German brands have been aggressive in entering every possible hot segment over the last couple of years, sometimes even creating their own. Interesting enough, there is still a sub-segment out there that isn’t too crowded: premium station wagon-based crossovers. Audi and Volvo are about to reintroduce entries into this segment, and now Mercedes-Benz is getting in on the action, too.
The luxury carmaker has just taken the wraps off its new E-Class All-Terrain weeks before its official world debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show this October. After months of rumors and spy photos of camouflaged prototypes, here it is looking more or less like how we expected it to be.
Mercedes-Benz jacked up its all-new E-class station wagon and sprinkled it with familiar crossover SUV styling cues. Up front is the brand’s bolder SUV-style two-fin grille. Below it is a more aggressive front bumper design with matte black bumper trim and silver-chrome accents; this look is mirrored by the rear bumper. On the sides, the theme continues with matte black wheel arch extensions and side skirts. A thin chrome strip just below the doors adds a little bright work to the sills. Inside, it gets exclusive aluminum-carbon look trim, stainless steel sports pedals and unique floor mats.
A larger wheel and tire package and a raised suspension contribute to an extra 29mm of ground clearance in "normal driving level." The Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension featuring three levels of adjustment improves vehicle ride comfort on rough roads, while the Dynamic Select handling control system features an All-Terrain driving program with off-road driving settings derived from the GLE. Most important, 4Matic all-wheel drive comes as standard.
The E-Class All-Terrain will initially be available in E220d 4Matic form during its launch. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder oil burner, which produces 194hp and 400Nm. Power is sent to all four wheels through its standard 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. A six-cylinder diesel mill will be added at a later date.
This premium station wagon will challenge the Audi A6 Allroad and the newly launched Volvo V90 Cross Country when it goes on sale in Europe in early 2017. It’s still too soon to tell if or when this will reach out shores, but it would definitely be a welcome addition to the local Mercedes-Benz lineup.