For 2006, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class gains four new models: an E350 Sedan and E350 4MATIC sedan, E350 4MATIC Wagon, and E55 AMG Wagon, in addition to the carryover E500 models.

Other changes include a seven-speed automatic transmission on rear-wheel-drive models; a five-speed automatic on all 4MATIC models, including the AMG Sedan and Wagon; a 17-inch, double five-spoke wheel is standard on the E320 CDI and E350; a 17-inch five-spoke design is start on E500 models; and active bi-Xenon headlamps with washers are standard on the AMG models. New options include a 17-inch, five-spoke wheel optional on E350 models equipped with the Appearance Sport Package, and optional bi-Xenon headlamps now have active lighting, which swivel to follow the movement of the front wheels.

The E-Class is available as a sedan or wagon. Sedan models are the E320 CDI, E350, E500 and E55 AMG; wagons are E350 and E500, both with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, and E55 AMG.

The E320 CDI uses a diesel-powered 3.2-litre inline six-cylinder with common-rail direct injection system. Features include ten-way power front seats with premium leather upholstery and heat function, leather-trimmed wheel, hand-polished burl walnut wood trim, power-adjustable steering column, four-zone automatic climate control for front and rear, ten-speaker audio system, power sunroof, and heated windshield washer system with rain-sensing wipers.

The E350 uses a 3.5-litre V6 with seven-speed automatic transmission, and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, auto-dimming rearview and driver’s side exterior mirrors, and integrated garage door opener. The 4MATIC includes all-wheel-drive and a five-speed automatic transmission. The wagon version includes a folding rear seat and aluminum roof rails.

E500 models use a 5.0-litre V8; rear-wheel-drive models use a seven-speed automatic transmission with Touch Shift, while 4MATIC models get a five-speed. Other features include Airmatic dual-control semi-active air suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, premium leather upholstery and four-zone climate control.

The E55 AMG models carry a supercharged 5.5-litre V8 with a five-speed automatic transmission that features AMG SpeedShift and fingertip shift controls, along with 18-inch AMG wheels, AMG-design lower bodywork and Nappa leather interior, black birds-eye maple wood trim, and heated multicontour sport front seats.

Long considered the “typical” Mercedes, the E-Class accounts for one-quarter of all of the company’s sales. It’s understandable, given the model’s roomy interior, classic styling, excellent performance and buttery-smooth ride. The AMG takes all of that and adds a wagon that’ll really haul the groceries home before the ice cream melts.

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