Replacing a hero is never easy but Mercedes-Benz has pulled it off with the twin-turbo V6 E 400 taking the place of the much-loved E 350. In Estate (wagon) form, the E 400 is a seductive prestige European wagon which delivers family-sized space with the hallmark ‘Benz luxury.
It’s undeniable that the Germans have mastered the prestige wagon segment – as anyone who has seen these high-performance load-luggers powering down the famed autobahns will attest. As well as the E 400 ‘Benz, the BMW 5-Series Touring and Audi A6 Avant max-out the desirability factor with performance and style to spare.
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate Overview
At its most recent facelift, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class received some mild (but very nice) styling changes and some substantial new technology. Among the highlights were Active Lane Keeping Assist (with short-term self-steering when white lines are both sides) and a 360-degree camera.
CarShowroom.com.au tested the Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate – at $136,700 the range-topper of the ‘mainstream’ E-Class family (well only the $240,485 E63 AMG is more expensive).
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate Engine
There were a few tears when Mercedes-Benz announced the much-loved atmo V6 E350 was a goner – replaced by the twin-turbo V6 E400. But facts are facts and the forced-induction 3.0-litre is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient.
Maximum power of 245kW is delivered between 5250rpm – 6000rpm and peak torque of 480Nm arrives from as low as 1600rpm.
Fuel consumption scores 8.0l/100kms.
Drive is to the rear wheels via Mercedes-Benz’ magnificent 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-shifters for manual changes.
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate The Interior
Quality and class are the obvious words to describe the interior of a Mercedes-Benz…any Mercedes-Benz. And these attributes are obvious in the latest E 400 Estate.
Up-front it’s the lovely current generation E-Class we like so much – beautiful surfaces, glorious leather and, with the Sports pack, that superb AMG-sourced flat-bottom sports steering wheel. Instrumentation is the usual ‘Benz combination of analogue gauges and nice colour graphics and theirs is the ubiquitous Mercedes steering column stalk gear lever.
To the left is the massive screen for the reversing camera/navigation and Harman Kardon audio system. Want proof of why you pay more for ‘Benz technology? Just check the clarity of the on-screen image when you select reverse.
But wagons need to focus out-back and here ‘Benz delivers with ample room and the smart 60:40 split-fold seat with its ‘Easy-Pack’ folding system (release levers in both the seat backrest and D-pillar).
Luggage space is reasonable although we did have to remove the driver from our golf bag to fit (this is not unusual in mid-size wagons).
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate Exterior & Styling
As mid-life facelifts go, styling changes for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class were not massive – nor was that a requirement as this is ‘Benz styling at its best. We like the more modern front-end look and integration of the Estate’s wagon rear-end is a work of art.
In fact the rear-end looks very racy with the large, modern tail-lights and those racy exhaust tailpipes.
And the side view is very impressive with that glorious angled roofline and extended glasshouse oozing style.
Among the extras in the AMG Sport Package the 18-inch alloy wheels are standouts.
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate On The Road
Mercedes-Benz’ 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is quite an engine. The combination of 245kW/480Nm and that glorious seven-speed auto made short work of the not-insubstantial 1810kgs of the E 400 Estate as we tackled our high-speed mountain roads test loop in both dry and wet conditions.
In the damp going, with all that power, we were glad of a rear-drive layout and Benz’ thoughtful calibration of the ESC. Just the right amount of rear-end reaction for enthusiast drivers to enjoy.
And even though it’s a wagon, the E 400 Estate still points and steers just as you’d expect from an E-Class ‘Benz – helped by the new electromechanical Direct-Steer system. That adaptive damping is impressive- one of our runs through the twisty stuff was with the E 400 Estate loaded with luggage and we must say we couldn’t detect deterioration in the driving dynamics.
Around town there is that hallmark European suspension firmness which you do notice going over Melbourne’s notorious tram track crossings (and perhaps exaggerated when the wagon has no load out-back).
Of course the flip-side is convenience and our Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate was a handy ally as we trundled off to netball and baseball with the CarShowroom.com.au juniors.
For a refined yet fast wagon, the Mercedes-Benz E 400 stakes a claim to being the world’s best.
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate Issues
The E 400 Estate is fabulous…but call us old-school, we’re still in love with the now discontinued E 63 AMG Estate. Now there’s no real rival for Audi’s piping-hot RS6 Avant.
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate Verdict
It’s a fact the Germans do these mid-size wagons better than anyone, and for our money the Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate is the pick of the bunch. Well we have to overlook the rip-snorting Audi RS6 Avant because it’s priced at $225,000 and is only coming in limited numbers.
We’re the Merc triumphs is its cohesiveness. Probably better than anyone else, ‘Benz knows how to meld the best of its sedan models into wagons loaded with desire (even the entry-level $61,900 C200 Estate is a good thing).
The Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate is beautiful to look at (inside and out), practical, fast and a delight to drive. Here’s proof positive that family wagons needn’t short-change in style and substance.
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Estate The Competition
Audi’s A6 Avant is a tad short of petrol-fuelled vehicles. You go from the four-cylinder 2.0TFSI ($81,800) to the $225,000 V8 RS6 Avant. No doubt about the looks of the A6 Avant however – beautiful.
From BMW we have the 535i Touring. Priced at $122,900 and powered by BMW’s 225kW/400Nm turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder, the ‘Beemer’ is outgunned under the bonnet and isn’t quite as cohesive when punted hard in the twisty stuff.