Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC wagon  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 350 wagon. Click image to enlarge

More Mercedes-Benz E 350 reviews on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Mercedes-Benz Canada

Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon

Overall, describing a station wagon in North America is a bit like paraphrasing the late Rodney Dangerfield: they don’t get a lot of respect. Drivers are far more likely to want their liftgates attached to SUVs rather than to cars. Those who do prefer the cargo capacity of a wagon have very few choices, but one of the nicest is my tester, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It’s a member of a crowded Mercedes “E-Family” that also includes a sedan, coupe and convertible.

A V8-powered E63 AMG wagon joins the line-up for 2012 – talk about getting the ice cream home before it melts – but my tester was the E350 4MATIC, which receives a new direct-injection 3.5-litre V6 to replace the previous 3.5-litre V6 it carried. This means a boost to 302 horsepower from the previous 268 horses, and an increase to 273 lb.-ft. of torque from 258 lb.-ft. The super-smooth seven-speed transmission carries over but with some tweaks to improve the mileage. It also includes paddle shifters on the steering wheel for manual mode.

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC wagon  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 350 wagon. Click image to enlarge

My vehicle had no options added to it, and so the $70,400 starting price was the full tag on my car, at least before the various governments add their tax. As it should be for the price, there is a long list of standard features and I didn’t feel wanting for anything. When you’ve got a heated steering wheel on a frosty morning, all is right with the world.

Despite the increase in power, fuel economy improves, and the 2012 model is rated for 11.2 L/100 km (25 mpg Imp) in the city and 7.3 (39) on the highway, down from 12.8/8.6 for the 2011 model. I spent more time than usual on cold city streets rather than the highway and couldn’t get anywhere near that, racking up 13.7 (21) for the week on premium fuel.

The E-Class can be ordered with a 3.0-litre diesel engine – and what a sweetie it is – but only in the sedan. I would have pegged it to be a natural for the wagon, but I’m guessing that since the wagon is already a low-volume seller, adding another engine choice on top of the coming AMG version would have split it too far. Do that and you risk customers having to order cars and wait for them to be built, or dealers with unsold models on the back of the lot.

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E350 4MATIC wagon  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 350 wagon. Click image to enlarge

You won’t want to wait to get your hands on this wagon. Yes, it’s expensive, but if you’re in that snack bracket, ask yourself if you really want an SUV when you can have this.

The E350 has a “sport” mode – which you can switch in from the “economy” mode, a setting the company used to call “comfort” – but it’s not really sporty. That’s not a complaint. Instead, this wagon’s reason for being is to make cream feel harsh. If everyone drove one of these, we could eliminate road rage, since it’s hard to get upset with the world when you feel this coddled. The throttle builds up linear power that can be deceiving; although it’s not quick from a stop, it doesn’t take long before you look down at the elegantly plain gauges and realize just how fast you’re going.

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