The Mercedes-Benz E-Class line has been an automotive Atlas for the German-based manufacturer, helping to shoulder the success of Mercedes for more than 50 years. The E-Class lineup in 2011 includes four models: sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon. The rear-wheel-drive E-Class Cabriolet (convertible) is a new addition, sporting an all-weather soft top and seating for four. The E-Class Coupe has the distinction of being the most aerodynamic production car ever marketed, according to the automaker, with the lowest drag coefficient on record.
Manufactured in Germany, the Mercedes-Benz E350 wagon, sedan, coupe, and convertible feature standard 3.5 liter V-6 engines with 268 horsepower and 7-speed automatic transmissions. While the coupe and the convertible are available solely with rear wheel drive, the wagon is equipped with full-time all-wheel-drive, and the sedan has optional all-wheel-drive. All E-Class models with the standard 3.5L engine get about 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the open road.
Mercedes-Benz has been producing its E-series, named for Einspritzmotor, which signifies fuel injection engine, for over half a century. However, the E-series appellation was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1994. The sedan has traditionally carried the annual selection of E models and has earned international renown as a durable and reliable vehicle, as evidenced by its common usage by taxi companies throughout Europe. The darling of the 2011 E-Class is the Cabriolet, a less stuffy but eminently road-worthy sports model that has received excellent reviews for responsiveness due to its Dynamic Handling suspension system.
E-Class interiors begin with standard E350 features. The enduring luxury which is a hallmark of Mercedes makes travel a pleasure. Digital dual climate controls keep both driver and passenger comfortable. Burl walnut trim, leather upholstery, a surround sound system, and high-tech navigation all contribute to the opulence of the E-Class vehicles. The sedan and wagon are extra-roomy inside, and the wagon has 57 cubic feet of cargo area plus a rear-oriented third seat in back. Interior upgrade options include seating with three-stage heating and 14-way adjustability with memory pre-sets.
Mercedes-Benz's 2011 E-Class lineup received top honors for safety from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with high marks in side, front, and rear roll-over crash testing. Such safety features as Attention Assist, which alerts drivers when they are becoming drowsy, and an increase in protective padding on front and back doors, which gives optimum protection during side collisions, earned E-Class models IIHS's praises. Other safety features, such as retracting roll bars for the Cabriolet and the Pre-Safe anticipatory injury protection keep Mercedes-Benz products at the forefront of auto safety. E-series autos also won the designation of most popular car of German manufacture, taking Germany's Unser Award for 2010.
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