Vehicle safety data is provided by IIHS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an independent, nonprofit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries on the nation's highways.
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The 2012 Mercedes' E-Class is offered in four body styles and a choice of engines. Rear- and all-wheel-drive versions are offered, as is a high-performance E63 AMG edition. Depending on the body style, the E-Class seats four to seven people. Competitors include the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Infiniti M.
For 2012, the E-Class gets several new engines, along with other tweaks, and there is a new E63 AMG wagon. The E350 coupe, Cabriolet, wagon and sedan receive a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. The E550 coupe, Cabriolet and 4Matic sedan get a new 402-hp, 4.6-liter V-8. Meanwhile, the E63 AMG sedan and wagon have a 518-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 with a stop/start fuel-saving feature; an optional Performance Package brings total output to 550 hp. Other changes include new 17-inch wheels for the E350 coupe and Cabriolet, new 19-inch rims for the E63 AMG, new steering wheels, and interior and exterior tweaks.
The E-Class' headlights have slotlike inboard bezels, while the outboard portions resemble those on the C-Class. Eyebrow-like fog lights sit in the three-piece lower air dam. In comparison, the taillights are much more reserved. The E350 has oval exhaust pipes, and the E550's are trapezoidal. Exterior features include standard 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. For 2012, coupes and Cabriolets get standard shift paddles, and the media interface has been moved to the center console across the model line. Mercedes' knob-based Comand interface includes primary controls at hip level, ahead of the center armrest, like the systems in the C-Class and flagship S-Class. The E-Class also features Mercedes' "mbrace" communication system that includes the ability to connect the car with a smartphone. Options include leather upholstery, massaging, bolster-adjustable seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic moonroof.
The E-Class' standard adaptive suspension alters shock-absorber settings to react to changing road conditions. A sport-tuned version with more dynamic settings is optional. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive models include Mercedes' Airmatic air suspension with driver-adjustable Comfort and Sport settings. There are four available engines: a 210-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6 (E350 Bluetec), a 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (E350), a 402-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 (E550), and finally a 518-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 (E63 AMG, 550 hp with optional Performance Package). A seven-speed automatic transmission comes on all models.
Additionally, the 2012 E-Class offers a long list of safety features. Besides antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system, the E-Class has nine standard airbags. Mercedes' Pre-Safe system is also standard; it cinches seat belts, repositions seats and attempts to close the windows and moonroof if it senses an imminent accident. Additional safety features include an Attention Assist system that measures steering behavior and other parameters to sense driver fatigue, as well as options like automatic high-beam headlights, blind spot and lane departure warning systems, and night vision system.
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