Packed with innovative safety technology, the 2012 E-Class sedan line is comprised of the V6-powered E350, E350 4MATIC, and E350 BlueTEC turbodiesel, and the V8-powered E550 4MATIC and E63 AMG. The E-Class wagon line features the E350 4MATIC and the new E63 AMG wagon. The E350, E550 and E63 AMG are all powered by new engines with direct-injection and multi-spark ignition that produce more power, yet get better fuel economy as well. The E-Class sedan and wagon model line also feature new, more fuel efficient 7-speed automatic transmissions, new steering wheels, a color instrument cluster display and standard LED daytime running lights.
The 2012 model year marks the return of the E63 AMG wagon to the U.S. market, featuring a standard panorama roof and rearview camera. Like the popular, high-performance E63 AMG sedan, the wagon features a new hand-built 5.5-liter direct-injection AMG V8 engine which generates 518hp and 516 lb-ft of torque as well as the award-winning AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7- speed Multiclutch Transmission (MCT).
With 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the 3.5-liter V6 engine has 13 percent more power than last year. Based on an entirely new block with 60-degree cylinder angles, the latest V6 doesn't need a balance shaft for smooth operation. Like the engine that preceded it, the engine has aluminum cylinder heads, pistons and cylinder block (with cast-in Silitec cylinders), as well as a special forged steel crankshaft, connecting roads and valves.
Based on its highly successful 5.5-liter predecessor, the new 4.6-liter V8 engine has a smaller displacement but generates 402 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque - more than the engine it replaces. Its smaller displacement is more than offset by the power boost of its twin turbochargers - one for each bank of cylinders. Piston crowns are four millimeters thicker to handle the higher combustion pressures, while shorter connecting rods allow existing block dimensions to be retained.
The new E63 AMG sedan and wagon are fitted with a 5.5-liter version of the new Mercedes- Benz biturbo V8 that produces more power while also delivering better fuel economy. Replacing AMG's normally aspirated 6.3-liter V8, the smaller engine features twin turbochargers, direct fuel injection, and multi-spark ignition. Compared to the new 4.6-liter biturbo, the E63 AMG powerplant makes use of more displacement (a larger cylinder bore and longer crankshaft stroke), higher turbocharger boost, and slightly lower compression.
In comparison to the previous AMG engine, reduced displacement is more than offset by the power boost of its twin turbochargers - one for each bank of cylinders. Identified inside the company as the M157, the new AMG twin-turbo V8 produces 518 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. With the optional AMG Performance Package, these figures increase to 550 hp and 590 lb.-ft.
Even with its 518-horsepower V8, the E63 AMG is highly fuel-efficient, thanks in part to an innovative ECO stop-start system. Whenever the AMG model has its transmission in 'Controlled Efficiency Mode' and comes to a stop in "D" or "N" with the brake pedal depressed, the engine is automatically turned off to save fuel. As soon as the driver touches the accelerator pedal, the engine computer decides which piston is in the best position for first ignition, and the direct fuel injection and multi-spark systems work with a starter motor to re-start the engine almost instantly.
All three new engines make use of industry-leading electronics technology first used on Mercedes-Benz diesels - electronic fuel injectors that spray gasoline directly into the combustion chambers rather than indirect port fuel injection most gasoline engines used in the past. Featuring a piezo-ceramic crystalline element that changes shape instantly when electrical current is applied, blazingly fast piezo injectors make it possible to design very sensitive and precise injection systems, including the ability to program several small injections with each piston stroke.
The E350 4MATIC wagon's five-seat configuration can easily expand to seven seats by unfolding a standard third-row rear facing seat from the luggage compartment floor. Utilizing coil spring suspension up front and electronically controlled air springs at the rear, its load-leveling air suspension keeps the car level regardless of the cargo weight.
Smart-looking aluminum roof rails are standard, and inside, a 60-40 fold-down rear seat makes for cavernous cargo capacity that's highly flexible. For example, the E-Class wagon can carry a grandfather clock and still accommodate three occupants, or a load of lumber can be carried with four people aboard.
An elegant luggage cover and cargo net are attached at the beltline so they don't interfere with the fold-down rear seat. At the same time, the cover can be attached to the folded seatbacks if needed, and it can be raised conveniently whenever the standard power liftgate is opened.
The 2012 E350 and E550 models feature a new 7-speed automatic transmission with a more advanced torque converter lock-up clutch that provides even better fuel mileage, more responsive driving, quieter operation and increased durability.
The new transmission is also designed to work best with a new type of low-viscosity ATF transmission fluid - colored blue instead of the usual red. Together with new planetary gears, bearings and internal seals, the "FE-ATF" fluid provides less friction and improved fuel mileage. Lower hydraulic pressure and enhanced electronic software helps provide even smoother shifting.
The high-performance E63 AMG wagon and sedan also feature a cutting-edge AMG transmission. With a start-up clutch that replaces the torque converter, the new seven-speed MCT sports transmission provides the direct feedback of a manual transmission with the total convenience of an automatic, offering impressive versatility and even faster shift times. Thanks to its low rotational mass, the start-up clutch helps the transmission respond instantaneously and dynamically, with no slip.
With four shift modes and an automatic rev-matching function, the MCT transmission offers impressive versatility and even faster shift times. The transmission also includes a Race Start feature, which helps maintain full-throttle acceleration and optimal traction during motorsports competition.
The E350 BlueTEC is powered by a purpose-built 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 210 horsepower, an astonishing 400 lb.-ft. of torque and 30 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine. Using several technologies to minimize diesel exhaust emissions, the E350 BlueTEC begins with a four-valve-per-cylinder diesel featuring centrally located piezo-electric injectors, CDI direct injection, a variable-nozzle turbocharger and exhaust gas recirculation.
Building on this foundation of advanced engine design, the E350 BlueTEC incorporates several modular after-treatment units in the exhaust stream - an oxidizing catalytic converter, a maintenance-free particulate filter, an SCR converter and an NOx storage converter. In the "denox" storage converter, nitrogen oxides are absorbed temporarily, and during brief regeneration pulses of a richer fuel-air mixture, the nitrogen oxides are released, reacting with other exhaust gas to form harmless nitrogen. These regeneration pulses also raise temperatures in the particulate filter, which automatically burns off the deposits.
A standard COMAND system features a large seven-inch color display screen with a standard in-dash, six-disc CD/DVD changer and a Bluetooth interface that allows a phone still in a pocket or purse to be operated through the car's audio system. The COMAND system can also display maps and directions for the optional GPS navigation system, which can be set up to display Sirius real-time traffic information and Zagat restaurant ratings. The system can also be equipped with an optional iPod/MP3 interface, Sirius satellite radio, HD radio, and an advanced voice control system for audio, navigation and phone systems. Using a consolemounted controller, the central display can be operated by either the driver or front passenger.
Among the many standard life-saving features on the E-Class lineup is the innovative ATTENTION ASSIST system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S. A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving.
Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon appears in the instrument cluster.
Other examples of trailblazing innovations include: Active Lane Keeping Assist, which alerts the driver by simulating rumble strip vibration in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on. Part of the optional DISTRONIC PLUS system, it operates at speeds above 37 mph via a system that recognizes lane markings, thanks to a small camera in the windshield and a computer that analyzes the video images. DISTRONIC PLUS works in part with the Electronic Stability Program which can sense impending loss of control. The system works in a split second by braking individual wheels and/or reducing excess engine power, something that even the most skilled driver cannot do.
Active Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots behind and to the side of the vehicle is also part of DISTRONIC PLUS. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, the driver gets visual and audible warnings. Both Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist incorporate an intervention feature, in which ESP braking automatically helps correct the car's course if the driver doesn't heed the initial warning.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist uses a small video camera to sense both headlights and taillights, then softly and automatically transitions between high and low beam operation to avoid dazzling other drivers. With this system, the range of the headlights can be varied infinitely from their current 220 feet to up to 1,000 feet.
Night View Assist PLUS can now allow a driver to see pedestrians up to 300 feet earlier than before. When the system recognizes pedestrians, they appear in the display with an outlined frame highlighting each person.
In contrast to passive systems that rely on thermal imaging, this active system bathes the road ahead with invisible infra-red light from two beams mounted in the headlights. Extending the driver's ability to see ahead to nearly 500 feet, Night View Assist PLUS uses an infra-red camera in the windshield and displays the reflected images as highly detailed black & white video images in the instrument cluster.
When the E-Class is equipped with optional DISTRONIC PLUS, another revolutionary Mercedes-Benz safety feature - PRE-SAFE® brake - can now apply full braking automatically in emergencies, to reduce accident severity. When PRE-SAFE Brake senses an impending collision, the system sounds three warning tones.
About 1.6 seconds before impact is likely, partial braking is automatically initiated, and the PRE-SAFE occupant protection system are activated. If the driver still fails to react, fullpower braking is initiated about 0.6 seconds before the collision, reducing the impact and effectively acting as an "electronic crumple zone."
All E-Class models are equipped with standard PRE-SAFE - the world's first system that can sense and take protective measures before a crash. The innovative PRE-SAFE system first automatically tensions the seatbelts if the car senses an impending collision. PRE-SAFE uses resettable electric tensioners in addition to the existing pyrotechnic belt tensioners.
In addition, if the front passenger seat is overly reclined or forward, PRE-SAFE automatically moves it to a more favorable crash position. If the seat cushion angle of the front passenger seat is too shallow, it is also re-adjusted to help prevent submarining. If the vehicle skids (often a precursor to rollover), the system closes the sunroof and side windows. If a crash is averted, the electric belt tensioners automatically relax and are ready to deploy again.
If necessary, PRE-SAFE reacts to fishtailing (or oversteer) as well as "plowing" (or understeer) by using existing sensors for ESC stability control to measure steering angle, vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration. Emergency braking can also trigger PRE-SAFE, which monitors sensors for the Brake Assist system as well.
The 2012 E-Class is equipped with front, side, pelvic and curtain air bags to provide extra protection for front passengers in dangerous side-impact collisions. With a knee air bag for the driver to minimize leg injuries in frontal collisions, the E-Class boasts nine supplemental restraints, and rear side air bags are optionally available.
Standard on the E350 wagon and E550 sedan and optional on E350 sedan, the latest Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC system is cleanly integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission so it fits right into the standard body and utilizes the existing front suspension. A number of innovative measures minimize the energy needed to turn the extra gears and shafts to help improve overall fuel economy. As modern all-wheel-drive systems become more refined, they are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the luxury car market. With negligible weight and fuel-efficiency tradeoffs, full-time four-wheel drive provides yearround traction and stability benefits on both wet and dry roads.
Both sedan and wagon versions of the E350 are available in Sport or Luxury trim that is designed to appeal to a wide range of customer tastes. The Luxury version has a comfort suspension and can be identified by a four-lamella front grille and a four-spoke steering wheel. The Sport version comes with LED daytime running lights, a three-lamella grille and a three-spoke wheel as well as a sport suspension with a slightly lower ride height.