2005 Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI
2005 Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI; photo by John LeBlanc. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase

In the summertime, there’s a guy up the street from me who regularly drives past my house in a late 1960s or early ’70s Mercedes-Benz 230. It’s a gorgeous car, and looks to be in mint condition. That 230 model (W114 series, 1968-1976) is one of many Mercedes models that can be found in the E-Class family tree, Mercedes’ mid-sized cars.

Interestingly, the “E” designation didn’t appear on a Benz car until the first fuel-injected models arrived in the late 1960s (the German term for fuel injection is einspritzung, according to Wikipedia’s entry on the E-Class), but wasn’t used consistently in its current form – E 320, for example, as opposed to 220E – until the 1990s.

If you follow the E-Class’ lineage, the model introduced in 2002 as a 2003 model is the seventh-generation of the car, and is also known by its W211 codename. The W211 began its life in 2003 in two forms: the V6-powered E 320, and as the E 500, with a 5.0-litre V8. The six was good for 221 horsepower/232 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 made 302 hp/339 lb-ft.

For 2004, the AMG-tuned E55 was added; its supercharged 5.5-litre V8 produced 469 hp/516 lb-ft. This model year also introduced the station wagon version of the W211, offered in E 320 and E 500 forms, and only with M-B’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.

In 2005, Benz added a diesel engine to the line-up, this one a 3.2-litre in-line six producing 201 hp/369 lb-ft; this model was known as the E 320 CDI.

2007 Mercedes-Benz E280 4Matic
2007 Mercedes-Benz E280 4Matic; photo by Haney Louka. Click image to enlarge

For 2006, the 3.2-litre gasoline V6 was replaced by a more-powerful 3.5-litre motor. It made 268 hp/258 lb-ft, and was used in the new E 350 model, in both sedan and wagon body styles. An E 55 wagon was added too, though this one was sold with rear-wheel drive only.

The 2007 model year brought a new base model to the E-Class line-up – the E 280 – powered by a 3.0-litre V6 making 228 hp/221 lb-ft. The old in-line six diesel was replaced by Benz’ cleaner BlueTec V6; this motor made 210 hp/388 lb-ft, while returning about the same fuel economy. At the same time, the wagon line-up was pared down to just one model, the E 350 4MATIC. Also, the E 500 became the E 550 thanks to a larger motor making 382 hp/391 lb-ft, and the E 55 AMG became the E 62 AMG, getting a 6.2-litre V8 with 507 hp and 465 lb-ft.

In 2008, the E 280 was rebadged as the E 300 and got standard all-wheel drive.

2007 Mercedes-Benz E280 4Matic
2007 Mercedes-Benz E280 4Matic; photo by Haney Louka. Click image to enlarge

The transmission choice was limited to a five-speed automatic in 2003 models. In 2004, the E 500 got a seven-speed auto. The seven-speed was shared with the E 350 starting in 2006, and the E 63 got it as well in 2007.

The original W211s earned EnerGuide fuel consumption ratings of 12.2/8.1 L/100 km (city/highway) in E 320 form and 14.5/9.4 L/100 km as the E 500.

The 2005 diesel-powered E 320 CDI was rated at 8.9/5.9 L/100 km (city/highway), while the E 55’s numbers were 16.6/10.3, and 2006’s E 350 was rated at 12.3/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway).

The 2007 E 280 earned ratings of 13/9.1 L/100 km (city/highway); note that 2007 non-diesel, non-AMG models had standard all-wheel drive, hence the increase in fuel consumption over the 2006 E 350.

The E 63 was rated at 17.2/10.8 L/100 km, and the new BlueTec diesel at 9.0/5.9 (city/highway).

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