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Test: Audi A6 Avant, BMW 525d Touring and Mercedes E-Class T-Model

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi A6 Avant, BMW 525d Touring and Mercedes T-model
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W arum are they just doing that? 75 percent of all Mercedes E-Class buyers opt for the sedan. And then you meet them somewhat desperately on a gloomy autumn Saturday at the Swedish furniture market when they fail to fold the individual parts of the Beddinge sofa bed into the notchback. That looks pretty unworthy and could have been easily avoided. For a surcharge of 3,213 euros, roughly the same as the avant-garde equipment, there would be a station wagon with two cubic meters of cargo space instead of the notch.

The Mercedes E-Class T-Model offers the most storage space

For 31 years now, the Mercedes middle class has been considered absolute Combined competence, precisely because she always avoided lifestyle behavior - a tradition that the fifth generation also wants to keep. Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring, however, got along well always as a trend transporter, not as a cubic meter kings. This is especially true for the BMW 5 Series, whose load volume is only on par with compact station wagons. Because of its steeper rear end, it at least succeeds in doing better than the Audi A6 with its somewhat larger trunk in terms of cuboid dimensions. How big a station wagon in the 4.90 meter class can really be, however, only shows the Mercedes E class.

It even surpasses its ancestors, of whom the 210 series once boasted of being able to bunker an entire euro pallet. Behind the standard, electrically high-swinging tailgate of the Mercedes T-Model, when the rear seat is folded down, there is a loading area at least 1.10 meters wide and two meters long - nothing for people with agoraphobia, who are afraid of large spaces.

Different folding mechanisms in the Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series

The whole rattling is effortless. Although only the rear seat backrests can be laid flat, an almost flat surface is created in all three. While the unlocking on the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring sitting on the upper edge of the asymmetrically split backrests, those of the Mercedes E-Class T-Model can be opened with buttons on the side or from the trunk. Pre-tensioned by springs, the backrest parts throw themselves onto the seat.It becomes exhausting with the Mercedes uE-Class T-Model and BMW 5 Series Touring when everything has to be dismantled and the heavy backrests have to be put upright again. This works more easily with the Audi A6 Avant, whose load compartment is equipped with a sliding system for retaining eyes as standard.

The station wagons even thought of transporting potted plants

The other two use the term cargo space management, which sounds much more talented than it is in practice. A room divider can be set up on the BMW 5 Series Touring for an additional fee of 280 euros. Its construction with two gas pressure dampers looks highly ingenious, but the benefit is small. At Mercedes E-Class T-Model and Audi A6 Avant, the loading floor can be set up and locked in multiple positions, it then stands like an upside-down V in the trunk. Official answers to the question of what this is supposed to be good for deal lengthily with the topic of transporting potted plants.

The Mercedes E-Class is the only real five-seater

The three station wagons offer real benefits not only in terms of cargo space. In the BMW 5 Series Touring and Audi A6 Avant in particular, the roof lines drawn further back provide more headroom in the rear. The Mercedes E-Class has enough of this as a sedan, surpasses its competitors in terms of space and is the only real five-seater. Although the BMW 5 Series Touring is narrower in the rear, two passengers travel most comfortably on its well-shaped rear seat. With the Audi A6 Avant, the sharp angle of the legs is annoying and the limited headroom, with the Mercedes T-model the steeply inclined backrest. Whining, however, at a high level, because the three also belong to the talented touring cars as station wagons.

The Audi A6 offers the best seats for an extra charge

The driver and front passenger cuddle up in the Mercedes T-model multi-contour, adjustable, ventilated and heated seats (1,488 euros). The BMW comfort seats (2,050 euros with electric adjustment) offer non-slip lateral support, but are very tightly padded. The Audi has the best armchairs when it is equipped with the excellent sports seats - for a comparatively low surcharge of 605 euros. With its optional air suspension (1,950 euros), the Audi A6 Avant even manages to outperform the Mercedes E-Class in terms of suspension comfort. The Audi A6 Avant copes well with long and short waves without appearing decoupled or wobbly. BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class T-Model have air suspension on the rear axle as standard. It also acts as a level regulatorand has the consequence that both are loaded more carefully at the rear than at the front. Whereby the BMW 5er Touring tuned tighter overall is. It rolls hard, sometimes leaving short bumps unprocessed, but impresses with good responsiveness on the motorway and low body movements.

The character of the comparison test station wagons is reflected in the handling

The Mercedes E-Class, on the other hand, feels a bit bulky. It springs fluffily - at slow speeds like on the autobahn, on short bumps or on long waves. The softer set-up has no negative impact on driving safety, which is already at the highest level for all three competitors. This also applies to the safety equipment, whereby the Mercedes has a clear lead over its competitors in terms of active safety elements - from the drowsiness sensor to the pre-safe system, which reminds you when you start with a gentle tug on the seat belt, to the adaptive Bixenon -Light with stepless high beam assistant. The different character is reflected in the handling. BMW: greedy for curves and agile with a somewhat sluggish, but highly precise steering. Mercedes: cautiously dynamic, with tearing-proof steering, but which gives little feedback. Audi: as the only front-wheel drive car not quite as neutral, but with a slight tendency to understeer and minimal drive influences in the precise steering.

The Mercedes E-Class T-Model falls behind in terms of the drive system

The station wagons also remain true to their brand philosophy when it comes to the drives. They show an individual character and make differences quickly clear. The fact that the Mercedes E-Class T-Model falls behind in the drive chapter is because it offers less than the competition - fewer cylinders and fewer gears. The OM 651, which has received high praise for the advance, pulls through strongly, but responds with a delay and has no advantage over the BMW six-cylinder in terms of fuel consumption. In addition, it cannot suppress its four-cylinder accent, sounds robust around 3,000 tours - which is particularly annoying because you are often in this area on the motorway, which corresponds to a speed of 160. The seven-speed automatic could help, but it is reserved for the V6 and V8 models.

The Mercedes E-Class T-model is the most expensive station wagon in the test

Audi combines the front-wheel drive A6 2.7 TDI with the continuously variable Multitronic.
The good thing: It doesn't feel like that at all, increases engine speed and
speed in parallel if possible. Only at full throttle in D does the engine speed soar for optimal acceleration. If that's annoying, you can flip through seven permanently programmed gear ratios using buttons on the steering wheel. A shade rougher than the very oneThe in-line six-cylinder of the BMW 5 Series Touring is a cultivated Audi V6. A shortcoming that bothers much less than the unwieldy selector lever of its six-speed automatic. Your successful cooperation with the three-liter diesel is also reflected in the low consumption - a minimum of 5.4 L /100 km. Otherwise, as is well known, the three of them don't have to give up. Acquisition and maintenance are at a high level, although the purchase price of the Mercedes is significantly higher. Nevertheless, the Mercedes E-Class T-Model (Mercedes E-Class T-Model in the driving report) is not only the best car and the best station wagon, but also the better Mercedes E-Class. Not only on dull autumn Saturdays with Beddinge.


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