Mercedes-Benz updates its engine for the U.S. market

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 12, 2011

Mercedes-Benz doesn’t rely on its excellent reputation; it actually does work to enhance its models year after year. It aims to present a new generation of powerplants that provide improved performance and are more efficient. For the 2012 model year, Mercedes-Benz will give the U.S. market an entry-level powerplant in the form of a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 302 hp (up 38 hp) and 273 lb-ft of torque.

It will be featured on vehicles from the E-Class and up. Meanwhile, the V8-powered E550 will drop its 5.5-liter naturally aspirated mill with a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter unit that delivers 402 hp and a peak torque of 443 lb-ft. These numbers represent an increase of 20 hp and 52-lb-ft. These two units use a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz applied the same principle on its E63 AMG. It dropped its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 and will instead use the new twin-turbo direct-injection 5.5-liter V8 that has an output of 518 hp and 516 lb-ft (standing for an improvement of 1 hp and 51 lb-ft).

Getting the AMG Performance Package provides 550 hp and 590 lb-ft. The S-Class will get the twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8, which will deliver 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Some of the revamped models are already on sale but the E-Class saloon and estate are expected to arrive this fall, while the S-Klasse will come slightly earlier in July.

The E-Class from Mercedes-Benz has long been known for its signature twin-headlight face. However, for the new generation E-Class, the design started by giving this feature a cubist treatment. This means that the two parallelogram lights have been lower in each of its front fender and thus is able to bracket the front grille’s 3D chrome frame.

The two models show that they are both slightly larger when compared to the previous model. The coupe version for example is wider by 1.8 inches and longer by 1.9 inches. Meanwhile the sedan is longer by 5/8 of an inch and wider by as much as 1 and ¼ inches. Even then, the overall shape of the body continues to have convex and concave surfaces that are defined by the clear and tight lines.

There is also the graceful line that is able to follow each of the wheel wells in the rear and thus helps shape the muscular contours of its rear fenders. Even as the car has a futuristic look, enthusiasts are sure to recognize the different styling cues inspired by the 1950s Ponton Mercedes. When it came to the interior, designers at Mercedes-Benz made sure to give it extra attention in order for every surface to be both emotional and functional as its relates to color, form, and material used. For the sedan version, the cockpit has five analog gauges with two outer pairs that overlap one another. Standard equipment in this new generation includes the four-spoke steering wheel that has been covered in premium leather and has been integrated with multi-function switches. There is also the electronic Direct Select shift lever that has been mounted to its steering column.

Meanwhile the coupe has the three-spoke steering wheel and the shift lever with the TouchShift that is mounted on the console. A standard feature as well is the COMAND system that comes with a color display 7-inch screen with the usual in-dash and six-disc CD/DVD changer. With a controller mounted on the console, the central display is placed in the dashboard and can be controlled by the driver of the passenger in the front. This system can even be equipped with satellite radio, iPod/MP3 interface, GPS navigation, and other optional useful features. For the new E-Class sedan, Mercedes-Benz is offering the Luxury and Sport trim with the aim of attracting a wide array of customers.

Luxury models will have a comfort suspension available. The Sport models on the other hand are equipped with sport suspensions, meaning the springs and shocks are stiffer and ride height is a bit lower. The E-Class coupe meanwhile has an Appearance package that has various features that any sport-minded driver is sure to like. These include the gearshift paddles in black, aluminum pedals with the rubber studs, perforated brake discs and the painted calipers, and alloy AMG 18-inch wheels. Also offered are the multi-contour seats. Moving the Sport concept even further, all of the E550 coupes will have the sport three-spoke steering wheel and mounted to which are the shift paddles. There is also the body style which has a deeper air dam on the front, rear apron, and side skirts. The E550 will also have the perforated brake discs with the painted calipers.

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