The new C-Class Estate is roomier, more practical, more economical and a whole lot more stylish than its predecessor and is the first ever car in Mercedes-Benz range to get its new Connect Me technology.
It means that owners won't have to do anything as 20th century as actually going out to their car and getting inside it to check things like fuel level or to turn on the heating or air conditioning. The car's built-in SIM means that the vehicle, and a host of its controls and settings, can be accessed remotely via a smartphone.
But the cool technological touches don't end there. One of the main reasons for buying an estate or wagon rather than a hatchback or sedan is for the extra load space and Mercedes has a neat trick for solving that problem of not being able to open the tailgate because both hands are full of shopping or flat-pack furniture. Just get close and sweep a foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate will automatically open. Totally hands-free.
When the car goes on sale in September it will be offered with a choice of efficient yet potent gasoline or diesel engines (a plug-in diesel hybrid version will be coming in 2015) but whatever the specification, power is delivered to the rear wheels to improve handling and remind the driver that as well as a practical car for everyday use, it's also more than capable of putting a smile on your face.
Inside it gets the same flagship tech and safety features usually reserved for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Photo:AFP
The wagon shares the same chassis as the C-Class sedan (though extended at the rear) so it should be nimbler than its stance suggests and it shares the same exterior good looks. Mercedes's design team has managed to integrate the estate's load bay without breaking up the lines.
Inside, the cabin is bigger than that of the outgoing model and this will be most noticeable for rear-seat passengers who get more leg, head and shoulder room, while there's also an extra 10 liters of space in the boot.
As for the driver and front passenger, they will be dazzled by the host of technological toys on show -- it even has a head-up display. The car is packed with a number of active driver aid and infotainment features that the company used to reserve solely for the flagship S-Class.
As a result, the car's so smart, it can monitor fatigue levels and politely encourage the driver to pull over and take a break. It will even suggest a suitable café, restaurant or hotel.
The C-Class Estate is available for pre-order and configuration now and will officially go on sale in September.