The E-class All-Terrain 4x4² is Mercedes’ latest off-road revelation. It is a one-off built by a design engineer and off-roading enthusiast, and a team of engineers.
Design engineer Jürgen Eberle says that the aim of the project was to find out if a similar car could be created with the G 500 4x4²’s portal axles grafted on in place of the standard E-class All-Terrain's multi-link set-up.
The project took a few months to create, with Eberle heading up a growing team as his project became more and more ambitious. The end result was an E-class All-Terrain with more than double the original car’s ground clearance – 420mm, to be precise – compared to the standard car’s 160mm. The wading depth is 500mm, just a 100mm shy of the G-class’ 600mm. The standard All-Terrain’s wading depth is 280mm.
The focal point of the car are the 20-inch wheels shod with 285/50 R20 off-roading tyres that have been sourced from the R-class, compared to the 245/45 R19 found on the standard car. To accommodate the larger wheels, special wheel arch extenders had to be 3D printed and attached to the car, which results in an increase in width by almost 200mm.
Standard rubber and plastic suspension bushings were ditched in favour of Uniball motorsports bearings. Eberle drafted in help from a friend who works at AMG to help modify the driveshaft geometry for compatibility with the car’s off-roading modifications.
“The crucial factor was the network," said Eberle. "In every area where I needed support, I found colleagues who were on the same wavelength and who provided help quickly and without any red tape.”
Under the bonnet is the standard 194hp, four-cylinder diesel, mated to a 9G-tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox. Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system has, of course, been maintained for the model.
The E-class All-Terrain 4x4² attracted the attention and praise of the E-class’ chief engineer, Michael Kelz, who said: “The idea excited me right from the start and initial test drives of the All-Terrain 4x4² at the new testing and technology centre in Immendingen are demonstrating promising off-road characteristics. Thanks to the suspension lift with portal axles, the All-Terrain 4x4² is able to cope with even the nastiest rocky and stony runs – it’s a really skilful scrambler.”