It’s hard to justify the cost of a luxury wagon when an SUV gives you more room, is cheaper, and in some cases, drives better. The Mercedes-Benz E350 4matic wagon is a nice car, but with a $66,775 price tag, it’s not very logical.
But if you are a wagon buff and have the cash to throw around, you won’t be disappointed with the Mercedes E350 4matic wagon. Our loaded-up test car came with $9700 in options, including some touches from AMG like 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, and a sport body kit. The interior is rich, with its black leather seating, 3-spoke sport steering wheel, and easy-to-use audio system. And a rear-facing 3rd row seats folds out of the floor and can accommodate two tiny passengers, although the space is better saved for cargo room.
There are so many choices for buyers who have $66,775 to spend and want three rows of seating and cargo capacity. It’s no wonder the wagon market is on the brink of extinction in the States.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
I try not to balk at the price of a luxury car, but it’s difficult to warm up to the E350 4Matic wagon with an as-tested price of $66,775. Jamie Kitman is right in his contention that European automakers have priced wagons out of the realm of practicality for most shoppers. An ML350 4Matic starts out nearly $7500 cheaper than an E wagon!
So what do you get for the extra $7500? Better driving dynamics, a much more aggressive look, at least with the Sport Wagon package, and better fuel economy. Only real driving enthusiasts will even consider spending the extra money for the lower center of gravity and the slightly better fuel economy.
Want to save some money and still get a wagon? Head to a Cadillac showroom and check out a CTS wagon. The CTS is cheaper, can be configured in many more ways, and offers better fuel economy than the E350. The Art & Science styling may be growing a little tired, but a CTS still looks smart and aggressive. And you’re not going to have to sacrifice one bit of driving fun with the Caddy.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer
Like most auto journalists, I’m strangely fixated on station wagons, especially those of the European variety. That said, I’m rather cool toward this E350. Beyond the outrageous price, which my colleagues have already covered ad nauseum, there’s the fact that the E350 just doesn’t drive exceptionally well. Granted, it’s better than most crossovers by simple virtue of its lower height. But the big Benz is cushy through corners, and the steering has a very boosted feel. Maybe the E-class comes into its own storming down the highway, but around town it feels very much like the big, heavy, long car that it is.
And then there are some annoyances that simply don’t belong in a near-$70,000 automobile. For instance, the seat squabs inexplicably have a storage compartment located exactly where the back of my knees would normally be, and the interior, though attractive overall, has some switchgear that would feel out of place in a low-end C-class.
The E350 certainly has some appeal as a luxurious station wagon in a world of cookie-cutter crossovers. But for those in search of the true sporty wagon experience, I would have to agree with Phil Floraday and point to the nearest Cadillac dealer. Yes, it’s true — an American automaker now builds the best European station wagon.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
I loved this car, which I drove over the July 4th weekend. I would rather drive it than a Mercedes-Benz M-Class or GL-class any day. No one who’s considering the Mercedes-Benz E350 wagon would think for even a moment about a Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon; the two vehicles are not competitors. The CTS is small and sporty; the E-class is big, soft, and luxurious, just what a small but well-heeled slice of American Mercedes buyers want.
The angular styling of the new E-class works especially well on the wagon, more so than the sedan, I dare say. I liked the short turning circle. I think that blind spot detection and lane departure warning should be standard on a vehicle this expensive. The powertrain is only adequate, but it’s fine.
This is an increasingly rare and special car for a very discerning audience of affluent families who wouldn’t be caught dead in a common SUV or crossover. More power to them, I say.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
My colleagues have pretty much covered the positives and negatives of the E350 wagon. In my opinion, the positives outweigh the negatives, but, with this car’s base sticker of more than $57,000, most Mercedes-Benz shoppers will walk across the showroom to the M-class — although not because its $7000 cheaper, but because it looks bigger and more utilitarian. This is unfortunate because in addition to better driving dynamics and better gas mileage, the E wagon actually has a bit more cargo room behind the second-row seats than the ML does (according to the specs on the Mercedes-Benz site).
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4matic Wagon
Base price (with destination): $57,075
Price as tested: $66,775
3.5-liter V-6 engine
7-speed automatic transmission
3rd row rear-facing seat
Comand system with 7-inch display
In-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer
In-dash memory card reader
Auxiliary input for MP3 player
Dual-zone automatic climate control
4-way power steering column
Power tilt/sliding tinted glass sunroof
Electronic stability program
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Tire pressure monitoring system
Options on this vehicle:
Palladium silver –$720
Black leather –$1620
iPod/MP3 media interface
Rear side window sunshades
Comand system with hard drive navigation
Sirius satellite radio
Harmon/kardon Logic7 surround sound system
Heated front seats
P02 package –$5950
115V AC power outlet
Headlamp cleaning system
Adaptive high beams
Wheel package –$750
18-inch AMG twin-spoke wheels
3-spoke steering wheel
Sport wagon package
Black roof liner
Sport body styling
AMG sport package USA
Speed & load index
Drive dynamic multi-contour driver seat –$660
Key options not on vehicle:
Driver assistance package
Night view with pedestrian detection
16 / 23 / 20 mpg
Size: 3.5L DOHC V-6
Horsepower: 268 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2400-5000 rpm
Curb weight: 4213 lbs
18-inch AMG twin-spoke wheels
245/40R18 Continental ContiProContact tires