RE: Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain: Review

RE: Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain: Review

Saturday 10th December 2016

Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain: Review

Thought the SUV had killed the family estate car? E-Class All-Terrain begs to differ!



For long enough, if you wanted a butched-up estate with some pseudo off-road appeal, the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo XC70 were your only ports of call. Now we have the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, or at least we will when it goes on sale in the summer of 2017.

The reason for the long lead time until we see this go-a-bit-further version of the E-Class Estate is we're only getting the E350d model and it's not been homologated just yet. The rest of Europe gets to enjoy the E220d now, but Mercedes reckons UK buyers won't stomach a £50,000-plus soft-roader with a four-cylinder diesel. So much for downsizing...

Never mind, the E350d All-Terrain will come in a single, top-end specification that will be very similar to the Estate's AMG Line trim. So, that means you'll get the 12.3-inch COMAND screen as standard, sat-nav, heated leather seats, Speedtronic cruise control, Parktronic for those who find such matters tricky, and a powered tailgate.

What you also get over and above the E350d Estate is black plastic cladding around the wheelarches, unique bumpers and grille, and Mercedes' latest 4Matic all-wheel drive system, with adjustable multi-chamber air suspension that's been tuned with mild off-roading in mind.

When a four-wheeled All-Terrain isn't enough
When a four-wheeled All-Terrain isn't enough
Jack it up
The knobblier tyres and their taller profile add 14mm to the ride height alone and the All-Terrain's air suspension set-up adds an extra 15mm in normal use, so the ground clearance is 121mm. When the going gets tougher, you can lift the car by as much as 35mm more at speeds of up to 19mph. Above that pace, the car settles back to its normal ride but will also jack up again as the speed drops back below 19mph.

This is all operated through the Dynamic Select's All-Terrain mode and there are further settings for Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. The default is Comfort when you fire up the Mercedes and that works just fine in almost every condition.

When you do select the All-Terrain function, not only does it raise the suspension, it also alters the thresholds for the ESP, and traction and yaw controls so the wheels can spin more before any electronic intervention when driving on slippery surfaces. Another element of this setting is the display on the COMAND screen that shows steering angle, incline and the amount of brake or accelerator pedal movement.

This display is hardly vital stuff for a car that's unlikely to venture very far off-road, but the All-Terrain mode proved useful on some icy roads and unmade forest tracks we drove along. You wouldn't have been able to take an Estate on these roads, so this soft-roader model does have an advantage.

Perhaps not the leather for an All-Terrain life
Perhaps not the leather for an All-Terrain life
Back on dry land
It's harder to see what benefits the All-Terrain brings on normal tarmac. You don't get the raised driving position of a GLE and it's no more refined than an E-Class Estate. There's a surfeit of laid back power from the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, which produces 258hp and 457lb ft of torque. That's plenty for overtaking slower traffic and it's all delivered with a refined hum from under the bonnet.

All of that power is sent through a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard and UK E350d All-Terrains will divide it by sending 31 per cent to the front axle and 69 per cent to the rear, same as the E43 and E63 AMG as it goes. Well, assuming you don't drive the latter in Drift Mode of course. Push the All-Terrain hard through a corner and the front end tracks round until gentle understeer sets in. However, we were driving Euro-spec cars where 45 per cent of power is apportioned to the front wheels, so (in the classic refrain) we'll have to wait to drive a British specification car to know just how the All-Terrain will cope on UK roads.

We'd be surprised if the ride quality wasn't as plush as the cars we drove in Austria. In Comfort setting, the All-Terrain smooches over most bumps without any trouble. Some sharper ridges can be felt, but they don't deflect the Mercedes from its course and are no worse than you'd experience in any other air-sprung SUV or estate. We also tried the E220d All-Terrain and it had a marginally better ride quality and turn-in to bends, but its engine wasn't as quiet when accelerating hard or cruising.

Very good off-road and on - bring on 2017
Very good off-road and on - bring on 2017
Scores on the doors
It's a moot point for UK buyers as Mercedes won't be offering the E220d model, which is a shame as it could potentially offer an interesting alternative to Volvo's V90 Cross Country.

This also means we have a wait till Mercedes publishes official performance, economy and emissions figures for the E350d All-Terrain. Given it tips the scales at around 140kg more than the standard E350d wagon, the All-Terrain can be expected to trail its Estate sibling's figures too. This should put the Mercedes soft-roader's numbers somewhere between the Audi A6 Allroad 3.0 TDI and 3.0 BiTDI models.

More importantly, does it put the E350d All-Terrain ahead of the Audi in this small, exclusive class? There's no doubt the Mercedes is just as able to deliver you to your skiing chalet as the Allroad. It also offers more passenger and load space, has a cushier ride and smoother transmission, which is just enough to put the Merc's nose in front.


MERCEDES-BENZ E350D ALL-TERRAIN
Engine:
2,987cc, V6, diesel
Transmission: 9-speed auto, four-wheel drive 
Power (hp): 258@3,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 457@1,600-2,400rpm
0-62mph: 6.5sec (est.)
Top speed: 155mph (est.)
Weight: 2,030kg (est.)
MPG: 50.0 (est.)
CO2: 155g/km (est.)
Price: c. £51,000 (TBC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Barchettaman

Original Poster:

2,192 posts

65 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
"For long enough, if you wanted a butched-up estate with some pseudo off-road appeal, the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo XC70 were your only ports of call."

Octavia Scout?
Passat Alltrack?
Superb 4x4?
Pug 508 RXH4?
Subaru Legacy/Outback?

crosseyedlion

1,684 posts

131 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
For normal use, this would have to be the pick of the range if you're looking for a high-spec surely?

Just for its better ride quality, taller (less prone to punctures and more compliant) tyres, less precious bodywork and AWD ability.

Dave Hedgehog

10,004 posts

137 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Dear Merc

Please fit all the E63 bits to this car

sperm


Yours

Dave H

and no LED shot?


crosseyedlion

1,684 posts

131 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
Dear Merc

Please fit all the E63 bits to this car

sperm


Yours

Dave H

and no LED shot?

That looks like a strip club!

Very brash

RDMcG

12,586 posts

140 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Seems a bit pointless to me...not for off road, so really just a cosmetic package...not much better than the VW jacked up bug thats on the market.
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Dave Hedgehog

10,004 posts

137 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
RDMcG said:
Seems a bit pointless to me...not for off road, so really just a cosmetic package...not much better than the VW jacked up bug thats on the market.
they are covering the audi allroad

RDMcG

12,586 posts

140 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
they are covering the audi allroad
True, but I also fail to understand the Allroad. I looked at one a few years ago and opted for a Cayenne V8 which I beat the hell out of, towing, offloading, deep snow and so on, and still have adequate performance for a non-sporting vehicle.

Icehanger

250 posts

155 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
RDMcG said:
Dave Hedgehog said:
they are covering the audi allroad
True, but I also fail to understand the Allroad.
So did majority of the public, hence the mega discounts on A6 Quattro's

Lefty

14,978 posts

135 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
For long enough, if you wanted a butched-up estate with some pseudo off-road appeal, the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo XC70 were your only ports of call.

Surely the Subaru Outback has been doing this for much longer than Audi or Volvo?

Lefty

14,978 posts

135 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Barchettaman said:
"For long enough, if you wanted a butched-up estate with some pseudo off-road appeal, the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo XC70 were your only ports of call."

Octavia Scout?
Passat Alltrack?
Superb 4x4?
Pug 508 RXH4?
Subaru Legacy/Outback?
hehe ok you beat me to it

SuperHangOn

3,462 posts

86 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
RDMcG said:
Seems a bit pointless to me...not for off road, so really just a cosmetic package...not much better than the VW jacked up bug thats on the market.
It's great. Offers a bit more ground clearance for potholes, speed bumps etc, easily enough traction for muddy carparks. Perfect dogging vehicle (as in taking the dog for a walk...).

I find my normal estate a bit low for the stty state of our roads but certainly don't want a lumbering 4x4.


Fresh Prince

340 posts

105 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Barchettaman said:
"For long enough, if you wanted a butched-up estate with some pseudo off-road appeal, the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo XC70 were your only ports of call."

Octavia Scout?
Passat Alltrack?
Superb 4x4?
Pug 508 RXH4?
Subaru Legacy/Outback?
Being pedantic, one could argue that all the cars you mention are D-segment, and this Mercedes, the A6 and XC70 are E-segment. But then again, there's hardly any difference in size between them these days...

crosseyedlion

1,684 posts

131 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Theres also the benefit of the fact it has airmatic.

I had a 2004 E500 on it, raising the suspension up meant it was superb over speed bumps!

hornetrider

63,161 posts

138 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
Dear Merc

Please fit all the E63 bits to this car

sperm
Not in the E63 league but the new G30 540i will be X-drive only when it arrives in the UK, the Touring should be a nice bit of kit.

tankplanker

2,348 posts

212 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
RDMcG said:
True, but I also fail to understand the Allroad. I looked at one a few years ago and opted for a Cayenne V8 which I beat the hell out of, towing, offloading, deep snow and so on, and still have adequate performance for a non-sporting vehicle.
They should handle a bit better than the equivalent SUV from the same manufacturer, use a bit less fuel, be slightly faster (as they are lighter) with the same engine and be more socially acceptable. A certain section of the population treat driving a SUV as if it is fueled by ground up babies.

I had a look at the V90 Cross Country against my XC90, the cross country was cheaper but not that much cheaper for the same spec. The same seems to be true for the Audi and Merc equivalents, so I was not tempted to switch and will stick with another SUV instead.

Barchettaman

Original Poster:

2,192 posts

65 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Fresh Prince said:
Being pedantic, one could argue that all the cars you mention are D-segment, and this Mercedes, the A6 and XC70 are E-segment. But then again, there's hardly any difference in size between them these days...
Oh, I agree. Although the Superb falls in E-segment by size if not by image.

Edited by Barchettaman on Wednesday 7th December 15:41

Kierkegaard

1,023 posts

31 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Barchettaman said:
"For long enough, if you wanted a butched-up estate with some pseudo off-road appeal, the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo XC70 were your only ports of call."

Octavia Scout?
Passat Alltrack?
Superb 4x4?
Pug 508 RXH4?
Subaru Legacy/Outback?
You could also argue the SEAT Altea XL Freetrack - it is an estate with the cladding and AWD albeit haldex.

I'll have one of these Mercs - but only used in 10-15 years please! I can see the point, I like the ground clearance but I want to be sitting close to the ground itself for the most part. I know most people like the high lofty driving position of normal SUVs and crossovers but I still like a sporty drive.

Konan

1,291 posts

79 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
SuperHangOn said:
RDMcG said:
Seems a bit pointless to me...not for off road, so really just a cosmetic package...not much better than the VW jacked up bug thats on the market.
It's great. Offers a bit more ground clearance for potholes, speed bumps etc, easily enough traction for muddy carparks. Perfect dogging vehicle (as in taking the dog for a walk...).

I find my normal estate a bit low for the stty state of our roads but certainly don't want a lumbering 4x4.
I think people over-estimate what they need to when it comes to leaving the tarmac. The same way that people will go out and buy a mountain bike to ride down a canal path.

I tend to go places a little bit away from paved surfaces, sometimes because our customers have premesis up the end of farm tracks, sometime for mountain biking etc etc - all I've ever wanted was a few inches of extra clearance under the belly of the car and no low hanging bumpers.

Beyond that, I prefer something more carlike for the majority of time on the road.

(regretting not going for an outback right now)

Roger Irrelevant

960 posts

46 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
This is my sort of car (bar it being a diesel); I've currently got an Outback which is pretty much perfect for me. The trouble is, I wouldn't actually want to go offroad in a car on which I'd spent anything like the price of this one. Put a dent in the Outback (value £3k on a good day) - couldn't care less. Put a dent in a £50k Merc and I'd cry.

Sheepshanks

15,110 posts

52 months

Wednesday 7th December 2016
quotequote all
Kierkegaard said:
I'll have one of these Mercs - but only used in 10-15 years please!
I doubt many will make it to that age - far, far too much to go wrong and practically anything that does will render the car an economic write off.