Initially unveiled for the first time back in 1977 as the W123, the Mercedes E-Class took its name from the word "Einspritzmotor", which means ’fuel injection engine’ in German. Eventually, the letter morphed into being officially designated as the E-Class - or E-Klasse - to describe Mercedes’ line of mid-size executive vehicles.
Over the course of its life, the E-Class has had many different iterations with the latest facelift coming in 1999 and the introduction of the latest model, the W212. Introduced for the first time at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 2009 E-Class’ design was inspired by the new design language Mercedes adopted at that time for the C-Class, S-Class, and CLS-Class.
With the purpose of competing in a luxury executive market that features competitors in the form of the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has become one of the staple vehicles amongst high-ranking executives and business people the world over.
Details on the 2009-2011 Mercedes E-Class after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
When Mercedes released the 2009 E-Class, it did so while paying close attention to making the car look more aggressive than its predecessors. Among the changes done to make the E-Class look sportier include taking design cues from a number of existing models, including the CLS-Class and the S-Class. The rising character line of the 2009 E-Class was inspired by the S-Class, as were the wheel-arch extensions, the door handles, and the enormous bumpers. Meanwhile, the CLS-Class inspiration comes in the form of the re-shaped headlights: from the round design of the past model to an edgier squarish teardrop design. Other changes done on the 2009 model are a wider-framed grille, new nasal air intakes, and an overall wedge-shaped profile.
As for the interior of the 2009 E-Class, Mercedes gave it a subtle facelift, one that features a more spacious cockpit with height adjustable bucket front seats, remote power door locks, power mirrors, heated mirrors, 4 one-touch power windows, and remote window operation. There are also wood trims on the doors, dashboard, and center console, front and rear reading lights, a leather steering wheel, an electrochromatic inside rearview mirror, and front and rear floor mats. The entertainment aspect will comes from the plethora of electronically-enhanced goodies like an AM/FM in-dash 6 CD/DVD,CD-controller with CD MP3 Playback stereo, Harman/kardon audio system a TeleAid telecommunications service, and Bluetooth wireless data link for hands-free phone capabilities.
For the 2010 model, Mercedes decided to incorporate a host of major changes on the E-Class while also retaining some items that have inspired the line to be called the "heart" of Mercedes. The 2010 model was built to be superior and more imposing than the 2009 model and it achieves this through a vibrant and more striking appearance featuring a three-dimensionally shaped chrome frame, a new radiator grille that exudes its presence by virtue of its dynamic V-shape, and new, progressively slanted headlamps that were inspired by cubism and its beguiling geometric forms. The 2010 model’s bumper also blends in perfectly into the car’s body as do the spoiler edges in the lower area and the corresponding air intakes that go with it. The roof of the 2010 E-Class angles in such a way that it sweeps seamlessly into the wings then rises smoothly to give off the visual of aggression borne from a characteristic of forward motion. Going with this is a newly-designed rear wing, one that pays homage to the famous "Ponton" Mercedes. The new-old design gives the E-Class a physical and muscular presence and is defined by a distinctive contour, one that unequivocally shows the model’s ability to infuse old-standing tradition with state-of-the-art design.
As for the interior of the 2010 E-Class, Mercedes designers made sure to have the inside of the car strike its own luxurious presence with the addition of a choice between fine-wood or refined aluminum trim on the inside of the car. There are also hints of discrete yet effective lighting that features thin optical fibers located behind the trim elements on the dashboard and above the door center panels creating a harmonious band of light running around the inside of the car, ensuring that the feeling of high quality and interior space can be experienced at night as well as during the day. The 2010 E-Class also features 14-way power front seats with 4-way lumbar support, leather seat upholstery with a Drive-Dynamic multi-contour driver seat with massage, split-folding rear seats, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel, a dual-zone digital automatic climate control system, a panorama sunroof,an in-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Harman/kardon audio system, rear-seat entertainment system, and an HD Radio receiver.
The 2011 Mercedes E-Class is different for a number of reasons, chief among them being that the German automaker decided to complete the whole line-up by introducing the E-Class Cabriolet. While the overall make-up of the E-Class Cabriolet is similar to that of its 2010 brethren, the one major difference is that it’s got a soft top to go with a number of new technological features added to it. The 2011 E-Class Cabriolet’s soft top can be opened and closed fully automatically within 20 seconds – even when driving at speeds of up to 25 mph. The roof is then stowed in a special compartment just behind the rear panel with a retractable cover separating the soft top compartment from the trunk area. To close the soft top, the retractable cover must be closed too. When the roof is closed, the cover can be slid backwards, creating an increased trunk capacity by 3.17 cu. ft. to 13.8 cu. ft. Another new feature of the E-Class Cabriolet is the AIRCAP automatic draft-stop system that extends a wind deflector 2.4 inches above the to of the windscreen to go with a standard draft stop panel mounted behind the rear seats. Even if the car’s going 100 mph with the top down, this space allows for a turbulent-free zone inside the cabin. Apart from the AIRCAP system, the E-Class Cabriolet also comes with ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection, PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection, Adaptive Highbeam Assist and DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control.
Interior features include 14-way power heated front seats with 4-way lumbar support, leather sport front seats with integrated NECK-PRO active head restraints, and 4-place seating. Dual-zone digital automatic climate control, a premium leather multifunction 3-spoke steering wheel, and Burl Walnut wood trim is also available, as are an in-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Harman/kardon LOGIC7 audio system with Dolby Digital 5.1, HD Radio, an iPod/MP3 media interface, enhanced voice control, an ATTENTION ASSIST driver drowsiness monitor, COMAND with SIRIUS Real Time Traffic, and Bluetooth.
The 2009 E-Class was powered by four-cylinder engines with the horsepower rating beginning at 175 power. V6 and V8 engine variants were made available, with the output reaching all the way up to 514 horsepower for the top-of-the-line model. All these models were mated with a six-speed manual transmission while a seven-speed automatic transmission came as an optional feature. The performance numbers may vary, but the 2009 E-Class nevertheless came with an electronically limited speed of 155 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds.
As with the 2010 model, the E-Class came with a number of engine options, including a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a range-topping 6.2-liter V8 engine. Output numbers of the V6 version came at 268 horsepower at 6,000 and 258 lb/ft of torque at 2,400 rpm. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line 6.2-liter V8 variant came with an output of 518 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 465 lb/ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.
The 2011 E-Class Cabriolet comes in a choice of two engines, similar to what the 2010 model has. The first version is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 258 lb/ft of torque and a 5.5-liter V8 engine variant that produces 382 horsepower and 391 lb/ft of torque.
2009 Mercedes E-Class
$53,200 - $88,500
2010 Mercedes E-Class
$48,050 - $85,750
2011 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
Since it was refreshed in 2009, the Mercedes E-Class has had a number of competitors in the mid-size, luxury car segment most notably from the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6.
The 2011 BMW 5-Series takes its design cues from the 5-Series GT crossover and the 7-Series limousine, a refreshed look that exudes luxury and comfort, giving it a more elegant and streamlined appearance. Compared to the E-Class, though, we enjoyed Mercedes’ luxury car design more than the 5-Series, specifically the entire front fascia, which looks much better for the E-Class compared to the 5-Series.
Meanwhile, the Audi A6 is a luxury car that can give the E-Class a serious run for its money in terms of design. The A6’s whole body is defined by a long engine hood, short overhangs and the sweeping roofline with a high-gloss single-frame grille and headlights and taillights that come with LED technology. The rear lights form a visually continuous band in the form of a wide, U-shaped curve while the car’s rear is defined by a subtle spoiler edge and a matte black diffuser.\r
As far as powertrains are concerned, the BMW 5-Series comes with its own set of engine options that begin with the 520d that produces 184 horsepower, to the 535i,wthich is powered by the BMW TwinPower Turbo using High Precision Injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing, cranking out 306 horsepower. The top-of-the-line 550i is powered by an eight-cylinder, 407-horsepower engine.
As for the A6, the Audi luxury car comes with two gasoline engines and three TDI units. The entry level model is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.8 FSI engine that develops 204 horsepower. Then, there’s a 3.0-liter TFSI engine with 300 horsepower. Diesel options begin with a 2.0 TDI engine that comes with an output of 177 horsepower; there’s also a 3.0-liter TDI engine that comes in two output versions: one that produces 204 horsepower and another that develops 245 horsepower.
Powerful engine options
Mercedes engineering is top-quality
More aggressive design than the 5-Series
Plenty of competition
Not a lot changes for the 2011 model