The All-Terrain is billed as the most versatile E-Class ever.
The All-Terrain is billed as the most versatile E-Class ever.

Stuttgart - The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has officially joined the crossover craze and the All-Terrain is here just in time to rival the new Volvo V90 Cross Country, which was revealed earlier this month.

Both will compete for attention at the Paris Motor Show from late September before being rolled out to global markets during the course of 2017. At this stage it's not planned for South Africa, however.

Like its rivals, which also include the Audi A6 Allroad (not sold in SA), the E-Class All-Terrain is a station wagon with SUV ambitions, dressed up for the bush with rugged looking bumpers and wheel arch cladding. Though not a full-blown mud plugger, it will go further off the beaten track than its conventional estate counterpart thanks to 29mm-higher ground clearance and a 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

What's more, the Dynamic Select system, for adjusting dynamic characteristics, has an additional 'All-Terrain' mode derived from that in the GLE. This programme can raise the air suspension by a further 20mm at speeds of up to 35km/h, while also adjusting the traction and stability control systems for life in the bush. The gadget also keeps drivers in the loop by displaying things like suspension height as well as slope and steering angles, along with a handy compass, on the central display screen.

In keeping with its crossover positioning, the All-Terrain has a more comfort-orientated suspension set-up than conventional E-Classes and the higher-profile tyres further improve the ride quality according to Mercedes-Benz.

The All-Terrain will initially go on sale with just one engine option in the form of Merc's new 2-litre turbodiesel, rated at 143kW and 400Nm. A six-cylinder diesel engine option has been promised for a later date.

Inside you'll find an aluminium-carbon-look inlay trim designed specifically for this vehicle and it's also set apart by floor mats with All-Terrain lettering and stainless steel sports pedals.

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