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DRIVETIME: MOTORING: LEFT BEHIND; BRITAIN RULED OUT.

UK MOTORISTS are to miss out on new four-wheel drive versions of the Mercedes E-Class saloon and estate models, which go on sale in mainland Europe this autumn.

They will join 4Matic versions of the smaller C-Class and the luxury S-Class, which have been available in left-hand drive countries for some time.

Each of these permanent four-wheel drive models requires significant restructuring to accommodate the additional drive, and it is simply not feasible to achieve this for right-hand drive models.

A spokesman for Mercedes-Benz in the UK said: "The C-Class and S-Class have been available with four-wheel drive in mainland Europe for some time and soon the E-Class will join them.

"Unfortunately it is a mechanical impossibility for right-hand drive models, and they will definitely not be coming to the UK.''

This is music to the ears of arch-rival Audi, which has successfully managed to engineer four-wheel drive into all of its right-hand drive models, including even the mighty A8.

It means that the only four-wheel drive offering here from Mercedes is the large M-Class model, which faces increasingly tough competition from the likes of BMW's X5, the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90, Lexus RX300 and a host of others.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Aug 8, 2003
Words:201
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