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Paris show: Mercedes goes All-Terrain

High ride: Air suspension on Mercedes’ E-Class All-Terrain delivers a choice of three ride heights between 121mm and 156mm.

Benz keen on split-personality E-Class All-Terrain wagon for Australia


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21 Sep 2016

MERCEDES-BENZ’S just-announced E-Class All-Terrain is warming as a starter in the three-pointed star’s E-Class Estate range when it arrives in Australia next year.

To be publicly revealed at the Paris motor show next week, the jacked-up all-wheel-drive wagon is still to be confirmed for this market, but Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific public relations, product and corporate senior manager David McCarthy said his company was “pushing hard for it”.

“Other versions of the (E-Class) estate haven’t been decided yet, but I would think the All-Terrain is very likely,” he said.

If it does come, it will arrive about the middle of next year, a few months after the European launch in the northern spring when it will go up against Audi’s A6 Allroad and Volvo’s upcoming V90 Cross Country.

The All-Terrain is designed to bridge the gap between Mercedes’ large passenger cars and SUVs, for customers looking for mild off-bitumen capability.

Announcing the new variant overnight, Mercedes Cars sales and marketing board member Ola Kallenius said no E-Class had ever been as versatile as the All-Terrain.

“The new model combines a striking look in SUV style with the intelligent space concept of the estate,” he said.

Standard features include Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and air suspension with push-button with three ride settings and up to an extra 20mm of ground clearance at speeds below 35km/h.

At its lowest setting, the suspension is 121mm – 29mm higher than the conventional E-Class wagon – with 14mm of that due to higher side-wall tyres that deliver greater rough-road comfort and, apparently, more traction.

The highest of three settings delivers 156mm of clearance, selected by a button on the centre console.

The system has the benefit of passenger-car-like handling at higher speeds with a certain rock-hopping ability in off-road conditions.

The multi-mode Dynamic Select driving system gains an extra mode – All-Terrain – that was adapted from the GLE SUV to deliver settings for off-road going.

Mercedes says this automatically raises the ride height to the middle setting of 141mm while also adjusting the threshold settings for electronic control systems such as ESC and traction control.

The All-Terrain will be launched with just one model choice – E220d, with the new and highly rated 2.0-litre unit that pumps out 143kW of power and 400Nm of torque, mated with the company’s new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel consumption is said to be about 5.1 litres per 100km on the European combined test cycle, compared with 4.9 for the E220d sedan.

A V6 diesel, also partnered with the nine-speeder, will be added later.

Styling changes include the obligatory black plastic wheel-arch flares, side skirts and a two-fin grille taken from Benz’s SUV design book.

The front bumper gets a faux bash plate in black plastic on the underside, with a similar treatment at the back.

The interior design with its aluminium and carbon trim is based on the Avantgarde interior specification, but buyers can fork out for Exclusive and Designo excellence.

In Australia, the A6 Allroad is available in just one specification – 3.0-litre TDI diesel with quattro all-wheel drive – and sells for $112,855 plus on-road costs.

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