The upcoming Mercedes E Class All Terrain has been spotted testing, lightly disguised, ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Based on latest E Class Wagon, it features raised suspension and ruggedized styling including new bumpers, fender cladding and underbody protection.

The suspension is a development of Mercedes' Air Body Control system that can be raised for mild off-roading and lowered for better stability at high speed.

Engine choice will mirror that of the regular E Class Wagon, with a range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Four-wheel-drive will likely be standard across the board.

So-called soft-roader wagons such the E Class All Terrain are particularly popular in Europe. Buyers in certain countries want a car with a some off-road ability, but don't find the more aggressive styling of an SUV appealing.

The All Terrain will compete directly with the Audi A6 Allroad. The VW Group actually produces most of the soft-roaders on the market, Volkswagen, SEAT, and Skoda - as well as Audi - all producing their own variations on the theme.

If its taken your fancy, there's bad news: the E Class All Terrain won't be going on sale in the USA. Mercedes already has a range of six SUVs - and will soon be adding a seventh - and doesn't feel there would be enough of a market for it.

Source: Autocar

Gallery: Mercedes E Class All Terrain

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