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Featured in the March 2018 issue

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If you’ve been walking by a road and you’ve heard a loud, growling Mercedes-Benz go past, you’ve already been introduced to AMG.

The latest AMG-enhanced product is Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class Estate. It has dropped a powerful, albeit modestly sized, 3.0-litre V6 into the car and has bolted on two turbochargers. That allows the engine to churn out over 400 horse power, and that means it goes very fast. The benchmark 62mph is reached in just 4.7 seconds, and it can do this while transporting you, three other adults, and a load area full of goodies. Impressive stuff.

You might be wondering why the engine is smaller than normal, and it is not because of downsizing. This AMG is designed to fit in between the standard E-Class’s and the totally bonkers 600PS+ E63 - the most formidable E-Class available. For many, the 401PS on offer here, will be plenty.

The nine-speed automatic transmission is a modified version of the gearbox seen in other E-Class variants – and it is a top ‘box for standard driving. It changes speedily and slickly in its automatic setting, and equally well most of the time when using the paddles behind the steering wheel. Nevertheless, if you shift up or down too close to the red-line there’s a glitch in the smoothness of the gear changes when you strike the limiter.

The Merc E-Class’s real strength is still undoubtedly its comfort and luxuriously kitted-out interior. The car has one of the best cabins south of a Bentley or Rolls-Royce. The estate houses beautiful leather and materials, which are blended into a gorgeous modern design, complete with ambient lighting. Over long distances, this Merc is one of the finest estate cars on the road. This is because of the way it supports the driver, and uses technology to make it virtually semi-autonomous.

So, a little under £60,000 gets you a family-sized car with a powerful petrol engine that is at its best being a relaxing cruiser, rather than an out-and-out sports estate. With that in mind, is this really the E-Class you ought to splash out on? Well, possibly.

The estate is about pragmatism as well as power - and the 640-litre load area (1,820 litres with the rear seats folded) is cavernous. It will effortlessly manage a family expedition through Europe with all your belongings. 

Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist – tweeting @carwriteups

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