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Estate version of Mercedes C-Class unveiled

Stylish Mercedes C-Class Estate unveiled at last

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Mercedes hopes to steal BMW and Audi buyers away with the larger, better to drive C-Class Estate. It debuts next month in Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt previews are coming quicker than the movement of the media from stand to stand on press day. Today's big news is the release of the first photographs of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, designed to gain a solid foothold in the market against the likes of BMW's 3 Series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant.

Although Mercedes claims that the new Estate follows the C-Class saloon in terms of improved dynamics and driver enjoyment, it seems to major on the things that matter most to family car buyers, namely space and safety. The headline figure is 1,500 litres, the maximum capacity with the rear seats folded flat, though at 485 litres with the seats in place, it's still a commodious volume. Merc claims it's the biggest in the class, though the 'class' only includes premium offerings.

Merc's designers should be given a slap on the back though, as the new Estate is as stylish as any of its rivals despite the extra space. Hidden behind the swish new exterior is some class-leading safety technology too. Full UK specifications have not yet been announced, but standard spec is likely to include the active NECK-PRO head restraints and seven airbags.

Options will include PRE-SAFE and an Intelligent Light System.

As with the saloon, the line-up will be divided into the entry-level Classic range, the more sophisticated Elegance and the Avantgarde, which features distinctly sporting styling touches. Engine options will include various supercharged petrol four-cylinders, plus the larger six-cylinder naturally aspirated options, as well as three turbodiesels. Mercedes claims a reduction in fuel consumption over the old C-Class Estate of up to 12%.

Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date.