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 John on Friday, March 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,700overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great design and fun to drive"
Cons: "Poor workmanship and durability"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Most of the MB 350's have seat covers made of MBTex vinyl even the one with all options available like my car. Just behind the top of the bucket seat at the seam the seat started to form a tear. This happened at only 16,000 miles and I took it to a dealership because it had to be a flaw in the workmanship for a car with so little use. The service rep sent pictures to Mercedes of America warranty repairs and the repair was denied. They simply do not support the workmanship of the cars. This car originally sold for $60,000 and the seats start to tear at 16,000 miles. Do not buy their cars as they are not made any more like they used to be."
By WC on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, imaculate, and fun to drive."
Cons: "Everything about it is expensive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my first MB, and so far I love it. I bought it used with 79k miles which is fortunate because another 1k miles and I wouldn't have qualified for the premier extended warranty. I would have been a little leery about buying the car if it hadn't been for the awesome warranty, seeings how this is my first trial with a MB. So far it drives and looks like it just came off the lot. It is absolutely immaculate and turns heads where ever I go. It is a E550 4Matic 4D AMG Sport PKG, and on top of looking good it is extremely quick for such a heavy car. The is a very few things I can complain about with it. Before purchasing this model, I looked at all the other classes and the E-Class is overall the best from what I saw. I would like the S-Class if I were to purchase another one, however I will most likely have to jump another tax bracket to make it happen because unless you buy it new, with all the extra features no one offers any warranties and nothing is cheap to repair. Not that they have to many issues from what I have read, but if it were to have an issue it would put quite the dent in the pocketbook. I am happy with it thus far though, and I would recommend it to anyone else who is in the market for a car such as this."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By No more MB on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good looking, nice drive at high speeds 80mph+"
Cons: "clunky transmission shaky suspension uncomfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My "new" car has been in service 3 times and going in for a fourth. The transmission shifts abruptly, and there is an annoying shake. First time they changed rear tires and fixed loose parts on interior, second time they changed front tires and reprogrammed transmission, third time reprogrammed again and said no shake (even though it's still there). Dealer is terrible and dishonest, they are only interested in closing sales, that's it... MB Corporate says to keep bringing it in to Service "that's what the warranty is for". They refuse to take the car back because I have not had extensive warranty repairs. Paid extra for leather "premium" seats that are very uncomfortable, hard to believe a $60k car doesn't come standard with leather. The seat back pivots at a strange point, so the seat back digs into your back as you recline it; anything other than a 90 degree angle shoves the seat into your back. Very disappointing. The car looks good, but just terrible for what it should be. Reconsider your decision to avoid wasted time and aggravation."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Naz on Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,700overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Engine is powerful and quiet. Beautiful interior."
Cons: "Steering is not communicative and the car drifts."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I bought the car with 200 miles from the dealer. Within 3 months of purchase, a number of warranty items came up: 1) Front brakes & rotors were seriously warped, 2) Soft top would not retract properly, 3) The soft top housing cover would not sit flush when closed, 4) Driver side door not aligned properly, 5) Driver side window squeaking when hitting bumps, 6) NAV and software crashed. For the $65K price I paid for the car, this was disappointing at best. This will be my last MBZ vehicle."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Fred on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I own a 2008 e350 with 51000 miles. Took it in for service last week. Dealer tells me the SUSPENSION has dropped and caused a great deal of safety concern for my family, not to mention this ruined my tires. They would put SHIMs and prop up the suspension, I had never heard of such thing. I have great concern about this and I was only told the cause is GRAVITY.... I will sell this car and never buy another BENZ, so I wont have to worry about a DROPPED SUSPENSION. BTW Benz customer service did not meet expectations."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By tonyw on Sunday, January 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, quality and fuel economy"
Cons: "no blind side monitoring or heated steering wheel."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned BMW s, a Lincoln MKZ hybrid and Volvo s but not can match the overall quality comfort and fuel economy. MB service is also a big plus. It is nice to know that the service level is excellent. My next car will be another Benz"