Just days after the German car maker unveiled its refreshed E-Class wagon range, UK website Auto Express now claims Mercedes is looking to add a more rugged version of the wagon to rival the likes of the Audi A6 Allroad.
Speaking with the website at the E-Class wagon launch in Stuttgart, Germany, Mercedes-Benz chief engineer Michael Kelz, reportedly said that the company needed to do something “to make estates closer to SUVs”.
Above: the Audi A6 Allroad would rival an 'off-road' E-Class wagon
Auto Express also claims Kelz hinted that an A6 Allroad competitor may arrive in Europe sometime in 2017. It’s reported the company is looking to limit the decline of its largest wagon, by offering an SUV-esque version of the wagon.
With no official word from the car maker on when or if an off-roading variant will be added to the E-Class wagon range, it hasn’t stopped some from speculating what such a car might look like.
Though pegged as something of a ‘semi-SUV’, it’s said the car would likely retain its E badge instead of taking on the GL prefix used for the company’s fully-fledged SUVs.
If such a vehicle finds its way to production, it would also see a number of exterior enhancements like more rugged bodywork, larger wheels and increased ride height in order to improve its off-road credentials.
The report puts powertrain offerings for the variant in-line with those in the all-new E-Class Estate, with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder E220d diesel along with a 3.0-litre V6 E350d turbo-diesel on offer.
Unlike the road-focussed range, it’s not expected that an off-road wagon would spawn an AMG version - making it one of the few Mercedes models not available with a high-performance variant.
This report follows news that Volvo has begun testing its new entry into the wagon-cross-SUV category, with the V90 Cross Country being snapped during testing last week. That spot in the range used to be occupied by the XC70.
The new E-Class Estate is set for a local launch in 2017, though exact timing is yet to be determined.
As for the E-Class’ siblings, the sedan is expected to hit local dealerships next month following its March debut. The E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet have also been spied testing, meaning timing for their debuts is still unknown.