This is the handsome new E-Class estate, which broadly matches the high standards set by the saloon launched earlier this year. One feature that stands out is the availability of a third row of seats; these days, other manufacturers that used to offer seven-seater estates such as Volvo and Peugeot instead direct buyers wanting to carry large numbers of passengers to their bulkier people-carriers and SUVs.

The third row of seats faces backwards and is only suitable for passengers who are up to 140cm (about 4ft 7ins) tall and weigh less than 50kg. The rearmost bench is an optional feature that must be specified at the time the car is ordered, as seven-seater E-Class estates have a different rear crash structure to five-seaters.

Full coverage and driving impressions of the new E-Class estate to follow in The Independent and online.

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