If that sounds enticing, Byron Mathioudakis details 7 things about the upcoming Mercedes-Benz E220d All-Terrain that you’ll want to know.
To help resuscitate dying large luxury wagon sales, Mercedes-Benz has decided to only import the high-riding, 4Matic all-wheel drive version of its all-new and tech-heavy E-Class wagon. Called the All-Terrain, it naturally targets the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country crossovers that have made hay in Australia for about 20 years, but then adds a new level of sophistication and driveability that puts it in a league of its own. We cannot wait to get our hands on one when it lands here in May.
1. Though offered abroad in AWD guise since the 1980s, packaging issues stopped the 4Matic system being able to be fitted into right-hand-drive E-Classes. But the new-generation E-Class scores a completely redesigned AWD set-up that’s smaller and lighter as well as RHD-compatible. Still, the idea to stick it underneath a raised Subaru Outback-style E-Class Estate (wagon) and call it “All-Terrain” has only just occurred to Mercedes, it seems, two decades after others have been down that (off)road path!
2. The only E-Class Estate slated for Australia for now will be the E220d All-Terrain, meaning that 37 years of regular low-riding E-Class wagons are about to come to an end. Mercedes says that’s because large SUVs (including its own ML-Class/GLE-Class) have eaten away at the large luxury wagon market.
3. For the time being, only the 143kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel will be offered in the E220d All-Terrain, driving all four wheels via a new nine-speed torque-converter automatic transmission dubbed 9G-Tronic. 0-100km/h is in 8.0 seconds flat, while 5.2L/100km is the combined average fuel consumption figure. Drive is split 45 percent to the front and 55 percent to the rear respectively, though there is a circa-10 percent leeway in either direction according to traction needs and driving style.
4. Compared with the regular E-Class 4Matic Estate offered in Europe, the All-Terrain version’s ground clearance has been raised 29mm, but varies between 121mm and 156mm depending on transmission mode and driving speed thanks to the standard-fitment Air Body Control air springs. It works with a Drive Select mode with changeable stages (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual, and ‘All Terrain’), allowing the driver to alter the spring stiffness, ESC, active yaw, and traction controls thresholds. Choosing the off-road ‘All-Terrain’ mode hikes the suspension another 20mm at speeds up to 35km/h, then lowers it again at higher velocities to maintain optimum directional stability.
5. More than just a raised and toughened-up E-Class wagon, the All-Terrain sits on a wider track to accommodate the larger-walled 4WD-suitable 19-inch (or optional 20-inch) wheel and tyre package; plus its extensive safety and anti-crash systems like the stability control and autonomous emergency braking tech had to be re-engineered, as did various exhaust-related parts. And then, of course, there is those specially designed air springs, which had to be incorporated into the four-link front and five-link rear independent suspension set-up.
6. The All-Terrain’s exterior design is based on the S213 E-Class Estate, but differs with unique grille, air intakes, bumpers, black cladding around the wheelarches, alloys, rear diffuser, and ride height treatments, for that more rugged lifestyle appeal. Inside, there are minor changes to the vast computerised instrument panel – namely a pictogram showing steering angle, air suspension level, angle of slope and inclination, accelerator/brake position, and compass – but otherwise it is as opulent and upmarket as the stunning E-Class sedan’s cabin.
7. Mercedes reckons the circa-$110,000 E220d All-Terrain’s biggest drawcard compared to large luxury SUVs is its family-friendly packaging, which offers a leading 640 litres with the rear seats erect to 1820 litres with the backrests folded. That rear backrest also reclines and splits 40:20:40, and can be angled 10 degrees further forward to increase capacity by another 30 litres behind the rear seat. The result of all this is that the Benz can fit a standard European pallet (1200mm by 800mm by 1440mm).