Mercedes targets soft-roader segment with E-Class All-Terrain

SUVs are all the rage right now and automakers see an opportunity for even more slicing of the niche with new soft-roaders.

Audi and Volvo have enjoyed some success in the luxury segment with their respective Allroad and Cross Country offerings, and there’s also Subaru with the Outback in the more mainstream segment.

The latest to join the fray is Mercedes-Benz which has unveiled a new soft-roader based on the latest-generation E-Class Wagon. It’s called the E-Class All-Terrain and makes its world debut September 29 at the 2016 Paris auto show.

What sets the E-Class All-Terrain apart from the regular E-Class Wagon is a taller ride height (ground clearance ranges from 121-156 millimeters), standard all-wheel drive, underbody protection, and more rugged wheels and tires, all of which helps the vehicle on unpaved surfaces such as grass, mud, rocks and snow.  The vehicle also comes with an “All-Terrain” setting in the driving modes selector, borrowed from the GLE SUV.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain (European spec)

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain (European spec)

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This raises the body by 20 mm using the standard air suspension (up to 35 mm is possible). It also adjusts electronic settings such as the stability control, active yaw control and acceleration skid control for off-roading. At the same time, useful info such as steering angle, vehicle level, slope angle, compass directions, and accelerator/brake position are displayed in the central screen.

Mercedes is yet to confirm whether the E-Class All-Terrain will be offered in the United States. Overseas it will be in showrooms from spring 2017, where it will target Audi’s A6 Allroad and the recently revealed Volvo V90 Cross Country.

Just one model will be available at the market launch, in this case an E220d powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 diesel engine. This is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission and delivers a peak 191 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes estimates a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 8.0 seconds and a top speed of 144 mph.

For more from the Paris auto show, head to our dedicated hub.

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