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Paris show: Mercedes confirms E-Class All Terrain

Get a grip: Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class Estate will come in a quasi-off-road All Terrain version in Europe next year, but its Australian prospects are up in the air.

2017 Benz E-Class All Terrain wagon a goer, but not necessarily for Australia

8 Jun 2016

MERCEDES-BENZ has confirmed it will reveal an all-terrain version of its upcoming E-Class Estate at this year’s Paris motor show in September, ahead of a 2017 production roll-out.

However, the competitor for Audi’s A6 Allroad is no certainty for Australia, with Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific (MBAP) saying the company is yet to decide which E-Class wagon variants it will homologate for this part of the world, where luxury wagons constitute a micro market.

The revelation that Mercedes plans to fill yet another crossover vehicle niche came in British publication Autocar, after this week’s unveiling of the standard E-Class Estate range in Daimler’s home town of Stuttgart at the Mercedes Cup tennis tournament.

The publication says the E-Class All Terrain will ride on variable ride-height suspension that will allow it to be raised for mild off-roading and lowered for higher speeds.

The system is said to be a development of Mercedes’ acclaimed Air Body Control suspension that is widely available on existing models, including the new E-Class sedan and wagon.

It will work in conjunction with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system to provide a measure of off-road ability, but short of the bush-whacking skills of SUVs such as the Mercedes GLE, GL or G-Class.

It is expected to be available with a similar choice of four- and six-cylinder engines as the standard E-Class Estate, but will get unique body kit, including plastic wheel arch flares, under-body protection and more rugged bumpers.

So far, the E-Class All Terrain has only been confirmed for Europe, with North America already ruling it out.

MBAP senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto that the E-Class All Terrain was expected to be in the Mercedes stand at this year’s Paris motor show starting September 29.

He said that while the E-Class Estate had been confirmed for Australia, probably arriving in the second quarter of 2017, the range of powertrains was yet to be decided, along with whether it would stick with rear-wheel-drive or add 4Matic all-wheel drive.

“So it is a bit early to say whether is All Terrain will come here, either,” he said.

The E-Class All Terrain is a first for Mercedes in a luxury segment pioneered by rival Audi with its Allroad.

In Australia, the A6 Allroad is available in just one specification – 3.0-litre TDI diesel with quattro all-wheel drive – and sells for $111,900 plus on-road costs.

Audi Australia launched the revised version in May last year, taking the opportunity to drop other A6 Avant wagon variants that had proved less popular, except for the hot RS6.

Official VFACTS sales figures do not break out numbers for the A6 Allroad, but the results are likely to be small, as the entire A6 range averages only about 45 a month.

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