Why settle for a crossover when you can have this stately estate?
– Hamburg, Germany
There is perhaps no wagon in this world that’s more successful than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. You wouldn’t guess it from the car’s U.S. representation, where only a small number of the estates are sold, but on a global scale, one out of every three E-Class models sold is a wagon. Hell, in Germany alone, the wagon bodystyle accounts for half of all E-Class sales. It’s a success story told over the wagon’s rich 40-year history, and it culminates with this new version, that’ll come to America early next year in E400 guise.
Crossovers may be all the rage these days, but trust me: there’s a super special package to be had in this E-Class wagon. Why buy the same GLE as your neighbors when you could have this prettier, more luxurious E400?
- The “400” designation means this E-Class has the same engine as the GLE400 SUV. It’s essentially the same 3.0-liter biturbo V6 as the Mercedes-AMG E43, just detuned to 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. No matter, that’s still 88 hp and 81 lb-ft more than the 2.0-liter unit in the E300, and that’s a welcome bit of boost, considering the 400-plus-pound weight discrepancy between the E300 sedan and E400 wagon.
- While not nearly as entertaining to drive as the E43, the E400 Wagon moves about with confidence. There’s always enough power for passing, the steering is direct and nicely weighted, and the suspension offers surefootedness with only minimal (and appropriate) amounts of body roll. Driving down the autobahn in Germany, the E-Class exudes a comfortable, luxurious demeanor, but certainly doesn’t hate taking a turn at a decent clip.
- Distance Pilot Distronic, Steering Pilot, Active Lane-Change Assist, Active Brake Assist, Car-to-X Communication – it’s all here. I could go on and on about all the driver assistance tech in the new E-Class. Just know that everything you can get on the sedan will carry over to the wagon.
- Total car-geek bonus: You can still get the E-Class wagon with a rear-facing third row of seats. An amazing bit of utility (and cool-factor) inside this Merc’s better-than-anything-in-the-world interior.
- The E-Class wagon only comes in E400 4Matic guise. If you’re hoping to get a more efficient four-cylinder engine or a higher-performance AMG version, for now anyway, you’re out of luck.
- Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked Mercedes-Benz is still offering the E-Class wagon in the U.S. – so many other automakers have largely abandoned the segment. I’m a huge champion of the wagon, but I understand why so many people flock to crossovers these days. Plus, a fully loaded E400 Wagon will likely be pushing $80,000, and a GLE400 offers more versatility for the same price (80.3 cubic feet of space versus 64.3 in the wagon). But for those who buy in, the E400 offers something more unique and way more luxurious than your everyday GLE.