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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class represents the most electronics-intensive model line Mercedes has offered to date, and most of the new computer-managed systems focus on safety.
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All E-Class models come with Mercedes' COMAND electronics interface, which combines a large display screen, a control knob and dash-mounted buttons. There's a bit of a learning curve involved, but it's generally neither better nor worse than similar systems from Audi or BMW.
To make the experience a bit less breezy back there, Mercedes has introduced a gizmo on the E-class called Aircap. This is a retractable spoiler that’s mounted on top of the windshield, intended to divert air over the passenger compartment.
Car and Driver
Enhancements to the business end of this newest W212 series station wagon include a now standard power tailgate, programmable to a maximum height for use in low-clearance garages (the cargo shade even rises automatically).
In addition to Aircap technology, the E-Cab offers a much-improved version of its Airscarf in-seat neck vents, seat warmers and a trick HVAC system that automatically compensates for whatever position the top is in.
Mercedes will most likely tout the new Mercedes E-Class' cutting-edge safety features in its marketing material, but the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class also boasts myriad high-tech comfort features.
Standard equipment includes cruise control, interior ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, a multi-function instrument panel display, rain-sensing wipers, and more.
Luxury and entertainment features abound in the 2011 E-Class. Luxury versions feature standard 17-inch wheels; COMAND infotainment and climate control; cruise control; sunroof; power doors, locks, and mirrors; and surprisingly, vinyl seats.
Sport versions get larger 18-inch wheels; unique gauges; and stylized exhaust outlets. Optional upgrades include voice-controlled navigation; Sirius and HD Radio; rearview camera; heated seats; numerous electronic safety assists; massaging seats; Bluetooth; an upgraded, 610-watt audio system; and much more.
The E63 AMG gets a range of upgraded materials and a high-performance design theme, plus AMG badges and performance-tuned stability and traction electronics.
Two premium packages, a driver assistance package, a sport package, and a wheel package divide up most of these options into convenient groups. Many options can be had a la carte, as well, though it may be tough for those with peculiar tastes to find the exact combo they're looking for on a dealer lot.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class can't be considered a bargain with a minimum $48,850 MSRP, but its features list certainly justifies the price.