The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate has been around since the early 90s, and in that time it has grown into one of the most important cars in the executive car market.
It's back with a new, stylish shape. AOL Cars headed to Germany to see if it's still as practical and luxurious as ever...
What is it?
This is the estate version of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The saloon has been with us a while and now it's time for the load-lugging variant to hit the market.
Boot space is the priority here, and this car delivers one of the biggest, most usable luggage areas in the segment. There's 1,820 litres with the rear seats down and a still-impressive 640 litres with everything up. There are also luggage rails, bag hooks and many other useful accessories to help owners make the most of the big boot.
What's under the bonnet?
The engines are the same as those found in the saloon, so there's nothing particularly new to talk about. The car we're driving today, however, has the most newsworthy engine of them all.
It's Mercedes' new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel, which is the first fruit to come from its plan to invest £2.3 billion in developing more energy-efficient engines.
What's the spec like?
Highly impressive. The interior, which is shared exactly with the saloon, is of the highest quality and isn't as far from S-Class quality as you might expect.
The highlight is the twin 12.3-inch 'floating' screens that flow from the top of the centre console to behind the wheel. They're an optional extra, costing £1,495 and £495 for the Comand Online system and second screen respectively.
There's also Mercedes' suite of semi-autonomous driving features. Drive Pilot is the highlight, which uses radar sensors, a stereo camera behind the windscreen and sensors in the rear bumper to keep the car in lane and up to speed all by itself.
The most obvious rival to the E-Class estate is from its German rival, BMW. The 5-Series Touring is similarly priced and offers a better driving experience. However, the Mercedes feels much higher quality inside.
What's it like to drive?
The E-Class is not the sort of car you can take for a carefree blast down your favourite country road. While the 5-Series might get away with impersonating a lighter, nimbler car, the Mercedes can't.
That said, it's perfect for cruising along the motorway in comfort. The cosy seats, lack of wind noise and effortless pace from the diesel engine make long distances a breeze.
AOL Cars verdict
For those looking at a premium executive estate, the two key competitors are the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate and the BMW 5-Series Touring. As you've probably gathered from reading the above, there's not a huge amount of difference between the two.
It all comes down to personal preference. The BMW will appeal to keener drivers, while the Mercedes is for those who value image and cruising in comfort. Neither will disappoint.
Model: Mercedes-Benz E-Class 220d Estate
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds
Max speed: 146mph