This is a segment Audi was sort of first in, off-road variants of luxury wagons, with the first-gen Audi Allroad. While the O.G. Audi Allroad was a bit of an unmitigated disaster, as it was quite possibly one of the most unreliable cars of all time, it sort of set this segment up. Since then, though, the segment has become decently popular. However, Mercedes-Benz has gotten a bit out of control with the new E-Class All Terrain 4×4².
What you’re looking at in these photos is essentially a Mercedes E-Class wagon that’s been given the G-Wagen 4×4² treatment. It actually starts life as a Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, which is a Audi A4 Allroad competitor. Then, Mercedes gives it a jacked up ride height, portal axles and skid plates. So it can properly off-road.
If you’re unsure what portal axles are, they allow the axle to be higher than the center of the wheel hub, by using a gearset that connects the two together. The reason for this is to allow for a higher ride height, with the axles much higher than the wheel centers, and better wheel articulation. Mercedes-Benz first debuted portal axles on a production car with the G-Wagen 4×4².
According to the psychotic engineers at Mercedes-Benz, the new E-Class All-Terrain can seriously off-road and will get even better when they implement new all-wheel drive software. The fact that Mercedes seems willing to look into developing specific software for this car shows that it’s also considering putting into production.
At the moment, there are no official plans to actually release this wonderful monstrosity. However, there could be a very limited run, at an admittedly absurd price, in the future. If that’s the case, should Audi be inclined to develop a competitor?
If any other company has the reputation to make such a car, it’s Audi. Admittedly, Mercedes has been making hardcore off-roading cars for ages, far longer than Audi. But Audi does have a fantastic rally history and certainly knows how to make tough, rugged and effective all-wheel drive systems. If Audi were to make a competitor, it would make sense for it to be a bit more of a rally-oriented car.
Imagine that, a spiritual successor to the original Audi Quattro? That would be fantastic. If Audi were to take a car like the A4 Allroad, raise the ride height, give it some skid plates, rugged fender flares and a rally attitude, it would be one of the coolest cars on the road. Let’s hope this Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain 4×4² sparks Audi to make something similar.