KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/11/2011
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's New for 2012
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.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable Optional Equipment
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.
Under the Hood
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)
For 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class models start with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $50,000 for the two-door E350 Coupe. The V8-equipped E550 Coupe starts at about $56,600. The Mercedes-Benz E350 Sedan begins at about $50,500, with 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD) adding $2,500 to that. The 2012 E350 BlueTEC diesel starts at around $52,000. The E550 Sedan starts just under $60,000, and comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD). The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon begins at just over $57,000. The E350 Cabriolet convertible starts at about $57,720, while the E550 Cabriolet begins around $64,800. The power-hungry will find the E63 AMG-tuned four-door Sedan starting around $88,900, while the wagon variant begins at $91,500. Options and packages can add tens of thousands to the price of any 2012 E-Class. Resale values hold equal to or better than competitors like Audi's A6 and the Cadillac STS, but may fall behind the BMW 5 Series or Infiniti M. As always, be sure to check out kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price, to see what others in your area paying for the 2012 E-Class models.