FIRST TEST Mercedes E-Class T-Modell driven in E 220 d guise

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FIRST TEST with the all-new 2017 Mercedes E-Class T-Modell via Auto Motor und Sport. Now in its 7th generation, the E-Class Estate honors a long and ilustrious blood line of posh, premium station wagons, starting with the classic W123 from 1977.

The design is now inspired by the smaller C-Class T-Modell. Unique personality is guaranteed by the more angular rear lights and a more sloping roofline. From the front, the design corresponds to the traditional E-Class sedan, no trace of a revolution here.

“Oh, a North German Mercedes,” says a passerby who wants to pose as a connoisseur. Apparently, true connoisseurs of course know that the E-Class T-Modell is no longer made in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück but in Sindelfingen – for the last two decades.

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The guy knows, of course, that the E-Class Estate from Mercedes has a tradition of almost 40 years – the first T-Modell Series W123 debuted in 1977. Now, in the seventh generation the loading space has shrunk somewhat. But with 1,820 liters maximum capacity (670 liters standard) is still unrivaled in size in this class, neither an A6 Avant, nor a BMW 5 Series Touring cannot keep up. Only the Skoda Superb practically equals the Benz in this discipline. But the Skoda is not premium…

In addition, the Mercedes E-Class station wagon matches the almost unrivaled large trunk with a correspondingly high load capacity: up to 745 kg, it may be thanks to the standard air suspension on the rear axle. Something most premium estate don’t even offer as an option.

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The Mercedes is a very practical and well furnished family car: adjustable backrest angle and 40/20/40 dividable backseat, plus the electric remote unlocking of the rear seat backrest gives the T-Modell a modularity advantage over any of its rivals.

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New diesel engine sufficiently sprightly

So we drive off with the new E 220 d, the first of a new generation of diesel Mercedes. The OM654 coded engine debuted earlier this year in the E-Class sedan, with lightweight and efficiency set to distinguish it. In 220 d guise, the Mercedes E-Class T-Modell proved well-mannered, calm and quiet running. And inspired in cooperation with the new nine-speed automatic transmission.

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At launch, the 9G-Tronic is standard, in fact, with all engine versions in the Mercedes estate. The desire for a more powerful drive unit is not present: with 194 hp the E 220 d is more than adequate. The engine is good on gas, fairly quick on the highway. The station wagon driving impression hardly differs from the sedan, the air suspension is supple, the steering direct and surprisingly communicative.

The ergonomy corresponds to that of the sedan, the interior is tidy and cool, but not all functions immediately intuitive, especially when the driver is hypnotized by the gorgeous dual 12,3-inch TFT screens adorning the dashboard.

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The price starts at 50,486 euros in Germany (48,665 for the cheapest gasoline, the E 200). The costs of the more powerful engine variants are not out yet.