Mercedes-Benz's new compact C-class estate will make its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

The new estate supersedes the current C-class wagon, about 250,000 of which have been produced since spring 1996. Approximately one third of C-class customers have opted for the estate but that percentage is likely to increase when, from September 2001, Mercedes-Benz offers the wagon to US customers for the first time.

The new estate offers a luggage capacity of 470 to 1384 litres, depending on the position of the rear seats, and the largest box that the luggage compartment can hold has a volume of 783 litres -- 11 litres more than in the previous model. A removable shopping crate, located below the luggage compartment cover, comes as standard, as does a newly developed luggage cover with integral retaining net.

As with the saloon, buyers of the new C-class estate have a choice of three trim levels - Classic, Elegance and Avantgarde.

A multifunctional steering wheel with illuminated buttons, Headlamp Assist, power windows front and rear, electric adjustment of the seat height and backrest angle, cruise control with Speedtronic function and power steering are standard on all models.