Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain estate - Engines, drive & performance
Clever electronics and ample power make for impressive agility
In common with other E-Class models, a Dynamic Select system enables various driving modes to be selected, with the addition of an All-Terrain mode exclusive to this model. With this engaged, the car’s ESP system combines with other stability systems to ensure grip is apportioned between each of the four driven wheels as necessary – if slip is detected on one wheel, it can be independently braked and the power transferred to another, with the aim of keeping the car moving in wet or muddy conditions.
In all-terrain mode, the ride height can be increased from 121 to 156mm, enabling rough and unpaved roads to be safely navigated. Don’t be fooled by the rugged-looking skid-plates, though; the All-Terrain was never intended for really rocky or inhospitable conditions – it’s intended more for more moderate off-road use including excursions into soggy paddocks.
The extra ride-height does mean the All-Terrain is a little less settled when cornering than its regular estate equivalent, but body lean still isn’t excessive and passengers won’t be upset by unseemly swaying. In fact, the longer travel of the suspension makes the ride softer and more comfortable than in other E-Class models – a boon for motorway travel.
The payoff is that the steering now seems a little less precise; selecting Sport from the Dynamic Select menu tightens things up again but corrupts that smooth ride, and can cause the gearbox to hang onto gears for an inordinately long time.
Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain diesel engines
The Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain is fitted with an E400d 4MATIC diesel engine. The accompanying nine-speed automatic gearbox makes especially gentle gearshifts that are virtually imperceptible. It also seems to be fairly intelligent in its ability to choose the right gear at the right time – although there are gearchange paddles provided, you’ll seldom have a reason to use them.