First look: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

SEPTEMBER’S launch of the new C-Class Estate in Europe will be a major moment for Mercedes-Benz. The wagon is the model chosen to begin the rollout of the Mercedes Connect Me package of services.

Using a module with its own SIM card, the system will connect owners with their vehicles via a smartphone app, to remotely operate some functions and to monitor stuff like fuel level. Other offerings will include breakdown, servicing and accident management services.

However, Connect Me only works in Europe for now, so for the rest of us, the news is really about the wagon’s more prosaic attributes.

The Estate uses the same adaptable MRA platform as the new Mercedes Benz C-Class sedan, meaning it’s both larger and lighter. Length, width and wheelbase all grow, but extensive use of aluminium in the enlarged body shell means total vehicle weight is down by as much as 65kg compared with equivalent models from the previous generation.

Most of the extra interior space has been spent on a 45mm increase in rear-seat legroom in the classy cabin. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats has grown by just five litres, to 490 litres, while maximum capacity is up 10 litres, to a very useful 1510 litres.

But the big improvement is in cargo compartment flexibility. A new 40:20:40-split rear bench replaces the previous 60:40 design. And the new three-piece backrest can be unlocked and folded electrically, at the push of a button.

The global line-up of drivetrains is extensive: four petrol-burning fours and a V6, a collection of turbo-diesel fours plus a turbo-diesel/electric hybrid, with a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid coming later. And, presumably, an AMG version with the new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.

Mercedes will also offer Airmatic suspension for the first time in a C-Class wagon, as an alternative to standard and sporty steel spring set-ups.

Like the W205 sedan, which made a hugely positive first impression at its international launch back in March, the wagon will be equipped with S-Class trickle-down tech, and a good dose of its interior ambience and quality.

With or without Connect Me, the new Mercedes C-Class Estate looks set to become the most desirable wagon in the compact premium segment.

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