in 2012 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $32,742 - $41,150
Original MSRP: $50,490 - $59,790
MPG: 20 City / 30 Hwy
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2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers like the updated V6 and V8 engines in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, noting that the improvements increase both power and fuel economy. The E-Class also garners praise for its composed, yet comfortable handling. It’s not sport-sedan sharp like the Audi A6 or BMW 5-Series, but test drivers appreciate its balanced driving dynamics and strong brakes.

  • "All but the power hungry will find the V6 model sufficient for everyday use." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "While overtaking slower traffic with the freshened E350 motor might be improved, doing the same with the twin-turbo V8 is giddy child's play." -- Autoblog 
  • "There's a nice balance of comfortable ride and good handling response, even in the standard models, which put a bit more emphasis on the ride." --  New Car Test Drive 

Acceleration and Power

Although it looks the same as the 2011 model, the 2012 E350 and E550 see some serious changes under the hood. Both models receive a power boost for 2012, and fuel economy has increased as well. The diesel-powered E350 Bluetec carries over basically unchanged. So far, reviewers are pleased with the new engines. They say the V6 should be sufficient for most drivers, while the more powerful V8 is quick enough to keep pace with most sports cars.

Regardless of which E-Class you choose, all sedans use a seven-speed automatic transmission. Power is routed to the rear wheels in the E350 and E350 Bluetec, while the E550 now comes with Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard equipment. E350 buyers can add all-wheel drive to gas models, but it’s not available on the diesel.

The E350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 horsepower, 34 more than the 2011 model, while the E350 Bluetec continues to carry its 210-horsepower turbocharged V6. The E550 does away with last year’s 5.5-liter V8 in favor of a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8 that generates 402 horsepower, 20 more than the outgoing E550.

The EPA reports that the 2012 E350 gets 20/30 mpg and 19/28 mpg city/highway with rear- and all-wheel drive, respectively. The diesel-powered E350 Bluetec gets 21/32 mpg city/highway, while the E550 4Matic returns 16/26 mpg city/highway.

While the V8 E550 offers ample power, reviewers say the E63 AMG offers even more impressive sport sedan performance.

  • "E350s have plenty of power but require large throttle inputs in order to extract the most performance." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "With the exception of the carryover E350 Bluetec and its V6 turbodiesel, every E-Class has received a new engine that's more powerful and more economical." -- Edmunds 
  • "Sweet mother of all that is holy, this 402-hp M278 twin-turbo 4.6-liter is a barrel of well-engineered monkeys." -- Autoblog (Mercedes-Benz E550) 

Handling and Braking

While the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class isn’t quite as nimble as rivals like the Audi A6, reviewers say it strikes a nice balance between agility and comfort. E350 and E350 BlueTEC sedans feature Mercedes’ Agility Control suspension, which automatically adjusts the suspension based on road conditions and driving style, while the E550 features an adjustable suspension with selectable Sport and Comfort modes.

  • "We notice some body lean in fast turns. Steering feel seems sloppy to some testers, even on versions equipped with the Sport Package. Braking is highly responsive, easy to modulate, and impeccably secure." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class strikes a brilliant balance between ride quality and handling ability. Within its segment, the E is by far the most adaptable, rewarding and confident car for the widest variety of surfaces and situations." -- Edmunds 
  • "The ride and noise isolation are sheer Mercedes, while the steering and handling we experienced on some nice curvy roads remain very pleasing stuff." -- Autoblog 
  • "All E-Class variants have a variable damping system that changes the rebound rate of the shock absorbers according to conditions. This allows a softer, quieter ride on smoother roads, but retains full shock damping through dips, or for spirited driving on twisting two-lanes." -- New Car Test Drive 

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