One of my favorite all time movies is the original Jurassic Park. If I see it on TV, I nearly stop what I’m doing and watch it ’til the end. I flipping love it and I don’t care how nerdy that makes me seem. But one of my favorite lines in the movie is delivered by Jeff Goldblum, because of course it is. When discussing the danger of the park with owner Dr. Alan Grant and how they made the dinosaurs, Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, says “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Sometimes I feel that line perfectly sums up German automakers. And a perfect example of that is the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class All Terrain 4×4².
Essentially, Mercedes-Benz took the E-Class All Terrain and gave it the G-Wagen 4×4² treatment. So it has a jacked up ride height, portal axles (which is insane one a wagon) and some metal skid plates. It’s insanity. It’s lunacy. It’s genius.
With the impressive portal axles, which place the axle above the center of the wheel and use gearsets to control send power to the wheel hub, the E-Class All Terrain 4×4² has silly ground clearance. Mercedes-Benz claims it has 420mm (16.5 inches) of ground clearance, which is about 6 inches more than a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. In what is essentially an E-Class wagon. That’s awesome.
Apparently, it drives pretty fantastically, as well. In fact, it sounds like it drives much like an E-Class, just with unstoppable ground clearance. The steering is light and accurate, the brakes work really well and the ride is smooth and composed. Sure, it’s a bit difficult to get into but who really cares? Mercedes engineer who basically came up with this thing, Jürgen Eberle, claims that he’s also working on a new software setup for the all-wheel drive system to make sure it off-roads even better. Although, Top Gear couldn’t get it stuck as it was.
What’s even more hilarious is that inside the cabin, it’s as elegant, luxurious and beautifully trimmed as a standard E-Class. So it’s Mad Max on the outside and James Bond on the inside. That’s fantastic, yet utterly ridiculous at the same time. Now, Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have any official plans to put such a thing into mass production, but it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility. In fact, Eberle makes it seems like Mercedes-Benz is pondering a real production run of these wonderful monstrosities, though it would be very limited and there’s no guarantee of it happening. If such a thing were to exist, could BMW counter with something of its own?
Let’s be clear, we don’t think BMW ever would. It’s just not BMW’s style. However, we do know how much the Germans like to copy each other. So it’s fun to think that BMW might do something similar. Plus, BMW isn’t afraid of making its own oddball cars and the Bavarian brand even had a similar concept back in the day, the BMW Z18 Concept, which was basically an off-road Z3 Roadster.
In reality, BMW would look at such an idea and realize that it’s something it shouldn’t do. However, Mercedes-Benz isn’t bothering with whether or not is should, only if it could, just like Dr. Grant and his scientists. Maybe BMW should be a bit more like Dr. Grant. Just don’t make dinosaurs, they eat people.