Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
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By Jim Flammang
May 14, 2004
Vehicle Overview Last year, Mercedes-Benz introduced a new generation of its E-Class sedan lineup with the goal of dominating the premium midsize market segment. A 221-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 engine powers the E320, while the E500 gets a 302-hp V-8. Both are slotted between the German automaker’s midsize C-Class and top-rung S-Class.
A high-performance E55 AMG sedan that is equipped with Formula One-style gearshift buttons on the steering wheel and an AMG-developed four-stage Airmatic air suspension also debuted in 2003. Fitted with a supercharged V-8 engine that produces 469 hp, it’s called the fastest Mercedes ever.
E-Class wagons have joined the sedans as 2004 models. Both come in E320 and E500 forms. The wagons feature a movable, hydraulically controlled loading tray to ease loading of large items. Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive is available on both the sedans and wagons; rear-wheel drive is standard.
Sport versions of the sedans and wagons are available, and rear-drive E500 models get a new seven-speed-automatic transmission for 2004. Bi-xenon active headlights are available.
In April 2004, Mercedes-Benz added an E320 CDI sedan with a Common-rail Direct Injection diesel engine. It’s considered a 2005 model. Only 3,000 E320 CDI sedans will reach U.S. dealerships annually.
Exterior Moved to a new platform in 2003, the E-Class sedan displays more flowing lines than its predecessor and sports a lower, more swept-back front end. Oval headlights are angled back more sharply, and a sculpted trunk edged aside the former squared-off profile. The front fenders, hood, trunk lid and bolted-on frame members are made of aluminum. An Airmatic air suspension is standard on the E500 and optional on the E320.
Interior Front-seat occupants in the five-passenger interior face a V-shaped console. Standard and Sport models are available, and the Sport edition features black bird’s-eye maple trim rather than the brown walnut interior used on other models.
Under the Hood The E320 gets a 221-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 engine, while the E500 packs a 5.0-liter V-8 that cranks out 302 hp and 339 pounds-feet of torque. The supercharged 5.5-liter V-8 in the E55 AMG sedan delivers 469 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque. In the new E320 CDI sedan, a 3.2-liter diesel six-cylinder engine produces 201 hp and 369 pounds-feet of torque. The rear-drive E500 uses a new seven-speed-automatic transmission, but other models have a five-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available.
Safety Sensotronic brake control, which is a brake-by-wire system, promises faster, more surefooted emergency responses. Antilock brakes and Mercedes-Benz’s Electronic Stability Program are standard. Adaptive front airbags deploy at a lower force in less severe collisions. Seat belt pretensioners and load limiters are installed.
Driving Impressions Civility reigns behind the wheel of the latest midsize sedan from Mercedes-Benz. Everything about this car is smooth, fine, lush and luxurious.
In the 2003 redesign, the E-Class lost most of the heavy feel that was unpleasantly noticeable on previous models. The refined E500 version manages to deliver nearly rocketlike acceleration, whether it’s starting from a standstill, passing or merging. Trimmed in beautiful wood, the dashboard is a little too complicated for some tastes, and the tachometer should be a bit larger. But when you start picking out flaws on this level, it’s obvious that you’re facing an excellent automobile.
Consumers seeking stunning four-door performance need search no further than the E55 AMG, which responds to the throttle like a supercar and has taut handling to match.
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