An elevated E-Class wagon set to rival the Audi A6 Allroad is being considered for NZ introduction.
MERCEDES’ E-Class station wagon might yet find a way into the New Zealand product portfolio, with the distributor expressing interest in an elevated edition that is set to officially unveil in two months.
Prototypes of a rival for the Audi A6 Allroad and next year’s Volvo V60 Cross Country have been caught testing on public roads and Benz head office has since disclosed it will be displayed at the Paris motor show in September.
The car’s relationship to the road-bound version of the E-Class estate, revealed earlier this year, is obvious.
Mercedes Benz New Zealand has already discounted selling the seal-tuned versions, but a brand spokesman admits there might be a case for the high-rider as an alternate to its GLE sports utility, which is similarly dimensioned and probably has the same capacity and capabilities as the new All Terrain.
“It’s certainly under active consideration. We have a case study under way because we feel there is definitely a place in the market for a car like this,” communications manager David McCarthy told MotoringNetwork during a media event yesterday to consider the new E-Class sedan.
“We still believe there is a market for an estate. The numbers are small, but we believe there is an opportunity. Probably even moreso in New Zealand (than Australia) because a lot of your roads lend themselves.”
He said it seems likely right-hand-drive production will start immediately on launch, with the United Kingdom likely to see the model before the year is out however it is more likely to be a mid-2017 arrival for this market.
The prototypes reveal higher ground clearance, wider wheel arches and rugged front and rear fascias. Mercedes is expected to make 4MATIC technology standard on the vehicle.
McCarthy says it is probable the variant would come in diesel format. In the E-Class sedan, that means a 220d with a 2.0-litre engine that provides in 143kW/400Nm, 0-100kmh in 7.3 seconds and 4.1 litres per 100km and the higher-end 350d, that has a 3.0-litre six-cylinder that makes 190kW and 620Nm (5.6L/100km and 0-100km in 5.2s).
McCarthy said there had been no pricing indications yet. The E220d sedan costs $102,900 and the E350d is $146,300. In the past E-Class wagons have carried a premium of up to $10,000 over the sedan equivalents. Those models also came in seven-seater format and with auto-opening tailgates.
The All Terrain was mentioned by Mercedes head office earlier this week when it gave out information about nine models set to roll out over the next year.
As part of its half-year report, the maker also indicated that the already confirmed AMG GT R performance coupe that is set to go on sale here in mid-2017 might also be followed by a Roadster version dubbed the GT C.
Another open-top offer for 2017 will be an E-Class convertible.
Facelifts of the GLA compact soft-roader and the S-Class are also scheduled for next year and, of course, we will probably see Mercedes’ first one-tonne utility, a version of the Nissan Navara that is increasingly expected to have a GLT nomenclature.