Victoria is about to roll out high-powered, police-only Mercedes-Benz wagons to replace highway patrol Holden Commodore V8s, as most states get close to retiring their remaining fleets of Australian-made pursuit cars.
It might look like an ordinary Mercedes-Benz wagon but this model is not available to the general public and has almost twice as much power as the showroom version.
It has the same acceleration as a Holden Commodore V8 – 0 to 100kmh in about 5.0 seconds – but uses about one-third of the fuel because it is a hi-tech diesel.
An advanced all-wheel-drive system provides superior grip in the wet, and on slippery alpine roads. Runflat tyres mean the car doesn’t carry a spare and can still be driven with a puncture.
The Victoria Police Mercedes will also be decked out with the latest speed detection and drug detection equipment, as well as being armed with tiny cameras that can read number plates of passing cars – day or night – and detect wanted vehicles or drivers in milliseconds.
The Mercedes-Benz All-Terrain that has earned its stripes for highway patrol duties is powered by a turbo diesel 3.0-litre six-cylinder versus the standard car’s smaller turbo diesel 2.0-litre four-cylinder.
For the tech heads, the police pack Mercedes has an impressive 250kW of power and a V8-crushing 700Nm of torque. The showroom version available for the public to buy (pictured below) has a modest output of 143kW and 400Nm.
Although Victoria Police has had a couple of Mercedes vehicles on the highway patrol fleet in recent years (such as the GLE 63 SUV and E43 AMG sedan, pictured below) each of those were one-off examples on loan for 12 months.
The first 20 examples of the Mercedes All-Terrain E400d – to give its full name – are due on the road over the summer holidays, but more will follow as Holden Commodore V8s are retired.
As is the case with all highway patrol vehicles, the Mercedes All-Terrain E400d earned a “gold rating” during tests by Victoria Police for “performance, handling and braking”.
“The vehicles will be among those replacing the current Holden Commodore SS wagons, which will be phased out progressively as they approach the end of their lease,” Road Policing Command Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said in a media statement.
The Mercedes' largest boot space in its class provides ample room to carry the range of equipment highway patrol officers are required to carry, he said.
“We’re always evaluating our vehicles to ensure they meet safety standards and match the dynamic work our police do every day,” said Supt Fitzpatrick.
“We look at a number of factors when selecting vehicles to join our fleets and the (Mercedes E400d) stood out as being fit-for-purpose and above all, safe,” said Supt Fitzpatrick.
Victoria Police said the Mercedes’ cabin allows for seamless integration of operational systems and police equipment “without compromising visibility of dashboard displays”.
The Mercedes All-Terrain E400d joins a wide range of highway patrol cars across Australia.
Victoria Police already has large number of BMW 5 Series sedans (illustrated above), BMW X5 SUVs and Volkswagen Passats, the latter split between highway patrol and general duties. In the new year, Victoria Police will also add BMW 5 Series wagons to the highway patrol fleet.
Victoria Police use a mix of 132kW front-drive VW Passats for general duties work, and 206kW all-wheel-drive VW Passats (pictured above) for highway patrol work.
South Australian police have a mix of imported Holden Commodore V6 all-wheel-drive sedans and Kia Sorento SUVs for traffic duties, while the Australian Capital Territory has a mix of VW Passat sedans and wagons, as well as a number of BMWs.
Tasmanian police are trialing all-wheel-drive Subaru Liberty sedans due to the slippery roads.
There is also a number of special purpose vehicles on some fleets: Queensland has deployed a handful of Mercedes C43 AMG sedans for its “Fatal Five”, and a BMW M3 has been spotted in recent months with police lights in the ACT.
Covering both ends of the spectrum, Victoria Police also have a Tesla Model X electric car – the first jurisdiction in Australia to put a fully electric vehicle into service – and a BMW M5 high performance sedan.
However, although the BMW M5 is fully operational, it is only on a 12-month loan to Victoria Police and comes with distance restrictions.