- Just one engine and gearbox combo
- Performance stats to be confirmed
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain's 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel generates 258hp and a whopping 620Nm of torque. This is distributed to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, distributing power between front and rear axles with a 31:69 split.
Unlike Audi's Quattro system, however, Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive offering can only adjust the ratio of torque split between front and rear axles to the tune of some 8%. Not that – during both on- and off-road driving – you’ll find any cause to label this a handicap.
Smooth automatic gearbox
Though it does spend a good deal of time shifting between its nine ratios and can be a little slow on the uptake, the gearbox is sufficiently smooth that this doesn't vex as much as it might, and makes a perfect partner for the reserves of power on offer.
Economy and acceleration figures for the 350 d All-Terrain are yet to be confirmed. Judging by the standard E350 d Estate, however, we guestimate a 0-62mph sprint of around six seconds for the All-Terrain, a 155mph top speed, and a subsequent drop in economy and rise in emissions – to around 48mpg and 160g/km.
- Adjustable suspension height and firmness
- Capable off-road, at best driven smoothly
On standard-fit 19-inch wheels, the All-Terrain is 29mm taller than the conventional estate. Selecting All-Terrain mode in the car's Dynamic Select system accesses a choice of three ride heights which vary by 35mm.
The highest settings are available at speeds up to 19mph with a maximum ground clearance of 156mm. At speeds of over 78mph, the ride height is automatically lowered by 15mm to reduce wind resistance and increase high-speed stability.
Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system has five programmes to choose from, each of which offers different engine, transmission, ESP, steering and suspension characteristics. Unlike some rival systems, there's no Auto setting, and, in truth, you're better off leaving the system in Comfort rather than Sport mode.
Smooth and safe to drive but no sports car
That's because the steering's set up to make life easy rather than thrilling. Light and pleasant to twirl around town, it doesn't weight up to any huge degree on the open road, and, though accurate, lacks feedback through the rim. You'll learn more about the road surface beneath you through tyre noise and the minimal information the air suspension grants access to the seat of your pants.
Predictably, the E-Class All-Terrain's extra ride height sponsors a degree more body roll through corners than that generated by the standard estate. And, even in Sport mode, body control suffers somewhat to boot, leaving the car occasionally feeling a little floaty over undulations or when asked to change direction in a hurry on faster roads.
In all, then, sweeping A-roads may be effortlessly devoured by the car, but it won't reward being hustled along anything tighter and more twisty.