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2014 Kia Soul, Clear White, 15 mi., $24,595
Review of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
IntroductionWith the launch of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the German automaker is continuing an unparalleled success story in the luxury class segment. The E-Class is the heart of the Mercedes-Benz brand and has always been known for safety, comfort, environmental capability, design, quality, and individuality. With more than 20 additional technical developments, the 2012 E-Class includes trailblazing innovations for safe driving like the standard Attention Assist, Adaptive Main Beam Assist, and automatic emergency braking system which is activated when there is acute danger of a collision. The E-Class adds a convertible to the lineup and includes a wagon body style and optional diesel-fueled V6 engine. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes in sedan, wagon, convertible (Cabriolet) and coupe body styles. The sedan is available in E350, E350 Bluetec, E550 and E63 AMG variants, with the numbers and descriptors indicating different engine choices. The E-Class coupe and convertible come in E350 and E550 trim levels only, while the E-Class wagon is offered in the E350 trim.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesThe main features of the new Cabriolet models include 17-inch split 5-spoke light-alloy wheels, wrap-around LED tail lamps, chrome exhaust tips, 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel wrapped in supple premium leather, 14-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar support, leather sport front seats with integrated NECK-PRO active head restraints, in-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer, an automatic virtual wind blocker called AIRCAP and dual-zone digital automatic climate control. The new wagon model is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, optional power lift gate, a bold 3-bar grille, premium leather steering wheel, dual-zone digital automatic climate control and 14-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar support.
EngineAll 2012 Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan, wagon, convertible and coupe models derive power from a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The E350 Bluetec sedan is powered by a turbo diesel 3.0-liter V6 engine pumping out 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. The E550s are motivated by a 5.5-liter V8 rated at 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. The seven-speed auto is again standard. Both E350 and E550 sedans are available with either rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive. The E350 wagon is offered solely with the all-wheel-drive. All E-Class coupes and convertibles are available only with rear-wheel drive. The E63 AMG has a 6.3-liter V8 good for 518 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque and is mated to sport-tuned seven-speed automatic with a paddle-shift manual mode.
SafetyThe safety features include PRE-SAFE system, Attention Assist which monitors driver's drowsiness with 70 different parameters and automatically gives audible and visual warnings if it detects signs of drowsiness, integrated restraint system and ISOFIX / Universal LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).