Test Drive: 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC wagon. Click image to enlarge

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Mercedes-Benz Canada

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon

Unbeknownst to most North Americans, station wagons are cool. Europeans, who are less caught up in the SUV/CUV thing, seem to know this. Why else would there be such critters as the BMW M5 Touring, Audi RS6 Avant, Audi S4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon and Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon running about over there? Not to mention numerous diesel-sipping wagons from a host of manufacturers.

For those with a high-end wagon itch on this side of the pond, Mercedes-Benz now offers a wagon version of the new-for-2010 E-Class, the 2011 E350 4MATIC Wagon. (The previous E-Class wagon was available in Canada as 2009 model year; there was not one for 2010.)

Test Drive: 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC wagon. Click image to enlarge

With a base sticker of $66,900, the wagon comes in at $4,000 more than the base E350 Sedan. It is motivated by M-B’s ubiquitous 286-hp 3.5-litre V6/7G-Tronic seven-speed manumatic combo and features 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive.

Full disclosure here: I’m a wagon enthusiast. I learned to drive in a ’65 Ford Falcon Futura wagon and my Dad was a serial Volvo wagon owner. I just bought a used 2005 Volvo V70.

So when I say this E350 Wagon, which comes fitted with standard AMG Styling package and 18-inch five-spoke alloys, looks cooler than the E350 sedan, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Test Drive: 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon car test drives mercedes benz luxury cars
2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC wagon. Click image to enlarge

But it does. Everyone who laid eyes on it thought this family hauler cut a pretty sharp profile. Naturally, the betrothed wants one, as do all her cronies at work.

Functionality is the wagon’s raison d’etre, and here this Merc comes up big. Load space is not compromised by a raked and pinched rear end. With 1,950 litres (68.8 cu. ft.) available, it has largest luggage compartment in its class and a maximum payload of 575 kg (1,268 lbs). Self-leveling rear air suspension is standard.

The second row 60/40 split seats can be flipped forward (with out fussing with the head restraints) from levers on the D-pillars. The load floor is almost flat and surprisingly low – lower than my Volvo. Surprising in that this is an all-wheel-drive car and beneath the floor lurks a fold-up rear-facing bench seat for two small (and presumably Gravol-numbed) humans.

In the tradition of the great North American station wagon, this barf-o-rama perch makes the E350 Wagon a real seven-seater. And don’t we all miss following a car for miles and miles with two green-faced brats making faces at us?

As would be expected, this wagon drives like an E-Class. Silky smooth, not overly sporting, yet shows the poise and long distant touring comfort we expect from this Stuttgart automaker.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).