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Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain. Image by Mercedes.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain
Tall and rugged on the outside, plush and comforting within - itís the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain.

 



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Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Mercedes has its first go at a premium lifestyle (read: off-road) estate in the form of the E-Class All-Terrain. It's a handsome wagon that's got a little extra go-anywhere ability than a regular E-Class with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Like any version of Mercedes' mid-sized executive motor, the All-Terrain is a stunning machine, but this sort of brilliance does not come cheap.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz E 350 d All-Terrain Edition
Pricing: E-Class Estate from £38,005; E 350 d All-Terrain Edition from £58,880, car as tested £59,565
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic
Body style: five-door crossover estate
CO2 emissions: 179g/km (VED £800 first 12 months, then £450 per annum next five years, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 41.5mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.2 seconds
Power: 258hp at 3,400rpm
Torque: 620Nm at 1,600- to 2,400rpm

What's this?

The Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, a one-spec, one-engine, off-roading luxury estate designed to take on the likes of the Volvo V90 Cross Country and the next Audi A6 allroad. In the UK, there's a launch special called the All-Terrain Edition and it comes with one expansive standard specification that adds more toys than you'd get on a comparable E 350 d Estate 4Matic AMG Line. One piece of kit that's included is an electrically retractable tow bar, which is an obvious item which speaks of the All-Terrain's ability to haul 2.1 tonnes of braked trailer (more on this later). There's no four-cylinder engine, either, as the All-Terrain comes solely with Mercedes's 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel with 258hp and 620Nm.

Like most of these lifestyle estates, no matter their size, price or aspirations in life, the E-Class All-Terrain is identified by black plastic cladding on its lower quarters, plus some silver skid plate-type bits of plastic fore and aft. It sits on colossal but beautiful 20-inch alloys, and the All-Terrain is raised by 29mm over the regular E-Class wagon; 14mm is accounted for by the wheels and tyres, and 15mm by the normal driving level of the standard-fit air suspension. The car can be raised by another 20mm if you click it into the bespoke 'All-Terrain' mode of the Dynamic Select drive mode system, giving a total of 156mm ground clearance - although you can't exceed 20mph, otherwise the car automatically descends by 20mm again and you risk bottoming out the sump, until you drop back below the speed limit threshold.

Inside, this estate is absolutely stunning, the All-Terrain Edition gaining a Burmester surround sound system, panoramic electric sunroof, the twin 12.3-inch TFT screens of Comand Online and the cockpit display, memory front seats with electric operating, Keyless-Go Comfort Package and more. However, there are no fillets of trim nor badges to mark out that you're in the All-Terrain version, and you'll be hard-pressed to notice its supposedly loftier driving position from behind the wheel, because it feels just like you're sitting in an E-Class Estate, rather than the off-roading model. That's no bad thing, of course, as an E-Class Estate has an exquisite cabin and the All-Terrain is no different on this score. However...

The list price of all this is nearly £59,000. Oof. That's almost £7,000 more than an E 350 d AMG Line wagon with 4Matic. As already stated, much of the hefty premium here is soaked up by the Edition launch model's generous specification, but when it's almost level-pegging with the Mercedes-AMG E 43 Estate and fully 20 grand more than the basic E 200 d and E 220 d models sitting at the other end of the E-Class Estate scale, you have to think it's a lot of money. It's a whole heap more than the highly talented Volvo V90 Cross Country D5, which kicks off at £43,585, and you could even make the argument that something from the class below, like a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack or Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer, would do much the same job for tens of thousands of pounds less. Hmm... the All-Terrain had better be good, then.

How does it drive?

Luckily, it is good. Exceptional, in fact. Well, let's be fair, it's an E-Class Estate fitted with that sumptuous 3.0-litre V6 diesel, no less. Loaded up with toys, that widescreen dashboard glowing back at you with all the relevant display information at your fingertips, the all-corners air-suspension easing the car effortlessly over the very worst lumps and bumps imaginable, and the silken drivetrain powering the Mercedes around with real verve, it's an immensely rewarding and feel-good driving experience behind the wheel of the E 350 d All-Terrain Edition.

It's the ride quality that'll stick in your memory most. While the whole family of current E-Class Mercs can float along in serene comfort, the All-Terrain's supple suspension and 40 front/35 rear-profile tyres do a grand job of isolating occupants from practically every surface imperfection going, taking the ride comfort to a new level. And we're not just talking about when the All-Terrain is on tarmac, either, as it proved more than capable of gliding along rubbly tracks atop the Yorkshire Dales at speeds of almost 30mph in places.

In fact, Mercedes subjected it to fairly gruelling (for an estate car) off-piste routes that tested its ground clearance to the limit, while it was also hooked up to a horse box, capable of carrying two examples of finest equestrian transport. But in this instance filled with 250kg of dolomite, which it then hauled up an extremely steep, soggy and rutted incline in the middle of a forest with little difficulty. OK, a 'proper' SUV or 4x4 with diff locks will always go further into the wilderness, but the All-Terrain is incredibly capable off-road for this class of vehicle.

Back on the sublime metalled roads of God's own county, the E-Class All-Terrain continued to shine. There's just a touch more lean in the corners here than there is in one of its lower-riding siblings, but it's not so much that it discourages you from tipping the E 350 d into bends with real vim. It'll hang on and corner beautifully, and indeed the extra suppleness of its suspension set-up helps it to breathe more naturally with an undulating, challenging road full of dips, crests and intricate left-right-left corner combinations. Indeed, it's so easy-going and forgiving, and demanding of so little concerted effort from its driver, that you could say the E-Class All-Terrain is just a bit too assured to actually be any fun in the corners. Although we can't think of any of these soft-roader wagons which drives as well as the Mercedes.

Verdict

The only two things you can fault the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain Edition for are its price and a cabin that isn't even slightly differentiated from that you'd find in any other E-Class Estate. Other than that, this is a sensational all-round display from this supremely polished machine. If you need meaty towing capability, additional ground clearance, loads of luxury toys, the security of four-wheel drive and a car which should be usable in all conceivable road-going and light mud-plugging scenarios, and you're not put off by paying almost £60,000 for the privilege, then the E-Class All-Terrain should be the vehicle at the top of your list.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 14 Nov 2017









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2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.

2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.2018 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain drive. Image by Mercedes.








 

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