cladding and capability

Mercedes-Benz’s Cool Off-Road Station Wagon Is Coming to America

March 3, 2020 Cars By
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Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class has often been spoken of as “the heart of the brand”– a middle ground offering more size and capability than the without the size or price tag of the S-Class. It’s also the only model that Mercedes offers a wagon version of here in the United States, both in regular Benz and super-sporty AMG forms.

With the arrival of the facelift 2021 E-Class, however, that wagon seems poised to undergo a significant change — in the form of a Subaru Outback-like version called the E450 4Matic All-Terrain. Previous generations of the car were relegated to other shores, but with a mid-life cycle refresh hitting the whole E-Class family, Mercedes decided the time was right for the U.S. to have it.

Mechanically speaking, the E450 won’t be a radical departure mechanically from the 2021 E450 sedan. Like that car, the All-Terrain boasts a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six aided by Mercedes’s EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive. That engine will put out 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

But the E450 All-Terrain will also score Mercedes SUV-like styling, including black matte cladding and a stylized skid plate to protect the underbelly. That won’t be just for show; it also picks up added off-road capability, with two off-road drive modes, downhill speed regulation, and Mercedes-Benz’s adjustable Air Body Control suspension.

Mercedes taking the E-Class wagon off-road shouldn’t be that surprising. Americans don’t buy straight-up wagons, however perfect they may be. Americans do like all-wheel-drive and off-road styling and capability, however. The one wagon that sells well in the U.S. is the Subaru Outback; in that same vein, however, Audi has the A6 Allroad, Volvo sells Cross Country versions of its wagons, and VW rebranded the Sportwagen as the Golf Alltrack. Mercedes following suit may have been just a matter of time.

Do we wish we lived in an automotive climate where a sweet wagon could just be itself and sell well? Sure. But are we still excited to drive Mercedes-Benz’s significantly more powerful take on the Subaru Outback? Absolutely.

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Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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