ENGINEERS with hyperactive minds create the best and strangest of things, like this high-riding, portal axled Mercedes-Benz station wagon that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mad Max spinoff.
If you’re looking at the images in this story and thinking they look like the product of Photoshop, rest assured that they aren’t. What you see here is officially known as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain 4x4².
It started life as an afterhours project fronted by Jürgen Eberle, an engineer for Mercedes-Benz who works in E-Class vehicle development. Eberle’s desire was to give the All Terrain the off-road underpinnings to live up to its moniker.
The initial scope of this project was to merely add 40 millimetres of ground clearance and beef up the wagon’s body cladding. Eberle’s stroke of genius came later, with the idea of transplanting driveline components from the G-Class 4x4².
This meant enlisting the help of his co-workers at Mercedes-Benz. Even company management chipped in by supplying its skunkworks team with a small budget, and now here we are.
The extreme All Terrain has a 200mm wider track than the standard car, and those beefed up arches are made from carbonfibre. Its ride height has risen by more than 240mm to put ground clearance above 400mm. A regular All Terrain sits just 160mm off the deck.
Climb inside and the wagon’s interior is as standard, as is the 245kW/480Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 under the bonnet.
While it shares the same portal axles as the mega G-Class 4x4² and 6x6, the ultimate All Terrain doesn’t get the diff locks or low range gearbox. Somehow that doesn’t sound like too much of a problem.
Incredibly, what started life as an afterhours side project could actually make it into limited production, with Mercedes-Benz bosses reportedly so happy with the car that a small run of production versions is being considered.
How cool it would be to pick the kids up from soccer practice in this.