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Mercedes-Benz rising to rugged, off-road challenge with E-Class All-Terrain

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more macho, higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the luxury estate able to venture off-road. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more macho, higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the luxury estate able to venture off-road. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

The E-Class All-Terrain is Mercedes-Benz's answer to the likes of the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country. Laura Thomson finds out how it fares.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more macho, higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the luxury estate able to venture off-road. Pictures: Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more macho, higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the luxury estate able to venture off-road. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

What’s new?

The All-Terrain, an entirely new model for the Mercedes-Benz range, arrives this summer.

The new, sixth-generation E-Class has been clad in heavy-duty plastics, the ride raised and boasts its 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

Designed to compete with the likes of Volvo’s V90 Cross Country and the Audi A6 AllRoad, it’s rugged and with Mercedes calling it the ‘Swiss utility knife among estates’.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more macho, higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the luxury estate able to venture off-road. Pictures: Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is a more macho, higher-riding, all-wheel drive version of the luxury estate able to venture off-road. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

Full pricing is due next month but expect one high specification with prices from around £52,000.

Looks and image

The E-Class All-Terrain features styling cues from the Mercedes sport utility vehicles, such as the two-louvre radiator grille, matte silver air inlets and front and rear three-section bumpers with simulated underguards in chrome.

Cladding along the sides of the car continue this rugged appearance, and the large 19 or 20in wheels hint at the vehicle’s off-road capabilities.

Space and practicality

Inside, it’s just as practical as its standard sibling with the same 640-litre boot and 40/20/40 rear seat split.

The E-Class estate’s optional advanced safety and driver assistance systems will also be available on the All-Terrain.

Under the bonnet

The E-Class All-Terrain will be available in the UK only as the E350d with the 258bhp 3.0-litre, V6 turbo diesel mated to the delightfully smooth nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. That said, Mercedes isn’t ruling out the 194hp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder 220d, available in other markets, if there is demand.

Final performance figures aren’t yet available but the added weight of the All-Terrain’s off-roading equipment, 4Matic all-wheel drive system and air suspension, will put a dent in those for the standard E-Class estate.

Behind the wheel

Given its heavy off-road kit and raised ride height, you would be forgiven for thinking that the E-Class All-Terrain may lose some of the standard estate’s on-road finesse. This doesn’t appear to be the case as it’s sure-footed on both road and snow, body roll is minimal and cabin and engine noise remains low at high speeds.

Standard Dynamic Select offers five driving programmes, varying engine transmission, stability control and steering settings.

The All-Terrain mode, derived from the GLE especially for this car, raises the car by 20mm (on top of a 29mm increase over the standard estate), at up to 19mph, giving total ground clearance of up to 156mm while stability control, active yaw control and acceleration skid control automatically adjust to maximise off-road ability making it able to conquer steep inclines and slippery slopes with ease.

Comfort mode is also impressive while Sport mode gives a sharper drive.

Final say

The E-Class All-Terrain is everything an adventurer would look for, providing they have more than £50,000 to spare. But, thanks to its luxury trim, it is more likely to be seen in the city, only occasionally venturing out into the wilds but there’s something exciting about a sleek estate wearing SUV shoes.

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