By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class continues its reputation as the "everything to everybody" mid-size luxury vehicle. With the recent addition of the 2-door E-Class Coupe, the E-Class Wagon and the 2-door E-Class Cabriolet convertible, it's possible for the consumer to get a Mercedes-Benz E-Class in a surprisingly large number of flavors. No matter which 2012 E-Class variant is chosen, drivers can expect nothing less than the definitive Mercedes-Benz experience, with ride quality, luxury and comfort standing out in a segment that is among the most competitive in the auto industry today.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is like a well-tailored suit; it will always look good, feel right and be in style. The wealth of standard features plus the sheer number of base-model options means there's something for everyone in the E-Class lineup.
If the prestige value of owning a Mercedes-Benz is of no importance to you, you may find competitors such as Cadillac, Infiniti and Lexus offer lower-priced vehicles that fully suit your needs.
The 2012 E-Class now boasts an E63 AMG Wagon, while the rest of the line features a set of new engines with substantial improvements in both power and fuel economy. The BlueTEC diesel engine is the only carryover from 2011. Along with some option and package changes, the 2012 E-Class brings a revised 7-speed transmission and minor design tweaks.
Driving Impressions Despite vastly improved power for 2012, there will always be faster cars on the road than those in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class line. However, few can boast the same blend of...comfort, luxury and performance. With individual shocks constantly adjusting to road surface changes and driver demands, the car is both firm and responsive through tight bends and smooth on the highway. Its suspension inspires confidence and the steering is reasonably informative. All this helps make the E-Class a remarkably enjoyable and comfortable vehicle to drive. If you'd like to step out closer to the edge, the E63 AMG brings an upgraded engine, suspension and transmission to bear with giggle-inducing speed and precision. The 2012 E63 AMG is available as either a Sedan or Wagon.
Distronic Plus Safety Package
It's tough to get excited about safety features, but the Distronic Plus Safety Package's features are truly special. The Pre-Safe Brake system uses radar to warn the driver of imminent collision and even applies the brakes to minimize impact.
Ok, so the Sport Package only shows outwardly with bigger wheels and comes with a swanky contrasting interior. You should buy it for the stiffened (and lowered) suspension, which properly livens up the car's handling.
Every 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes rich with standard equipment, providing comfort and convenience expected from the marque. From burled walnut interior trim accents to 14-way power seats with memory settings to the premium audio system and "mbrace" navigation system, the E-Class doesn't leave much room for options (though there are some). New available assistance systems, such as the Lane Keeping Assist (in both passive and active forms) and Blind Spot Assist, take a bow for 2012. Also new in the 2012 E-Class cabin are the steering wheel and instrument cluster display. Front head and legroom is very good on all models. The rear seats, however, can be a bit cramped in the Coupe and Cabriolet but are very nice in the Sedan and Wagon. Luggage space is impressive across the line, even in the Cabriolet, which has ample usable trunk space.
Visually, the 2010 revamp of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class was a "love it or hate it" affair, sparking strong argument from both sides. Combining elements of 1950s sedans and coupes with muscular rear fenders, not to mention its now-signature front-end design, the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is both distinctive and recognizably Mercedes. The two-door Coupe's lack of a B-pillar gives it a smooth aesthetic and an air of class. The Cabriolet convertible shares the Coupe's modified grille and boasts an elegant soft top that blends nicely into its sharp bodylines. The soft-top look is classic and weighs a lot less than a hardtop. The Wagon is an unsung hero. From some vantage points, its roofline appears to carry a descending angle from front to back, while from locations it seems a straight line to an expansive rear cargo area. New for 2012 are standard LED daytime running lights, a design touch pioneered by Audi and now practically mandatory market-wide.
All 2012 E-Class models come with an impressive list of standard features. Electronic Brake Assist is standard across the line, as is the 7-speed transmission with paddle shifters fitted to the new multifunction steering wheel. Other standards include the 8-speaker, 6-disc CD/DVD system, a 7-inch LCD display and a plethora of comfort and convenience features. Safety features include a litany of airbags plus the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system. Electronic stability control, long a standard on most Mercedes-Benz, is now required by the government to be fitted on all 2012 cars.
Options of note on the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class models include both Sport and Luxury Design Packages, the Distronic Plus Package with Pre-Safe Braking and Parktronic parking assist and Premium Packages offering Bluetooth connectivity, iPod/MP3 capability, HD radio and more. For the sedan and wagon, leather upholstery is optional and across the line seating is available with heating, ventilation and even massage functionality for the driver.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class line continues to feature four engines, three of which are new for 2012: The 210-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 BlueTEC diesel; a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 in E350 variants; a 402-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 for the E550 cars and the monster 518-horsepower, 5.5-liter V8 in the E63 AMG sedan and wagon. All E-Class engines run through a freshly revised 7-speed automatic transmission with optional manual paddle shifting. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive (AWD) system can be mated to either the 3.5-liter V6 or the 4.6-liter V8. The E63 AMG cars are equipped with the tuner's Speedshift transmission with Race Start and rev matching.
3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-2,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/32
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 (Sedan), 19/28 (Coupe), 18/28 (Cabriolet), 19/27 (AWD Wagon)
4.6-liter V8 Twin-Turbo
402 horsepower @ 5,000-5,750 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/26 (AWD Sedan), 17/27 (Coupe), 16/25 (Cabriolet)
518 horsepower @ 5,250-5,750 rpm (550 horsepower optional)
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,000 rpm (590 lb-ft of torque optional)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (Sedan), 15/23 (Wagon)
By Sundance on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and safe"
Cons: "This year modle did not come with 4 wheel drive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had this car for 2 years and everything about it is great. The only problem I have had was the ease that the tires can be destroyed but that is the conditions of the roads in Buffalo and the northern east coast. Clearly this is a machine for an enthuses and at the same time the second safest car I have every been in the first being a E350 Sedan."
By HM on Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased this car for my wife January of this year and she loves it. We had a 1991 300 D with nearly 500k miles over 14 years. We've waited since 2005 to buy another MBZ diesel because we felt Mercedes never made a quality diesel since the 300 D until this 250 BT. 4 Matic with snow tires makes this car stick to the road in the winter. This car does not put a sneaker down wrong on the road. Very comfortable. Controls take a bit to master but it is fairly logical. The only complaint my wife has is the navigation...no car is perfect. Mileage is incredible (she averages over 40 mpg). Solid and quiet. Torque available at low RPM. Car gets off the line quickly (for a diesel) and has nice power for passing. Really gives a driver a lot of confidence and security on the road. We plan to own this one for $500k+ miles if possible."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Sir Len on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid build, Distronic Plus, Clean Diesel Mileage"
Cons: "Comfort of leather seats needs improvement"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Approaching 10K miles, the vehicle is impressive--2014 E-250 BT (diesel) luxury, no issues thus far, overall performance & safety is worth every dime. Owned a 2012 E diesel (had bad transmission) and I was amazed at what two years has done--What improvements!! Do not be discouraged because of the 2.1L (4-cylinder) diesel engine…the bi-turbos perform very well. The transmission is smooth. I intend to keep this motor car for many years to come. MB clean diesel is to be revered! Distronic Plus and other safety systems deserve an award. Drives extremely well. The performance of the suspension system is most impressive in the luxury line, it isn't air suspension, but very close. Not as luxurious as the S-Class, but the powerful E-Class diesel does not disappoint, it does what it was built to do."
By Maggie on Friday, July 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,667overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ease and comfort of driving, good interior space"
Cons: "Complex navigation system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is a dream to drive, on city streets or highway. The handling is smooth and responsive, the acceleration is great. The interior space is comfortable for five. The navigation system takes a bit of "getting used to", but I'm sure that ease of using it will improve over time."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Steve on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Traded up
Pros: "Good power for a V6, comfortable, fun to drive"
Cons: "Not enough trunk space, back seat too small"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This was the first soft top convertible I've owned. My concerns about the quality, security and comfort of a soft top convertible were put to rest. I had the car for over two years and the top was never an issue. I kept it garaged which I understand helps a lot to keep it in good condition. I only had one mechanical issue with the driver's seat adjustment mechanism. There are two motors that move the seat and one of them stopped working. When the seat was adjusted it would start to move sideways. It finally got stuck in that position until I had it repaired under warranty. The repair was very involved because the air lines to the inflatable lumbar supports, side bolsters, etc. had to be replaced since they are only good for one installation. The dealer did not know this so they had to order new hoses when they figured it out and it took over a week to fix my car. Of course they gave me a loaner so it was not a big deal. My only complaint about the car was the lack of trunk space with the top down. We took a trip to the mountains and it would have been nice to drive up there with the top down, but with our luggage in the trunk, we couldn't. Unless you really need a back seat, I wouldn't recommend this car because the back seat is tight. I think I only had a person back there 3 or 4 times in 2 years. It takes a little effort to get back there. I'd rather have more trunk/storage space."
18 people out of 36 found this review helpful
By AJ on Saturday, May 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "would like heated steering wheel"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had BMW's, Lincoln"s, Toyota"s, Nissan"s and this is by far the best I have ever owned. Great fuel economy, comfortable and reliable. Looking for a new car but just do not find anything close to this vehicle. I will probably purchase another E It was even great during the NE winter with winter tires and some weight in the trunk. Best of all, my wife also loves the car !!"
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful