Mercedes' belated answer to the Audi A6 Allroad is finally here, but it's also going to have to face the lovely Volvo V90 Cross Country.
The niche of rugged midsize wagons is growing starting today with the addition of the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain featuring a more generous ground clearance compared to the regular E-Class Estate upon which it’s based. To be brutally honest, the car’s design is not surprising at all, since we were expecting to see a butch wagon featuring plastic body cladding on the wheel arches along with front and rear skid plates for extra protection.
As you would imagine, the E-Class All-Terrain is going to come as standard with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and will also take advantage of Mercedes’ Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension. Mercedes has created three new sets of 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels specifically for this new E-Class Estate derivative targeting more adventurous people.
To further differentiate it from the regular wagon, the interior has an aluminum-carbon look trim and comes with “All-Terrain” lettering on the floor mats and stainless steel pedals. The level of cabin equipment that comes as standard with the E-Class All-Terrain is based on the Avantgarde interior line, but customers will be able to add goodies from the Exclusive and designo lines, at least in U.K.
Speaking of the U.K., Mercedes will initially launch the manlier E-Class Estate exclusively in the E220d 4MATIC guise with 194 horsepower (143 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque. It’s going to be enough diesel punch to allow the midsize wagon run to 62 mph (100 kph) in a more than decent eight seconds before maxing out at a respectable 144 mph (232 kph).
Should you want more power, you’ll have to wait for a turbodiesel six-cylinder scheduled to arrive shortly after the model’s market debut next spring. Both engines are going to be mated to the silky smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
But people in the market for such a vehicle will be more interested in its off-road capabilities. That's why Mercedes has fitted the E-Class All-Terrain with the Dynamic Select system as standard, giving drivers the option to pick from five different driving programs. Turning on the GLE-derived All-Terrain mode will raise the chassis by up to 0.7 inches (20 mm) when driving at speeds of up to 22 mph (35 kph). For even more versatility, the air suspension has three selectable levels, up to as much as +1.3 inches (+35 mm).
For those with plans to really take the E-Class All-Terrain on bumpy roads, Mercedes says the ground clearance varies between 4.7 to 6.1 inches (121 to 156 mm), depending on selected settings. When compared to the regular E-Class Estate, the new Audi A6 allroad & Volvo V90 Cross Country rival sits 1.1 inches (29 mm) higher.
Mercedes will have the car on display at the Paris Motor Show in October and will reveal full specifications and pricing details early 2017.