Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Our pick of the Mercedes E-Class Estate engines is the 191bhp 2.0-litre E220d diesel. It blends good fuel economy with enough grunt that you don't need to rev like billy-o to hit motorway speeds. When you do give it some beans, it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 7.8sec, which is about as quick as a BMW 520d Touring. If you want a diesel with more poke, there’s the 261bhp E300d 4Matic or the 326bhp 2.9-litre six-cylinder E400d 4Matic: a stonking bit of kit that pulls hard and hits 62mph from rest in 5.3sec.
For the cheapest company car tax, though, you need the E300de plug-in hybrid. It uses the 2.0-litre diesel engine (from the E220d) with an electric motor added to deliver a combined 302bhp and 0-62mph in 6.0sec. That combined performance feels effortless on the road, and it'll still hit 70mph in electric-only mode, just in a more leisurely fashion. Its official 32-mile electric range is up to scratch, too.
Suspension and ride comfort
The E-Class Estate doesn’t ride perfectly but, to be frank, nor do any of its rivals, unless you pay more money to get them fitted with adaptive suspension. The E-Class has an adaptive set-up as standard and it's softer than the standard-spec BMW 5 Series Touring M Sport. It's not as well controlled, though.
What does that mean? Well, it doesn't settle quickly after bumps so you feel jostle around over lumpier roads, but it's pretty calm on motorways. It's generally more forgiving than the 5 Series M Sport when you hit a pothole or speed bump. It still thumps, though, and bigger alloy wheels make this worse.
The E300de differs in having softer, non-adjustable ‘Comfort’ suspension. Again, this is pretty good on the motorway, but body control is noticeably poorer, feeling very floaty on country roads, and it still thumps over bigger potholes. The AMG E53 has its own bespoke air suspension, which is firm but not uncomfortable.