The rugged midsize wagon niche is heating up with the arrival of Mercedes' E-Class All-Terrain.
Set to go up against the likes of Volvo V90 Cross Country and Audi A6 Allroad, the E-Class All-Terrain is for people in the market for an all-wheel-drive car with a higher ground clearance, but one that’s not a crossover or an SUV. The All-Terrain started off as an E-Class Estate and then Mercedes jacked up the suspension, slapped on some plastic body cladding and attached skid plates to make it look more butch.
To give it some proper off-road credentials, Mercedes will sell the E-Class All-Terrain with standard 4Matic, as well as with the All-Terrain driving program adapted from the GLE specifically for the rugged wagon. It has a setting for off-road driving, and corroborated with the 29-mm higher ride height compared to the regular Estate, it should make it a competent vehicle when tackling bumpy roads.
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Drivers will get to pick from three selectable levels of the air suspension, increasing the ground clearance by up to 35 mm (1.37 inches) to as much as 156 mm (6.1 inches) for when the going really gets though. To aid you on difficult roads, Mercedes has created a special indicator showing off important info such as steering angle, position of the air suspension, angle of inclination and angle of slope, along with the position of the accelerator/brake position and even a compass.
The show car currently being exhibited in Paris is the E 220d 4Matic All-Terrain equipped with a turbodiesel 2.0-liter engine. It delivers its 194 horsepower (143 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque to both axles through a nine-speed automatic transmission and helps the wagon run to 62 mph (100 kph) in eight seconds and a top speed of 144 mph (232 kph). The E 220d will be the only version available upon launch, with a beefier six-cylinder diesel to be added in a short while, also with 4Matic and the nine-speed auto.
The E-Class All-Terrain’s market launch is set for spring 2017, and pricing will be announced at a later date. Given the extra off-road goodies you get as standard equipment, the model will cost more than the equivalent E-Class Estate.