by Chris Wall
Wagon versions of popular cars can only go one of two ways, either they work or they don’t work. Luckily in most cases they do work, and with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon things work very, very well. The wagon is every bit as E-Class as the large sedan version but space is even more plentiful, especially in the rear where a hatch door replaces a boot lid. Inside the wagon you’ll find all manner of luxury materials combined to make an upper-class cabin with all the right tech and features to make any owner happy. As expected with a Mercedes-Benz badge accompanying the car, it’s not cheap.
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon features the typical fine-crafted materials covering stylish and aesthetic areas of the dash, center console and door trim. The leather seats feature high side bolsters but in this instance it’s for comfort and not a sporty feel. The center console between the seats is raised high to looks like a control panel for a futuristic spacecraft – not a bad thing. The multifunction steering wheel features two smartphone-like pads that control many features without lifting a hand. A panoramic 12.3-inch screen displays navigation, entertainment and comfort settings while an optional second 12.3-inch screen becomes a reconfigurable instrument cluster. There’s 64 mood colors for the LED ambient lighting to make the large interior as comfortable as possible. Space is at a premium in the E-Class wagon, before the seats are folded down there’s 35 cu-ft. of trunk space. Seating includes a 40/20/40 second row and a rear-facing third row to make space for to seven.
Driving the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon is an experience in luxury and smoothness. The power delivery is fast, powerful and smooth thanks to the turbocharged V6 engine and the 9-speed automatic transmission matches perfectly. It provides perfect ratios with almost imperceptible shifts, and includes a host of drive modes to optimize every facet of the car’s suspension, steering and handling to provide the best ride possible. There are five drive modes, and with self-leveling as a standard feature, comfort is the name of the game even if you’ve reconfigured the seats to use the available, massive 57 cu-ft. of space. The available adjustable dampers and air springs combined with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive make any driving situation a good one, and if more is needed Sport+ mode tightens things up a lot to make for a more engaging drive. With so many electronics in play the steering feedback is a little dull, and the braking could feel more urgent when plunging your foot flat to stop in a hurry, but the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon probably won’t end up in race-like situations often enough for it to be a concern.
For a car the size of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, you don’t really come to expect blistering performance, and while it isn’t frighteningly fast, it offers up good performance. The E 400 variant uses the Mercedes-Benz twin-turbocharged V6 that measures in with a capacity of 3.0-liters that results in a pretty good 329 hp with 354 lb-ft of torque. With Sport+ enabled to sharpen things up, the large wagon is more than quick enough with a 0 – 60 mph dash of slightly over 5-seconds and can take the car up to 129 mph before the speed limiter kicks in. The 9-speed automatic transmission is superb, and the different drive modes offer very usable selectable modes to perfectly exploit the chassis and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
As you’d expect, there’s a lot of the usual safety and equipment packed into this Mercedes-Benz, but the E-Class wagon has some notable features. Pre-Safe Sound saves your senses when an accident is about to happen, it senses an impending collision and emits safe "pink noise" via the audio system to pre-trigger your ears' natural defense against the loud noises of an accident. Pre-Safe Impulse Side is an industry first that helps prepare for an impending side impact by rapidly inflating the front-seat bolster and it can move you further from an intrusion and help reduce impact forces. Overall, there’s a lot in the E400 wagon.
In the wagon world, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon is one of the top choices when it comes to technology, space and luxury. The powerful turbocharged V6 engine has more than enough power to get the large wagon up and running rapidly, and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system coupled to Air Body Control suspension makes for the smooth and safe ride you expect. If you have budget for it, you can’t go wrong with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon as a family car, holiday car or daily driver.