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Mercedes-Benz is taking the wagon in a more rugged direction

Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed plans to introduce a rugged, jacked-up station wagon aimed right at the Audi A6 allroad that’s sold in Europe. The yet-unnamed model is expected to greet the public for the first time next month at the Paris Auto Show.

Last year, Mercedes executives were debating whether the company’s first-ever off-road-focused wagon should be based on the C- or on the E-Class (pictured). The company has chosen to break into the segment with the new E-Class, according to a product plan that highlights an array of new Mercedes and smart models set to debut over the next year. Temporarily labeled E-Class All-Terrain, the brawny wagon will receive protective black plastic trim on both bumpers, on the rocker panels, and over the wheel arches, a sprinkling of brushed aluminum accents, roof rails, and several model-specific trim pieces.

The look will be more than skin-deep, and the All-Terrain will be more capable than a standard E-Class wagon thanks to a few additional inches of ground clearance and Mercedes’ time-tested 4Matic all-wheel drive system. Skid plates on both ends will protect vital mechanical components from impacts, and buyers will most likely be able to order the soft-roader with a fully adjustable air suspension. Technical details remain unconfirmed at this point, largely because they’ll vary from country to country.

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We’ll learn more about Mercedes’ rugged E-Class in the coming weeks, and we’ll be in the French capital in late September to bring you live images of it as soon as it makes its official debut. While the wagon is scheduled to hit European showrooms early next year, it’s too early to tell whether it will join the Mercedes lineup in the United States.