Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to launch the E-Class range in New Zealand – but it hasn’t yet decided on one special variant, the so-called All Terrain station wagon.
The rival to the Audi A6 Allroad will be unveiled at the Paris motor show in October. Production has been confirmed for left-hand-drive markets, although Benz North America has ruled it out.
It is still not known if Benz will actually homologate All Terrain for this part of the world. Meanwhile, New Zealand and Australia are looking at whether or not it would actually sell Downunder.
Why? It’s a niche station wagon in markets saturated by SUVs. Says Mercedes-Benz NZ marketing executive Matt Bruce: “Due to the proliferation of the SUV market in New Zealand, we are currently assessing the viability of the All Terrain E-Class locally.”
The all-wheel-drive wagon is a first for Mercedes-Benz. It uses the company’s 4Matic system along with variable ride suspension, a development of the company’s Air Body Control system.
The package allows All Terrain’s suspension to be raised to improve ground clearance when needs be, and lowered for higher motorway speeds.
The car will get the standard E-Class range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, but adds beefier bumpers, under-body protection and a body kit, including flared plastic wheel arches.
Meantime, the arrival of the E-Class range in New Zealand is headed by three models, the E200 petrol at $99,900, the E220 diesel at $102,900, and the E350 diesel at $146,300, each one equipped with the 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic.
The E200’s 2.0-litre petrol engine delivers 135kW/300Nm. The 2.1-litre E220 diesel unit is good for 143kW/400Nm and claimed town-and-around fuel use of 4.1 litres/100km.
The E350 runs a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel generating 190kW/620Nm. This model introduces Air Body Control. Later in the year, the petrol-powered E300 and E400 4Matic land here.