, for example, the transmission shifts to 'N' position and thus reduces the engine load.

Economy Drive

BlueEFFICIENCY - the watchword for exceptionally economical and eco-friendly Mercedes-Benz passenger cars - is a package of measures designed to reduce weight, aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, to further optimise engine technology and to make energy management even more efficient.

The Mercedes-Benz commitment to improving fuel consumption and reducing carbon-dioxide emissions looks at actual driver usage profiles. As part of a large-scale field trial, the typical driving profiles of Mercedes-Benz customers were ascertained and combined in an in-house fuel-consumption test covering almost 1.25 million miles. The result is that the BlueEFFICIENCY economy measure have a marked impact on everyday driving conditions - arguably where they matter most.

For the new E-Class Estate, Mercedes-Benz has put together an extensive raft of measures, which is one of the key factors behind the improved combined fuel consumption by an average of 16 per cent across the range From the power steering to the tyres, from the fuel pump to the alternator, development engineers scrutinised a wide range of components to determine if and how lightweight designs, new forms, more efficient control or enhanced functioning could be employed to save fuel. Although many of the individual measures only improved fuel economy by the odd percentage point or two, together they add up to a substantial saving.

Aerodynamically Active

The aerodynamic drag of a car rises by the square of the car's speed and at just 50 mph accounts for around half of all drag and rolling resistance. After countless computer calculations and hours in the wind tunnel, the engineers have optimised the aerodynamics of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. The overall result is an impressively low drag co-efficient of just 0.29.

One of the main reasons behind this outstandingly low drag coefficient is the new, electro-pneumatically controlled fan shutter. Air flowing through the radiator and the engine compartment accounts for up to 10 per cent of a car body's total aerodynamic drag. The fan shutter allows the engine's cooling air quantity to be limited in line with requirements, thus saving fuel. When the engine is running under part load requiring relatively little cooling, the radiator grille is closed by a circular system of louvres located behind the radiator. For minimum cooling, the shutter allows just a small amount of residual air to enter the engine compartment, but opens completely when the sensors signal that more cooling air is required.

When the fan shutter is closed, the co-efficient figure falls by 0.013, which is equivalent to a fuel saving of around 1.5 mpg when travelling at motorway speeds. The fan shutter is fitted as standard on all four-cylinder models and on the E 350 .

Energy Smart

The most important aspect when trying to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions is to avoid unnecessary energy losses - both internal losses caused by friction in the powertrain and losses due to drag and rolling resistance. The use of a turbocharger with direct petrol injection, as opposed to the previous mechanical supercharger used on the previous E 200 K model, allows more efficient energy management, as the mechanical drive power from the belt drive required to operate the supercharger is no longer needed. The biggest plus point in favour of the new four-cylinder engines is the precise operation of direct injection system, which brings about a major increase in thermodynamic efficiency compared to the previous port injection system.

Fuel vaporising in the cylinders lowers the temperature in the combustion chambers, thereby reducing the engine's tendency to knock and allowing higher compression. Engineers have succeeded in improving fuel consumption even further by incorporating an intelligent thermal management system which prevents coolant from being pumped through the cylinders when the engine is cold, meaning that the combustion chambers heat up more quickly.

Optimised Transmissions

Part of the BlueEFFICIENCY concept involved optimising the automatic transmissions for the new E-Class Estate. On the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, Mercedes-Benz has developed a standstill decoupling function: when the car is stationary at traffic lights or in a traffic jam, for example, the transmission switches to "N" position to reduce the engine load.

The standard-fit power steering system is based on an intelligent solution designed to prevent energy losses and, therefore, improve consumption. Unlike conventional systems, in which the power steering pumps operate at full power on a permanent basis, the pump in the new E-Class Estate features an additional valve for on-demand control. This means that, when the driver does not require steering assistance - when driving straight ahead, for example - an electronic control unit minimises the operating power of the pump.

Power is increased again spontaneously when the driver moves the steering wheel. In this instance too, the system operates on-demand, adjusting itself in line with the current steering angle, engine speed and vehicle speed. The same basic principle applies to the automatic climate control system in all four-cylinder diesel models: if the air conditioning system requires no cooling power, the air-conditioning compressor is disengaged from the engine's belt drive.

In order to ensure on-demand energy management, Mercedes-Benz uses controlled fuel pumps in the petrol engines for the E-Class Estate. In this setup, the engine control unit only calls for the maximum pump output during full-load operation. In other driving situations, the pump adapts the delivery volume and pressure in line with requirements, resulting in a fuel saving of up to 1.0 mpg.

The E-Class Estate also incorporates efficient alternator management so that kinetic energy, which converts to heat, doesn't go to waste. Instead, whenever the engine is coasting or the vehicle is braked, the voltage level in the vehicle electrical system is increased and the battery is charged. This increased alternator load assists the driver with braking and also helps to recuperate part of the braking energy, which is converted into electrical energy. Conversely, the alternator switches to no-load operation in certain situations - for example when accelerating or when the battery charge level is high - thus relieving the strain on the drive system.

The tyres also help to improve fuel consumption. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is fitted with newly-developed tyres whose rolling resistance has been reduced by up to 17 per cent without impairing their outstanding handling and braking characteristics. Finally, drivers can also help to save fuel, thanks to a display in the central multi-function display of the speedometer which indicates the current fuel consumption and also advises the driver when to change up a gear.

ECO Start/Stop

To reduce fuel consumption when the engine is idling, Mercedes-Benz has developed the ECO start/stop function, which witches off the engine as soon as the driver applies the brakes, shifts the manual transmission to neutral and releases the clutch; the engine is restarted as soon as the driver depresses the clutch.

Thanks to direct-start technology, the Mercedes-Benz-developed system operates spontaneously and with little noise: fuel is injected directly and ignited during the piston's compression stroke, allowing the engine to be started with only very little assistance from the starter. The engine only started conventionally - with longer starter assistance and fuel injection during the suction stroke - in operating ranges that do not allow an automatic start function to be used, for example when the engine is cold.

Active Safety

Having achieved major advances in the field of occupant protection, Mercedes Benz is focusing more than ever on preventing traffic accidents and reducing accident severity as part of its commitment to road safety. The new E-Class Estate is equipped with tried-and-trusted technology such as ABS, ESP® and Brake Assist as well as a dozen new or modified driver assistance systems specially configured to help prevent frequent causes of accidents. This unique combination of safety technologies turn the E-Class Estate into a car capable of seeing clearly, reacting instinctively and acting autonomously thanks to radar, cameras and sensors.

PRE-SAFE® Now Even Safer

In the new E-Class Estate, occupant protection begins in the phase leading up to a possible accident. The Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE® technology activates protective measures if there is a risk of an accident, allowing the seat belts and airbags to deploy with maximum effect in the event of a collision. This multi-award-winning technology is fitted as standard in the E-Class Estate, where it offers even more functions than previously.

PRE-SAFE® is able to recognise an impending accident because it offers an intelligent synergy of active and passive safety features. It is networked to Brake Assist and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), whose sensors recognise potentially dangerous driving situations and then transmit this information to the electronic control units within milliseconds.

The new E-Class Estate features even more measures aimed at preventing an imminent accident than its predecessor. Whereas PRE-SAFE® previously responded to emergency or panic braking - in other words when the driver hit the brake pedal- the system in the new E-Class Estate can now be activated if the optionally available Distronic Plus (£1,660 including Lane Tracking Package) system's short- and long-range radars have detected an impending collision and a certain level of deceleration is exceeded when braking. Occupants are prepared for the collision by tensioning of the seat belts and repositioning of the optionally available, fully electrically adjustable front-passenger seat (£1,225), enabling the seat belts and airbags to be activated and deployed to maximum effect.

The newly-developed dynamic multi-contour seat (optional £510) ensures that the driver and front passenger are seated even more securely, thereby limiting dangerous whiplash movements of the upper body in the event of an accident. If the PRE-SAFE® control unit detects a critical driving situation, it activates the air chambers in the seat cushions and backrests instantaneously. These then envelope the occupants and lend them extra support.

When combined with the Driver Assistance package (£1,660), which includes Distronic Plus and Brake Assist Plus, PRE-SAFE® also uses the information provided by the short-range radar sensors in the front bumper to tension the front seat belts at the very last moment before an unavoidable collision, thus reducing the forces exerted on the driver and front passenger during the crash. The seatbelts themselves operate with a reassuring 'pull' once engaged for an additional level of perceived security. This PRE-SAFE® function is literally the 'ultimate ratio' of anticipatory occupant protection, since the accident occurs around 200 milliseconds later.

Analysis performed during crash tests show just how important and effective anticipatory occupant protection can be. In the case of belt tensioning, for example, the precautionary measures mean that the driver and front passenger are held in their seats in the best possible position and so do not move forwards as much before the impact, thus reducing the load exerted on the head and neck area. These tests showed that the head was subjected to around 30 per cent less stress, while the Mercedes-Benz engineers recorded a reduction of around 40 per cent in the neck area.

Attention Assist as Standard

Fitted as standard, Attention Assist's highly sensitive sensors monitor the driver's behaviour and, based primarily on steering wheel movements, detect when the driver is becoming drowsy. According to studies, around a quarter of all serious road accidents are caused by drowsy drivers - making this an even bigger cause of accidents than drink-driving.

Developed by Mercedes-Benz, the system records more than 70 parameters which are then assessed for drowsiness detection. This continuous monitoring is crucial for detecting the floating transition from alertness to drowsiness and for giving the driver plenty of warning.

Attention Assist develops an individual driver profile during the first few minutes of every trip. This profile is then compared with the current sensor data and the prevailing driving situation by the car's electronic control unit. In addition to vehicle speed, lateral acceleration and longitudinal acceleration, the system also detects use of the turn indicators and pedals as well as certain control inputs and external influences such as side winds or road unevenness.

In development tests involving more than 670 drivers, Mercedes-Benz scientists determined that drowsy drivers have trouble steering a precise course making minor steering errors that are often corrected quickly and abruptly. This effect occurs at an early stage when drowsiness kicks in - often before the dangerous situation in which the driver momentarily falls asleep. If the system detects drowsiness, it emits an audible warning signal and flashes up an unequivocal message on the display in the instrument cluster: "ATTENTION ASSIST. Break!" The system is active at speeds of between 50 and 110 mph.

Nine Airbags

With air airbags fitted as standard, not to mention four seat-belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and Neck-Pro crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger, the new E-Class Estate offers an even more extensive package of safety equipment than ever before.

The airbags, which can deploy in a matter of milliseconds, include two adaptive airbags (for the driver and front passenger), a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front-seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A-pillar to the C pillar during a side impact. In addition, rear sidebags (£335) can be ordered as optional extras, giving the new E-Class Estate a total of up to eleven airbags for occupant protection. Three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt tensioners and belt-force limiters are fitted as standard for the driver, the front passenger and the occupants of the outer rear seats.

The Neck-Pro crash-responsive head restraint system was developed using analyses of real accidents, and is an effective means of reducing the risk of whiplash injuries during a rear-end collision. If the sensor system detects a rear-end collision with a defined impact severity, it releases pre-tensioned springs inside the head restraints, causing the head restraints to move forward by about 40 mm and upwards by 30 mm within a matter of milliseconds. This setup ensures that the heads of the driver and front passenger are protected at an early stage.

Pedestrian Protection

The protection of those road users who are most at risk has always been a top priority during the development of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Smooth-surfaced bodies, energy-absorbing bumpers, flush-mounted door handles, laminated-glass windscreens, folding exterior mirrors and recessed windscreen wipers are pedestrian-protection measures that have been features of Mercedes-Benz models for many years.

But, as ever, another top priority for the safety engineers is accident prevention. So systems such as Brake Assist, the cornering light function and Night View Assist Plus play crucial roles. Fitting Brake Assist as standard alone has reduced the rate of serious accidents involving collisions between pedestrians and Mercedes-Benz passenger cars by 13 per cent.

The additional protective measures Mercedes-Benz has introduced for the new E-Class Estate are based on these high standards. These include a newly developed Active Bonnet, which enlarges the deformation area, reducing the risk of injury to pedestrians. This system, fitted as standard, includes three impact sensors in the front section as well as special bonnet hinges pretensioned and arrested by powerful springs.

On impact with a pedestrian or animal, the sensors send information to the electronic control unit which, in turn, activates two solenoids in the hinges instantaneously. These solenoids release the arresters so that the rear section of the bonnet is pushed upwards by 50 millimetres using a spring. It all takes just a fraction of a second. As well as being extremely fast, the newly-developed Active Bonnet technology has a further crucial benefit in that it is reversible. If the bonnet is released in another type of collision, for example, Mercedes-Benz customers can easily reset it in a matter of seconds, reactivating the system themselves, allowing them to continue driving.

In addition, the deformation space between the bonnet and the assemblies beneath it have been increased by raising the car's exterior contours and lowering the engine, shock absorber towers, reservoirs and control units. Like all the latest Mercedes-Benz models, the front bumper on the new E-Class Estate incorporates a flush spoiler lip with a bracing function, which provides a pedestrian with uniform cushioning at an early stage in a collision.

Light Fantastic

All Avantgarde and Sport models feature the innovative Adaptive Highbeam Assist system, which adjusts the range of the headlamps automatically based on the distance to oncoming vehicles or moving vehicles in front of the car. The system, called Adaptive Highbeam Assist, always selects the optimum headlamp range, allowing the driver to see the course of the road, pedestrians or danger spots at an earlier stage than would otherwise be possible.

This new development is standard on the Avantgarde and Sport models along with bi-Xenon headlamps, the Intelligent Light System and LED daytime driving lights. In contrast to conventional systems, which merely switch between low beam and high beam, Adaptive Highbeam Assist controls the light distribution as the driving situation allows. The low-beam range can therefore be increased from around 65 to up to 300 metres - without dazzling other motorists.

If the system detects oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, it adapts the headlamp range continuously, based on the distance to these vehicles, so that the cone of light emitted by the headlamps ends before it reaches these vehicles. In addition, Adaptive Highbeam Assist takes into account the steering angle in order to dim the headlamps on tight bends. If the road ahead is clear, the system automatically switches to high beam.

Tests confirm that motorists who use Adaptive Highbeam Assist are safer on the road in the dark: dummies placed at the side of the road to simulate pedestrians were detected from a distance of around 260 m - around 150 m earlier than when conventional low beam is used - despite the presence of oncoming traffic. What's more, it relieves driver stress as there is no longer any need to repeatedly flick the stalk on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to concentrate on driving the car.

This innovative technology uses a camera, located on the inside of the windscreen, to monitor the situation ahead of the car. Thanks to an intelligent image-processing algorithm, the camera is able to detect other vehicles and the distance to them. The range of the variable-control bi-Xenon headlamps is set based on these findings and adapted continuously depending on the distance to the vehicle in front or the oncoming traffic. The system operates at lightning speed, sending new data to the headlamps every 40 milliseconds.

Adaptive Highbeam Assist is ready to act at speeds above 35 mph and operates autonomously once the driver has moved the rotary light switch to the 'Auto' position and selected high beam using the multifunction stalk on the steering wheel.

 

Intelligent Light System with five light functions

The Avantgarde and Sport models of the new E-Class Estate also feature the Intelligent Light System as standard. Five light functions are designed specifically for typical driving situations or weather conditions.

Country mode

At speeds above 55 mph, motorway mode is activated automatically, increasing the driver's range of vision by up to 60 per cent. This lighting function is activated in two stages: the Intelligent Light System first increases the output of the bi-Xenon bulbs from 35 to 38 watts, thereby increasing the light intensity and providing noticeably better illumination of the road ahead and the side verges.

The second stage is triggered at 68 mph, when the beam of the bi-Xenon module on the driver's side is elevated slightly. Motorway mode has a range of around 120 m, and the driver is able to see about 50 m further at the centre of this cone of light than is the case with conventional low-beam headlamps.

With enhanced fog lamps, the drivers' field of view is improved when visibility is poor. The new lighting function is activated at speeds below 40 mph, as soon as the rear fog lamp is switched on. The variable headlamp technology incorporated in the Intelligent Light System makes it possible to pivot the bi-Xenon headlamp on the driver's side outwards by eight degrees, while lowering the beam of light at the same time. This adjustment illuminates the inner half of the road more brightly and reduces the degree of glare from light reflected back by the fog.

The Intelligent Light System, part of the Light package, also includes the active light and cornering light functions. These are switched on automatically: depending on the steering angle, yaw rate and vehicle speed, the active-light-function pivots the headlamps sideways by up to 15 degrees almost instantaneously, thereby greatly enhancing illumination of the road. On an extended bend with a radius of 190 metres, this system enables the driver to see 25 metres further than is possible with conventional low-beam headlamps. This function operates in both low-beam and high-beam mode.

The cornering light function improves safety at crossroads, at T-junctions and on tight bends. It is activated automatically when the driver turns the steering wheel at a speed below 40 mph. The headlamps then illuminate the area diagonally in front of the vehicle for a distance of around 30 metres, with a coverage angle of up to 65 degrees.

Standard features on the twin-headlamp face of the new E-Class Estate in SE trim include halogen headlamps. For low beam, the Mercedes engineers have developed a sophisticated projection system, which is housed in the two larger lamps. The inner headlamps provide the high beam and serve as sidelights. Headlamp Assist, which switches on the headlamps automatically when it is raining, at dusk/dawn, in the dark and when entering a tunnel, is standard.

Daytime driving lights

When it comes to road safety, being seen is as just as important as seeing - and not just at night. This is why the standard equipment package for the new E-Class Estate includes daytime driving lights, which switch on automatically when the engine is started. They are deactivated when the driver switches on low beam or when the Headlight Assist turns on the headlights. Avantgarde and Sport models feature daytime driving lights based on a total of 14 elegantly arranged LEDs as standard. They boast a very high light output but have a very low energy consumption of just ten watts. These are dimmed when low beam is switched on.

Fast reacting LEDs are standard for the tail, brake and rear fog lights. Like many modern Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the new E-Class Estate is fitted with adaptive brake lights, which flash four times as fast as the hazard warning lights during an emergency stop and, therefore, provide an extremely effective warning for drivers behind if a head-to-tail collision is imminent.

The combination of directly and indirectly emitting LEDs used for the tail lights ensures that the red sections of the tail lights, which are drawn deeply into the car's flanks, are uniformly illuminated, while the indirectly emitting LEDs serve as background lighting and lend this light design its characteristic appearance.

Night View Assist Plus

Mercedes-Benz has enhanced the familiar Night View Assist system from the S-Class to include a special pedestrian detection function. The new upgraded system, Night View Assist Plus, is optionally available at £1,225. As soon as the system detects pedestrians up to 90 metres ahead of the E-Class Estate, they are highlighted by means of a frame with easily visible corners.

Night View Assist Plus uses infrared technology to improve the driver's range of vision in the dark and when there is oncoming traffic: two separate headlamps illuminate the road with invisible and, therefore, non-reflective infrared light. A windscreen-mounted camera designed to pick up precisely this type of light records what happens in front of the car and sends the image to a display on the dashboard. The clear, needle-sharp greyscale image that appears here shows the scene in front of the car, allowing the driver to see pedestrians, cyclists or obstacles on the road at an early stage.

Lane Tracking Package

The Lane Tracking package newly developed for the E-Class Estate (available as a £735 optional extra and includes Blind Spot Assist) incorporates two assistance systems which help the driver stay in lane and change lanes safely: Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.

The new Lane Keeping Assist system is based on a camera on the inside of the windscreen, which can detect road markings by evaluating the difference in contrast between the road surface and the markings. Based on this information, an electronic control unit determines the position of the E-Class Estate and detects when the car leaves its lane on the left or right.

Unlike conventional systems of this type, the Mercedes-Benz assistance system also assesses the driver's actions and, in doing so, can reliably ascertain whether the car has left its lane intentionally or unintentionally. If Lane Keeping Assist detects that the E-Class Estate is leaving its lane unintentionally, however, it activates an electric motor in the steering wheel, causing the steering wheel to vibrate briefly three times - a discreet yet highly effective way of prompting the driver to countersteer.

The timing of the warning depends on the width of the road and the type of lane markings. If the car crosses over a continuous white line on the road, as opposed to a broken white line, the system emits its warning earlier. Lane Keeping Assist operates at speeds of between 35 and 155 mph - as soon as the system has detected a lane marking.

The second system in the Lane Tracking package, Blind Spot Assist, helps drivers to change lanes safely. It uses short-range radar sensors (rather than cameras) housed on both sides of the rear bumper to monitor the areas directly to the side of and behind the car.

This process enables them to see if there is another vehicle in the adjacent lane - in the blind spot. In such situations at speeds above 20 mph, the system informs the driver by illuminating a red warning triangle in the glass of the exterior mirror. If the driver fails to see this warning and indicates to change lanes, the warning triangle starts to flash and a warning signal sounds.

Driver Assistance Package

Distronic Plus and Brake Assist Plus (optional £1,660 includes Lane Tracking Package) are highly effective at helping to prevent accidents: on motorways, the accident rate can be reduced by as much as around 36 per cent.

Distronic Plus proximity control operates at speeds of between 0 and 125 mph: it uses sophisticated radar technology to keep the car a set distance behind the vehicle in front, applies the brakes as required and can even bring the car to a complete halt, depending on traffic conditions.

If the gap to the vehicle in front narrows too quickly, the system gives the driver an audible warning and, as soon as this first warning signal sounds, automatically calculates the brake pressure required to prevent a collision in this situation. This technology helps the driver to gauge the level of risk and, in combination with Brake Assist Plus makes the calculated brake boosting force available instantly, even if the driver does not press the brake pedal forcefully enough. Brake Assist Plus allows controlled, targeted braking and, if necessary, increases the braking force right up to the point at which an emergency stop is performed, depending on the road speed and the distance to the vehicle in front.

When a potential accident is recognised, assistance is provided courtesy of two short-range radar sensors behind the front bumper and a long-range radar, now with a range of 200 m, in the radiator grille. In addition, the sensor now also boasts medium-range detection capability, allowing monitoring of the area up to around 60 m ahead of the car with a 60-degree beam width.

This new technology enables even more accurate monitoring of the traffic situation and even better detection of dynamic events such as a car in front swerving suddenly. The two wide-beam short-range radar sensors with an 80 degree beam width and a range of around 30 m are still employed.

Automatic Emergency Braking

Accident research shows that drivers do not always react as quickly as is necessary at critical moments - for example because they are distracted and therefore do not recognise the immediate threat of a head-to-tail crash, or because they fail to heed the warning signals given by an assistance system. The PRE-SAFE® Brake, available as part of the optional Driver Assistance package, intervenes in situations such as these by braking the car automatically.

It does so in two stages: around 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact point - after three audible warning signals - the system initiates partial braking autonomously and decelerates the car with around 40 per cent of the maximum braking power as well as activating the PRE-SAFE® occupant protection systems as a precaution.

Designed to supplement the visual and audible warnings, autonomous partial braking gives the driver a further signal to act. If the driver then brakes immediately, the maximum braking force is made available or, if the driver swerves, the accident can be avoided at the last moment. If the driver fails to react, however, even after automatic partial braking, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking power around 0.6 seconds before the now unavoidable collision. This emergency braking can reduce the severity of the impact by a substantial margin.

Tests have revealed that autonomous PRE-SAFE® braking reduces the impact speed by 10 mph on average. The system therefore acts like an 'electronic crumple zone', offering occupants even greater protection. The PRE-SAFE® Brake is active at speeds of between 18 and 125 mph when moving vehicles are detected in front of the car. The system also reacts if the car approaches a stationary queue of traffic, providing its speed is below 45 mph.

Parking Aids

A newly developed system, Advanced Parking Guidance, can help drivers to park safely on the basis of ultrasonic technology: sideways-mounted sensors on the front bumper record the length of a parking space as the car drives past it (at a speed of up to 22 mph), and indicate on the display whether the space is large enough to park in. After reverse gear has been engaged, instructions for safe parking appear on the display in the instrument cluster.

The tried-and-trusted Mercedes-Benz Parktronic system is standard on the new E-Class Estate. It uses radar externally, and LEDs and audible signals internally to indicate the distance between the E-Class Estate and an obstacle or another vehicle when parking. It is also activated during this parking guidance to assist the driver. Mercedes-Benz offers a further parking and manoeuvring aid in the shape of a reversing camera (£390), which views the area behind the car and sends the image to the display in the instrument cluster.

Testing, Testing

The pioneering work carried out by Béla Barényi enabled Mercedes-Benz to develop the basic principles of passenger-car safety in the 1940s and 1950s, and these tenets still apply to this day. Barényi's ideas first came to fruition in the 1953 'Ponton' Mercedes. This precursor to the latest E-Class family was the world's first car to feature a crash-stable floor assembly, which enhanced occupant safety in the event of a frontal or side impact.

This engineering-led devotion to peerless safety is embodied in the new E-Class Estate, which employs the latest development and calculation methods and the use of state-of-the-art bodyshell materials. During the course of its development, it underwent 150 crash tests and more than 17,000 crash test simulations in order to pass external safety standards as well as Mercedes-Benz' own internal test regime which exceeds statutory requirements.

Showing its Mettle

The passenger cell of the new E-Class Estate is a robust structure, engineered to be virtually immune to deformation and to keep the passengers' survival space intact, even at high impact speeds, regardless of whether the collision is head-on, from the rear or from the side, or whether the vehicle rolls over. The integrity of the passenger compartment is maintained by the extensive use of use high-strength tailored steel blanks and additional load-bearing members.

The main floor assembly consists of custom-designed tailored blanks plates that undergo flexible rolling to create different steel thicknesses within a single component. The middle blank forms the tunnel - the actual spine of the passenger cell. The thickness of the custom-designed panels in the backbone of the chassis varies between 0.7 and 1.1 millimetres, while additional tunnel reinforcements vary between 1.55 and 2.0 millimetres, depending on the stresses and loads to which they are exposed.

Other new features which are equally crucial for both occupant protection and the rigidity of the bodyshell include the extensive use of ultra-high strength grades of steel. Around 72 per cent of all the bodyshell panels for the new E-Class Estate are made from this high-tensile steel - a new record in passenger-car development - that boosts both safety without increasing weight. Additionally, the insides of the floor side members are further reinforced with additional sections. Their front sections connect to the side members, thereby lengthening the load-bearing paths along which forces can be distributed in the event of an impact. At the rear, the floor side members extend as far as the crossmember beneath the rear seat unit to stabilise the entire floor structure.

Loadbay Safety

The rear-end structure of the E-Class Estate comprises multi-piece longitudinal members and a solid cross member made of high-grade steel to deliver exceptionally robust rear-impact protection. To further enhances the integrity of the Estate's loadbay structure an extruded aluminium hat-section profile has been inserted between the rear centre section and the spare wheel well, while the wheel well itself is made of steel that's reinforced with an additional metal shell for optimum strength. The floor of the load compartment has been reinforced with additional diagonal struts and longitudinal members with closed cross sections. As with the E-Class Saloon, the Estate's fuel tank is located beneath the rear seats and outside of the impact zone, and the tailgate is made from high-strength steel.

Unsecured items in the rear of an estate car can turn into potentially lethal object under severe deceleration. In a 35mph frontal collision a 20 kg suitcase will strike the back of the rear seats with a force equivalent to a weight of more than 600 kg. Which is why the E-Class Estate is fitted with the following load-securing and luggage-retention features

The combined luggage cover and retaining net, which is firmly attached to the vehicle body, comes as standard. If the tailgate is opened, the load compartment cover is automatically raised to allow unobstructed loading and unloading. When the luggage compartment is closed again, the load compartment cover automatically returns to its initial position. The retaining net can be attached behind both the first and second row of seats. No matter of how far it is extended, an extraction lock with ratchet mechanism helps to ensure that no objects can come through into the passenger area.

The rear seat backrests are significantly stiffer and stronger than standard legislation requires.

The new PRE-SAFE Brake function (included with Driving Assistance package - £1,660 optional extra) can significantly reduce the inherent dangers of a poorly packed luggage compartment. The system's initial autonomous braking will result in the load being automatically supported against the rear seat backrest, the ideal position for the load should further braking be necessary.

Items can be tied down in the luggage compartment using the six standard-fit lashing eyelets, while the folding load compartment floor and EASY-PACK load fixing kit system also enable objects to be transported safely.

Beneath the main loadbay is a handy 132-litre stowage compartment (when the car is fitted with the TIREFIT spare tyre replacement option). Combined with the EASY-PACK folding load compartment floor, this compartment offers exceptional versatility by folding the floor and adjusting it into different positions. It can, for example be used to lower the loadbay floor height when carrying particularly tall items.

Four-Level Crumple Zone

Compared to the outgoing model, the new E-Class Estate features enlarged deformation zones in the front and rear sections to improve energy flow management during an impact. The front crumple zone has four independently-acting impact levels.

Firstly, sectional panels above the wheel arches form the upper side-member level. From here, the impact forces are channelled into the A-pillars and then into the roof frame. The side skirts have also been extended forwards to support the wheel and prevent it from entering the footwell in the event of an offset frontal collision.

Secondly, an aluminium crossmember connects the forward-extended side members and ensures that the forces are transferred to the side facing away from the impact. The crossmember and the forward-extended side members form the central impact level.

Thirdly, the subframe to which the engine, steering and front axle are attached also serves as an impact level in the event of a frontal collision. It is made of high-strength steel and, depending on the engine variant, has been connected to the newly developed floor side members by means of special supporting tubes. As a consequence, the subframe can deform in a predetermined manner and absorb energy in the event of a crash on the one hand and channel high impact forces straight into the vehicle floor on the other.

And finally, the firewall is a four-part construction with varying thicknesses according to the level of vulnerability in an accident. As the load acting on the firewall during a frontal crash is greatest in the lower section, the sheet steel used here is almost twice as thick as elsewhere in the firewall.

Impact absorbing front subframe

The front-axle, steering, engine and transmission components are pre-mounted on a high-strength-steel subframe which is bolted securely to the body's side members, to create a key component in the new E-Class Estate's front crash structure. In the event of a frontal impact, the subframe forms a separate load-bearing path along which the impact energy is absorbed at specific points. The stiffness at the connecting points between the subframe and the body where load is transferred has been increased substantially.

Lightweight Construction

Aluminium is used for the bonnet, front wings, and various load-bearing sections, while the front end is a hybrid construction made from sheet aluminium and glass fibre-reinforced plastic. The front single-section aluminium crash boxes are inserted and bolted into the side members and can therefore be replaced cost-effectively following an accident.

The spare-wheel well is made of steel, while particular attention paid to the connecting points between the chassis and body, which have to withstand extremely high loads. These were specifically reinforced to prevent road-induced vibrations from being transferred to the body and reducing driver engagement. As is usual at Mercedes-Benz, the fuel tank is located in a protected position beneath the rear seats, in other words in front of the rear axle and, therefore, outside of the impact zone.

The optional third row of two child seats (£890 in Artico, £1,000 in leather) effectively transforms the Estate into a spacious seven-seat people carrier. The seats, which fold easily and quickly out of the loadbay floor both incorporate three-point seatbelts and full head restraints. These rear passengers are afforded the same levels of rear impact protection as all other passengers by the inclusion of a strengthened U-shape aluminium extrusion that runs along the fore-aft axis of the car. This channels impact energy into the rear axle to provide excellent protection in the event of a rear impact.

Transmission tunnel braces - robust aluminium transverse sections - have also been incorporated into the floor assembly. One is located beneath the transmission, and is designed to direct forces to the side of the vehicle facing away from the impact in the event of a side-on collision. The second forms a connection between the two side members. It braces the floor assembly and is able to channel impact forces into the floor structure at an early stage following a side-on collision.

Multi-piece side members and a robust, flexible crossmember made from ultra-high-strength steel form the key components of the rear-end structure. The rear side members are continuous, closed box sections with carefully graduated material thicknesses. These are able to absorb high forces, thereby making a decisive contribution to occupant safety in the event of a rear impact. The bolt-on flexible crossmember is manufactured using a flexible rolling process, which also allows the material thickness to be varied as required. Accordingly, the material thickness on the outside of the crossmember - where impact loads are highest - is greater than on the inside.

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