E 320 Cdi Estate
date : 8th October 2006
You can’t make up your mind
about whether to go for a full-sized luxury sedan, or a fully-eqipped
SUV. Maybe, just maybe, Mercedes-Benz can offer the best of
The neat thing about the Mercedes Estate is that loading it is
much easier than on a tall SUV.
There’s a whopping 670 litres of luggage space even before
you start folding the seats flat, but little exterior size
The Merc E-Class Estate is well-under the five metre mark in
overall length, coming in at just under 4,9 metres, and just
three centimetres longer than the sedan.
Sharp-eyed Mercedes fans will note that this is the pre
face-lift model E-Class Estate that we’ve been thrashing
around Wesbank Raceway, and touring through the hills of the
The up-rated models feature subtle changes to the nose and
interior, but essentially, the 3,2 litre turbodiesel engine
Power remains at 165 kilowatts, although there has been a
slight shift in the torque curve.
We look forward to driving some of the more potent revised
E-Class models, which will include a new direct injection V8,
and a wagon version of the AMG E63 model.
The E63 features the new 6,2 litre naturally-aspirated V8,
which pumps out a stonking 378 kiloWatts, over 200 kiloWatts
more than this turbo-diesel V6.
There’s also been some improvement to the running gear.
Mercedes-Benz has always been criticised for not taking a more
sporting approach with its bread-and-butter models, although
their outright cornering prowess often surprises fans of more
overtly sporting, more compromised models.
An area that has always come in
for criticism has been the steering. Reports from abroad
indicate the steering feel will be much improved.
Those core strengths of what is arguably the world’s most
accomplished estate car, are very much in evidence.
There’s a distinct vibrancy to the interior design
which is retained on the new model, although we can look
forward to a new steering wheel and air-conditioning upgrades.
There’s a busy feeling in terms of the array of switches and
buttons, which is why more and more cars in this league are
moving to mouse-controlled menu operation.
We would probably choose one of the excellent new multi-phase
direct-injection petrol engines on offer in the E Class range,
which are extremely advanced.
Nevertheless we were impressed with the hundred and sixty-five
kilowatt turbodiesel, and the way it harmonises with the
Why, too, would you want to go haring around a racetrack in
this car? Perhaps to answer those critics who see the Mercedes
as a fuddy-duddy-mobile.
The chassis set-up on the big Merc follows a typical
safe-as-houses approach… understeer, which means the front
wheels slide out first, and as soon as you back off the
throttle, the nose tucks back into line.
The surprise with all Mercs is how well they put their power
down despite their soft ride. Nice to know when you are
hustling the family along a back road or threading your way
through the mountains.
Mercedes-Benz E 320 Cdi
- Engine: V6
turbodiesel, 2 987 cc
- Power: 165 kW @ 3
- Torque: 510 Nm @ 1
Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h: 8,2
- Top speed: 245 km/h
- Fuel consumption:
8,5 litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: R516 000
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