Mercedes-Benz has laid bare the key changes to its 2012 lineup, and the big news is engines, engines, direct injection, and engines. We’ve already had a spin in the freshened 2012 C-class, and over the next few months the 2012 E-class and S-class benefit from a similarly comprehensive powertrain overhaul.
The E350 coupe, cabriolet, sedan, and wagon receive Mercedes’s 3.5-liter, direct-injection V-6, which produces 302 hp and 273 lb-ft. (That same engine is also launching this summer in the 2012 C350.) It replaces an unrelated 3.5-liter V-6, which made do with older-style port fuel injection, and produced 268 hp and 258 lb-ft. Higher up the range, the E550's 382-hp, 391-lb-ft V-8 is history. It’s replaced with Benz’s twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 4.7-liter V-8. When dropped into the E-class sedan, coupe, and cabrio, it produces 402 hp and 443 lb-ft—that’s down from the 429 hp and 515 lb-ft it makes in the CL-class coupe and soon-to-launch 2012 S-class sedan. While the E550 coupe and cabrio route power to the rear wheels only, the E550 sedan is now sold exclusively with 4Matic all-wheel drive.
For E-class shoppers demanding four doors, a V-8, and rear-wheel drive, there’s always the bone-crunching E63 AMG. As we already knew, the 2012 E63 moves from the naturally-aspirated 6.3-liter V8 to AMG’s new favorite son, a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8. (It’s either already available in, or will soon be sold in, the CL63, S63, and CLS63.) In this application, it makes 516 hp and 518 lb-ft. Most exciting for enthusiasts with a penchant for blowing enormous sums of money is that after a two-year hiatus, the E63 AMG wagon is back as a special-order model. We can’t think of a vehicle better suited for European delivery.
Freshened 2012-model-year Benzes will begin arriving in dealerships in June, with some waiting to land until October.