Driven

Automotive Nirvana: 2021 Mercedes E450 All-Terrain

It’s a wagon! Yes, that’s exactly what I said when I saw the Mercedes Benz E450 All-Terrain arrive in the driveway. The car enthusiasts holy grail vehicle was ours for the week. Can it live up to the long-roof hype?

Wagons are a blend of car-like handling and SUV practicality. Why wouldn’t the E-Class wagon itself be a massive hit? It turns out without body cladding and some extra ground clearance, it doesn’t pass muster enough to lure away crossover shoppers. So Mercedes decided that they were going to lift their E450 wagon and throw some plastic cladding on the side and call it an All-Terrain. Did it fool anyone? No. But the transformation to All-Terrain does bring with it an incredibly supple ride and a slightly higher entry point for ingress and egress. This later benefit is, no doubt, targeting a specific market (my parents) who are looking for something that you can slide right in to or out of with little effort.

Comfort is the name of the game here. Forget the off-road stuff (though we’ll get to that a little bit) and focus on the ride quality of the air suspension, the imperceptible hum of the new inline-six, and the absolute silence of the cabin at speed. This E450 All-Terrain was more comfortable than the last S-Class we spent some time with. Everything blends together in such a way that it brings you back to the days where cars felt like bank vaults. The impeccable build quality, spacious interior and excellent seats make you feel like you’re gliding down the road with no one around. That new engine that we mentioned before? That’s a new inline six cylinder with a 48 volt hybrid system attached works wonders in this chassis. The nine speed transmission also pairs well and shifts imperceptibly. When you put your foot down all 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque send you forward with a perceptible shove. It’s pretty fast, and merging onto the highway won’t be an issue. When it comes to some corners, the E450 All-Terrain stacks up pretty well. This current E-Class chassis can maneuver its way through back roads fairly easily. It’s not its favorite task, but you won’t feel like you’re lumbering along like you would be in something like a GLE. The steering is set up for comfort, however, which means it was more vague than our liking. The suspension remains comfortable in all settings, and the brakes were quite linear and pleasant even in quick stopping events.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the E450 All-Terrain, though, is the interior. Bathed in leather, wood, and high definition screens, this interior is just perfect. MBUX infotainment continues to be very complex, but easily navigated once you play around with it for a while, and all the drivers assistance systems are easily adjusted however you’d prefer. The panoramic sunroof is great for rear passengers, but doesn’t extend to the third row’s (yes, third row!) rear facing seats. As for those rear-facing seats, they rise up out of the rear floor, providing very little in the way of leg or head room. Don’t plan on putting any full-size adults back there unless its for nostalgia purposes.

Years ago we drove an E63 S AMG wagon for a week. We finished up that week thinking that that was the absolute perfect car. All these years later, we may have softened a bit and this E450 may have dethroned that old AMG in all-around excellence. If you’re one of the few who doesn’t want that higher ride height of an SUV, but need the practicality look no further. Just remember to bring your checkbook, because perfection costs roughly $75,000

-Scott Villeneuve

2021 Mercedes E450 4MATIC All-Terrain Wagon$67,600
Selenite Grey metallic$720
19″ AMG twin 5-spoke wheels$700
Exterior Lighting Package$900
Panorama roof$1,000
Premium Package$2,300
Destination Charges$1,050
As-Tested MSRP$74,270

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