The practical estate version of the Mercedes E-Class will live on
Although Mercedes is canning the cabriolet and coupe variants of its E-Class, the estate model will return on the all-new 2023 model. These spy pictures are our first look at the estate version and despite the camouflage they highlight plenty of key design details.
This estate test car has been given the same level of camouflage as the saloon we’ve already seen, but we can see it’s one of the more sedate variants, rather than a hot AMG model. The front looks identical to previous saloon spy shots, apart from a second horizontal strake appearing in the grille.
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Aside from the roof rails and the extra bodywork at the back, the profile also looks similar to the saloon’s. The rear hatch does look more shallow than on previous E-Class Estate cars. At the rear, the lights look similar to the saloon’s, something that wasn’t a design trait until the previous generation.
The biggest hint this isn’t a hot AMG model is the lack of a quad-exhaust system – something we’ve seen on an E-Class test car recently. The hot E 53 could arrive as early as next year. It could also borrow plug-in hybrid technology from the 402bhp C 43 AMG model.
An AMG E-Class Estate has been available since the W124 (S124) E 36 from 1993, so we expect the E 53 and E 63 badges to find themselves on the E-Class Estate before long. However, the estate could be launched after the saloon, given we’ve only just started seeing it undergo testing.
As with the rest of the lineup, the E 53 AMG will sport new horizontal tail-lights, smoother surfacing, a more upright nose and styling touches such as flush, pop-out door handles.
The E 53 model we spotted rides on larger, wider wheels and at the rear we can see the quad-tip exhaust set-up that has become a staple of Mercedes AMG cars. Behind the camouflage at the front, a bespoke grille design and more aggressive air intakes are almost a certainty.
Mercedes E-Class exclusive images
Our exclusive images give a preview of what’s to come from the two-model line-up, consisting of a saloon and an estate. The E-Class Coupe and Convertible models won’t be continued, with the arrival of a brand-new CLE set to cover those bases.
The new E-Class should hit UK roads in the second half of 2023, beating the next-generation BMW 5 Series to market. However, while its longstanding rival will come with an all-electric option alongside its combustion and hybrid drivetrains, the E-Class will stick with 48-volt mild-hybrid petrol and diesel engines, plus plug-in hybrid power. Mercedes wil instead add the electric EQE saloon to its line up as the E-Class’s EV stablemate.
Our spies haven’t seen inside the new E-Class’s cabin yet, but, as with the exterior makeover, the interior will receive an overhaul that will centre around a new portrait-orientated touchscreen system rising out of the centre console, again similar to the C-Class and S-Class. The style will become uniform across the brand’s three saloons, but the technology powering the screens will not.
The C-Class and S-Class differ in terms of the display sizes they offer and the technology behind them. The E-Class is likely to come fitted as standard with the 11.9-inch display that’s optional on the C-Class, with the 12.9-inch OLED panel from the S-Class featuring haptic feedback on the options list. Expect a fully digital dash to feature as standard, with 3D instruments available. The E-Class should also offer similar head-up display and semi-autonomous driving aids to its larger sibling, although these will also likely be offered as optional extras.
Expect range-wide availability of 48-volt mild-hybrid power. Every diesel and petrol version of the new E-Class will support this technology, but a new plug-in hybrid model with significantly more electric range and improved efficiency will be the biggest draw, using the 31.2kWh battery and motor tech from the new GLC. A new E 300 e will team a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit with this new tech, enabling a range of more than 80 miles on battery power, and company car tax-busting Benefit-in-Kind rates.
Exactly what AMG has planned for the new E-Class is still unknown, although high-performance versions of the next model will arrive a little while after the core saloon is launched. The next AMG C 63 is moving to a new plug-in hybrid four-cylinder set-up producing up to 671bhp, so we could see this powertrain feature in the E 63 and a detuned version of it in the E 53.
However, Chief Technical Officer, Jochen Hermann previously told Auto Express that the brand’s famed V8 engines will feature in “AMG GT 4 Door-sized cars and above”. The current Mercedes-AMG GT 4 Door sits on the same MRA platform as the outgoing E-Class, so it’s possible V8 power could return on the new MRA2-based E-Class.
When it comes to the chassis, the new C-Class has dropped air-suspension from the options list, but the E-Class is unlikely to follow suit. As with the larger S-Class, it will also be offered with a new rear-wheel steering system. However, it won’t deliver the same capability as the brand’s flagship limo, which can turn the rear wheels by as much as 10 degrees in the opposite direction to the fronts to improve agility.
How the Mercedes E-Class has evolved
A change in naming saw the facelifted W124 rebadged as the E-Class. The range was topped by the V8-powered, Porsche-built E500, and the W124 is now a cult classic.
This was the first generation to feature V6 engines, while the addition of xenon headlamps was a first for any Mercedes. Most powerful model was the 354bhp E55 AMG.
Big sales numbers saw more than 1.5 million units sold worldwide. Efficiency was key, with a wide range of diesel engines offered through its life.
An angular design marked out the W212, although it was smoothed over in 2013. Coupé and convertible variants arrived with this generation.
Current car is packed with tech first seen in the S-Class, including advanced driver-assist systems. Flagship AMG model introduced four-wheel drive and up to 604bhp.
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