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Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain rises to roughing it

PUBLISHED: 10:35 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:24 16 February 2018

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is capable off-road. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is capable off-road. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz debuts in the soft-roader estate market with its E-Class All-Terrain that’s very capable of taking the rough with the smooth, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

All-Terrain has all the load-lugging ability of the regular Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate. Picture: Mercedes-Benz All-Terrain has all the load-lugging ability of the regular Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Our love affair with the sport utility vehicle is as strong as ever but some people prefer the practicality of an estate hence a niche for muscular, SUV-like load-luggers with more ground clearance and all-wheel drive.

Mercedes-Benz has got on the ‘SUV station wagon’ with the rugged E-Class All-Terrain, a first for the executive estate range.

Looks and image

Stylish fascia features a wonderful wide-screen driver display. Picture: Mercedes-Benz Stylish fascia features a wonderful wide-screen driver display. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

It takes all the good bits of the luxurious, hi-tech E-Class estate – huge passenger space and boot, now 670 litres with 40/20/40 split rear seat backs that go steeper, and that wonderful wide-screen driver display with customisable 12.3in infotainment and instrument screens.

Add an SUV-style silver twin-louvre grille, bolder body-colour and black plastic bumpers with silver guards and wheelarch and sill protection and the All-Terrain’s robust styling stands out.

Under the bonnet

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain's 670-litre boot has 40/20/40 split rear seat backs. Picture: Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain's 670-litre boot has 40/20/40 split rear seat backs. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

The lusty 258hp 3.0-litre, V6 turbo diesel, with nine-speed automatic gearbox, has a healthy 620Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,400rpm so strong low-down pull when the going gets tough off the beaten track and brisk on-road performance.

Other markets also get a 194hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel.

How it drives

Mercedes-Benz has launched the first off-road All-Terrain version of its E-Class estate. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz has launched the first off-road All-Terrain version of its E-Class estate. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

It sits 29mm higher than the E-Class estate – 14mm taller tyres and standard air suspension set 15mm higher. As well as comfort, eco, sport and individual driving modes, Dynamic Select features an All-Terrain driving programme, derived from the GLE SUV, for off-road – raising the chassis by 20mm at up to 19mph and adjusting the stability, acceleration skid and active yaw control systems. For really rough terrain, the suspension can be further raised for a maximum 156mm of ground clearance.

The All-Terrain proved surprisingly accomplished on the Mercedes-Benz World off-road course near the old Brooklands circuit in Surrey. I was more fazed by the deep troughs and raised ridges than the All-Terrain which took them in its stride so it’ll do everything most owners will ever ask – probably nothing more than towing on uneven, slippery ground.

With the higher ground clearance it’s not as sharp on road as the standard estate but the air-suspension keeps it on an even keel and body roll in check. It also feels softer, easily soaking up poor roads and bumping over ‘sleeping policemen’ won’t disturb passengers either.

Final say

The £58,880 E-Class All-Terrain is more expensive than rivals, but great quality, generous standard equipment and strong residuals will make it popular… especially if you have a dog that struggles to jump into an SUV with a tall boot floor!

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain E350d 4Matic £58,880

Engine: 2,987cc, 258hp, V6 turbo diesel with nine-speed automatic transmission

Performance: 0-62mph 6.2 seconds; top speed 155mph (electronically limited)

MPG: 41.5 combined

CO2 emissions: 179g/km

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