► New Mercedes-Benz E-class All-Terrain unveiled
► Features 4Matic all-wheel drive and air suspension
► Rides 29mm higher than a regular E-class
Is your luxury estate struggling to straddle the local sleeping policemen? Worry not, as another premium estate with a dash of SUV is en route in the form of the new Mercedes-Benz E-class All-Terrain.
The excessively hyphenated new derivative is Mercedes’ rival to the Audi A6 Allroad and recently revealed Volvo V90 Cross Country. The ongoing plugging of every niche continues…
Let me stop you there: Merc’s jacked up an E and fitted an AWD system
Well… yes, that’s right. The formula of ‘lifted estate with all-wheel drive’ is firmly adhered to here, so there are few surprises. Providing additional traction is Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system, while the air suspension system permits a useful lift in ride height when required.
In its standard configuration, the new All-Terrain sits 29mm higher than the regular E-class; 14mm of that increase comes from the tyres’ taller sidewalls, while the other 15mm comes from the higher-riding air suspension set-up.
Select the All-Terrain driving programme, however, and the suspension raises the body of the E-class by another 20mm. You can only hit 22mph in this mode, though; if the going gets really rough, you can manually select a +35mm lift from inside the car. Ground clearance, in total, ranges from 121mm to 156mm, up from the standard car’s 104mm.
Rather neatly, Mercedes harks back to many off-roaders of old by integrating an inclinometer into the E-class’s digital displays. Other rough-road specific information includes steering angle, vehicle level, slope angle, brake and accelerator position – and a compass.
Has it got some bits of plastic nailed on to it, too?
It’s almost like you’re exactly familiar with what this concept entails. Yes, the new Mercedes features plastic arch protectors to help prevent against paint being shaved off against multi-story car park pillars.
Mercedes has also fitted redesigned bumpers, finished primarily in bump-resistant black plastic, and a cosmetic underride guard-look panel. Still, its electroplated silver-chrome finish should at least serve to smoothly push bits of tall grass out of the way.
There are a few other cosmetic changes, mind. The All-Terrain gets ‘an SUV radiator grille.’ What that entails is wider, slatted crossbars in the grille, making it look bolder and more prominent – and, admittedly, a little like that from an SUV.
Mercedes will offer three sets of wheels, in 19- and 20-inch diameters, fitted with higher-profile tyres. So, fans of soft-riding, kerb-climbing – rather than kerb-grinding – wheel and tyre combos will likely appreciate the All-Terrain’s set-up.
Presumably it’s unchanged inside?
Effectively, yes. That’s no bad thing, mind; the E-class’s cabin is a quiet, comfortable and neatly finished affair – and in estate form it’s very practical indeed.
There are a few differences if you opt for the All-Terrain, though. Look closely and you’ll spot stainless steel pedals with integrated rubber traction pads, and All-Terrain branded floor mats. Otherwise, it’s standard E-class Estate fare – including the useful 40:20:40 split rear seats.
… and it’s got a four-cylinder diesel, right?
Right. The E-class is only offered in four-cylinder diesel form in the UK at the moment, and the new All-Terrain version follows suit. Power comes from a 2.0-litre diesel, the output from which is channelled to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic. The key facts and figures are as follows:
Engine 1950cc 4-cyl diesel
Power 192bhp at 3800rpm
Torque 295lb ft at 1600-2800rpm
Acceleration 0-62mph 8.0sec
Top speed 144mph
A six-cylinder diesel version is set to follow, though, if you’d like something a little more refined and flexible.
So, when will we find out more?
It’s set to make its public debut at the 2016 Paris motor show, before going on sale in early 2017.
What else is Mercedes bringing along to Paris?
You’ll be able to see the new Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic Coupe, and the new GT Roadster and GT C Roadster.
Read more Paris motor show news