Mercedes has pumped up its E-Class to create a go-anywhere 4×4 estate to take the rough and the smooth in its stride
Mercedes-Benz E350d All-Terrain
Top speed 155mph
0-62 6.2 seconds
The overflow carpark was just that – a patch of scrub overflowing with ankle-deep, wheel-squelching mud. But today that was just the carpark I’d hoped for. Rather than an awkward 8-point reverse and retreat, in we jumped, courtesy of Mercedes’ new swagged-up estate. You may be familiar with this style of car. Audi, Volvo, Skoda and others all make a version. You pump up the suspension, add some body cladding to the wheel arches and sills and give it a rugged grille. You don’t want it to look too butch. We haven’t gone roid-crazy down at the gym. We’re in shape. We’ve been working out, but that’s it. Then, to top it all off, you give it an omnipotent name – the All-Terrain.
The off-road capability isn’t ferocious. A normal Merc E-Class estate could have handled the overflowing car park. But the All-Terrain has presence which gives it an intoxicating allure. The ride is sumptuous thanks to its Air Body Control suspension which gives it another 29mm of height, though that is partly made boosted by the ginormous tyres. By your left hand you’ll find a Dynamic Select controller which allows you to choose the perfect set-up for the terrain you are about to tame. Clearly I chose the All-Terrain mode which boosted my ground clearance by a further 20mm. Mud, gravel, sand, snow… eat your heart out. There’s also a setting above that for full-on rock-crawling, with a maximum of 156mm of ground clearance.
Having waded out of the swamp, select comfort, eco or sport and the car hunkers down to create a more aero profile and off you go – the nine-speed Tronic gearbox as smooth as ice cream.