2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reviews
Mercedes' E-Class is offered in four body styles and a choice of engines. Rear- and all-wheel-drive versions are offered, as is a high-performance E63 AMG edition. Depending on the body style, the E-Class seats four to seven people. Competitors include the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Infiniti M.
(Skip to details on the: E63 AMG, E-Class Cabriolet)
New for 2012
For 2012, the E-Class gets several new engines, along with other tweaks, and there is a new E63 AMG wagon. The E350 coupe, Cabriolet, wagon and sedan receive a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. The E550 coupe, Cabriolet and 4Matic sedan get a new 402-hp, 4.6-liter V-8. Meanwhile, the E63 AMG sedan and wagon have a 518-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 with a stop/start fuel-saving feature; an optional Performance Package brings total output to 550 hp. Other changes include new 17-inch wheels for the E350 coupe and Cabriolet, new 19-inch rims for the E63 AMG, new steering wheels, and interior and exterior tweaks.
The E-Class' headlights have slotlike inboard bezels, while the outboard portions resemble those on the C-Class. Eyebrow-like fog lights sit in the three-piece lower air dam. In comparison, the taillights are much more reserved. The E350 has oval exhaust pipes, and the E550's are trapezoidal. Exterior features include:
- Standard 17-inch alloy wheels
- Optional 18-inch wheels
- Newly standard LED daytime running lights
- Optional xenon active headlights
- Rear air suspension on wagon
For 2012, coupes and Cabriolets get standard shift paddles, and the media interface has been moved to the center console across the model line. Mercedes' knob-based Comand interface includes primary controls at hip level, ahead of the center armrest, like the systems in the C-Class and flagship S-Class. The E-Class has Mercedes' "mbrace" communication system that includes the ability to connect the car with a smartphone. Optional folding rear seats do not require the cushions to be flipped forward first. Interior features include:
- Wagon has seven-seat capacity with standard rear-facing third row and power tailgate
- Optional leather upholstery
- Optional massaging, bolster-adjustable seats
- Optional tri-zone automatic climate control
- Optional panoramic moonroof
Under the Hood
The standard adaptive suspension alters shock-absorber settings to react to changing road conditions. A sport-tuned version with more dynamic settings is optional. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive models include Mercedes' Airmatic air suspension with driver-adjustable Comfort and Sport settings. Mechanical features include:
- 210-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6 (E350 Bluetec)
- 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (E350)
- 402-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 (E550)
- 518-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 (E63 AMG, 550 hp with optional Performance Package)
- Seven-speed automatic transmission for all models
The E-Class offers a long list of safety features. Besides antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system, the E-Class has nine standard airbags. Mercedes' Pre-Safe system is also standard; it cinches seat belts, repositions seats and attempts to close the windows and moonroof if it senses an imminent accident. Additional safety features include:
- Standard Attention Assist system measures steering behavior and other parameters to sense driver fatigue
- Optional automatic high-beam headlights
- Optional blind spot and lane departure warning systems
- Optional night vision system
The automaker's high-performance division, AMG, has produced its own variant of the midsize luxury sedan. Dubbed E63 AMG, it features a high-powered V-8 engine, chassis modifications and revised styling inside and out. For 2012, an E63 AMG wagon is available.
The E63 AMG is powered by a new twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 engine that produces 518 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque. With an optional Performance Package, the engine pumps out 550 hp and 590 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 teams with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel-saving stop/start technology is now standard on the E63 AMG.
The sport sedan features an adaptive suspension called AMG Ride Control. The suspension uses front steel springs and rear air springs, and the dampers are varied automatically based on the driving situation. The suspension also includes three modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus — to suit the driver's preference. Additional changes include a quicker steering ratio and an AMG brake kit.
Exterior styling changes include wider front fenders, more aggressive front and rear aprons, larger rocker panels, tinted headlights, unique chrome tailpipes and 19-inch alloy wheels. Cabin enhancements include AMG sport seats, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, an AMG-specific instrument panel and stainless steel pedals. Attention Assist, a system designed to tell when the driver is tired, is standard. Back to top
Available in E350 and E550 versions, the four-seat Cabriolet is a soft-top convertible that replaced the CLK-Class convertible. It's based on the E-Class coupe, with nearly identical dimensions inside and out. The top opens or closes within 20 seconds when driving 25 mph or slower. In lieu of the coupe's curtain airbags, the Cabriolet uses "headbags" that deploy upward from the doors.
Notable options include Airscarf, a feature that blows warm air at the back of front-seat occupants' necks from just under the head restraints. Airscarf uses electric heat, so it warms up faster than the car itself. The Aircap option raises a spoiler from the top of the windshield frame; at the same time, the rear head restraints rise, deploying a windscreen. The two provisions direct the onrush of air higher over the cabin, reducing turbulence. Back to top