Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mercedes-Benz E250 Estate (2010)

The Mercedes E-Class Estate is the most recent in a trio impressive mid-range Mercedes intended at the middle-management business execs.

At slightest that’s the target audience, with
the saloon for the 'traditional, no-nonsense exec', the coupe for the 'thrusting, go-getting exec' as well as the Estate for the 'family man exec'.

The E-Class Estate is the model that seem
s to cover up all the bases. It is probably the best-looking of them all (the Mercedes E-Class design seems to lend itself well to the touring model); it has got plenty of loadspace and with a target market likely to be a golf-playing father-of-two its pretty much strike the bullseye.

Prices haven't been announced yet but Estate buyers will possibly have to pay a £2,000 premium over the saloon. Expect to pay between £32k for the entry-level E200 CDI, around £50k for the E500 and then just over £70k for the E63 AMG version.

There is a raft of models; however the biggest seller is likely to be the diesel-powered E220 CDI. Petrol versions will be a minority sport moreover the bonkers AMG will be meant for Merc enthusiasts only.

However does this standard E-Class represent a sensible buy? Read on to find out.

Reliability and Quality

Mercedes Benz has recovered its once-tarnished reputation for quality but things have absolutely changed over the past few years.

The preceding E-Class scored four out of five in
JD Power consumer satisfaction surveys and this is an improvement, therefore things do bode well.

There's little to complain about so far. The diesel engines must be pretty bulletproof and all the fixtures as well as fittings on our test car were u
p to the highest standards, with a comfortable as well as well-appointed cabin.

There were however, a few dodgy looking plastic panelling
on the lower half of dash - a pity as the rest of the interior is of quality.

On the road
The BMW 5-Series remains top of the estate car tree for managing and on-the-road thrills, but the Mercedes Benz E-Class Estate is comes close to eclipsing it as a better all-rounder. It feels taut enough to give you confidence on cornering yet it is not so stiffly sprung that it will displace your nerves when cruising or pootling around town. It is nearly the perfect balance of comfort as well as agility, and in that respects it trumps the rather fidgety 5-Series.

It does have the tendency to understeer in tight corners, although comes close to being the perfect grand tourer on fewer demanding roads.

The engine range is comprehensive with a wide selection of diesels and petrols for all tastes and needs. The CDI models will structure the majori
ty of E-Class Estate sales in the UK, however. Every models, bar the E350 4Matic, the E500 and the E63 AMG flagship, feature Mercedes' Blue Efficiency fuel-saving technology.

We experienced what is likely to be the UK's best-selling version, the E220 CDI, and it doesn't differ wildly from the saloon. It weighs 100kg
more, which adds 0.2 second to the 0 to 62mph time, and its 5mph slower at the top end but you are not likely to feel the difference.

Through 167bhp and peak torque of 295lb-ft delivered between 1,400 and 2,800rpm it hardly ever feels underpowered. Certainly, it does make som
e sort of sense to opt for the gruntier 368lb-ft E250 CDI which will lop a further second off the 8.8 second 0 to 62mph time and provide you that extra oomph for overtaking.

Though Mercedes wants to sell more manuals, only autos were available on our test drive. The manual comes with a hill-hold device to ease step-off meant for the foot-operated parking brake.

There is a good selection of gearboxes: entry-l
evel models get a new six-speed manual, four-cylinder models can be ordered with a smooth five-speed auto 'box and six-cylinder and eight-cylinder versions get the 7Gtronic seven-speeder with a little awkward steering column-mounted gearchanger lever.Both auto gearboxes include a sequential-shift mode as well as selectable sport/comfort modes, but they perform so intuitively that you might as well leave them to do their thing. Ratio changes are absolutely timed and nearly imperceptible.

Steering is well-weighted - if a little light - and brakes are more powerful enough to stop you sharply with no fuss.

Safety and Security

The E-Class Estate has very high safety levels, incorporating the most recent technology that has been introduced on the high-end S-Class.

There are 3 stages of ESP and traction c
ontrol, a drowsiness detection system, seat belt pre-tensioners, blindspot monitors, lane-keeping assist, a night vision camera along with an emergency braking system that operates automatically if it finds out a collision.

There are also 7 airbags.

Running Costs
For such a huge estate car, a carbon dioxide (CO2) emission of 150g/km for the E220 CDI model fitted with a manual gearbox is extremely commendable.

This means it is eligible for the VED Band G for road tax whereas business users are responsible for the 21 percent Benefit-in-Kind company car tax bracket.

Coupled to 49.6mpg combined economy, this makes the new E-Class Estate a very eye-catching proposition for company car drivers especially if they are downsizing from a big 4x4.

Unfortunately though, it's still several ways off being best-in-business when it comes to costs. Its arch-enemy, the BMW 5-Series Touring, emit
s around 140g/lm of carbon dioxide (CO2) and averages an unbeatable 53.3mpg, meaning it not only sits in the lower VED road tax Band E, however business users also face a 3 percent lower tax bill (19 percent BIK).

Serious consideration must be given to the more powerful E250 CDI. This has improved performance (it is a second quicker to 60 with its 8.8s dash), but offers exactly the same fuel economy and emissions as the E220 CDI and there is only a £,1500 price premium.
Comfort and Equipment
As a practical load-lugger, the E-Class Estate makes real sense. You acquire plenty of head- and legroom in the front and the rear, and with the seats upright you get a 695 litre load capacity, which is bigger than that offered by the paragon of practicality, the Ford Mondeo Estate. With the seats down you also obtain a Mondeo-beating 1950 litres of luggage space even if they don't leave a completely flat load floor.

The seats are firm and broad but we assume that the side cushions on the front pairing that automatically hem you on tight corners are an needless option that can get irritating after a very long journey.

It's serene in the cabin: road and wind noise is well contained whereas the diesel growl on the E220 CDI may get intrusive when accelerating hard.

The E-Class Estate uses the similar trim levels as the saloon: SE, Avantgarde and Sport. Mercedes says the new car represents a £1,400 saving over the earlier model thanks to increased levels of the equipment.

Heated front seats are standard even on base SE models, as is climate control also an electronic parking aid. There is also an electric tailgate and easy release rear seat levers, self-levelling rear air suspension, front seats, alloy wheels, parking sensors and Bluetooth connection.

The Avantgarde offers larger alloys, LED daytime running lights, leather seats along with 15mm lowered suspension whereas Sport comes with an AMG body kit and alloys and sports suspension.

Used Value
The Mercedes E-Class Estate is not magnificent for residual values. The E350 petrol return as little as 29 percent of their original purchase price after three years/36,000 miles.

The diesels, meanwhile, are the most excellent bet with the E220 CDI returning about 40 percent over the same period; however both results are comprehensively beaten by the BMW 5-Series Touring. Even the least desirable 5-Series returns around 36 percent of its new values 3 years on while the most in demand diesels claw back a fine 46 percent of its value.

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