Design-wise, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E Class offers something for everyone--provided they go in with a luxury-car budget, and the desire to look the part every step of the way. With a total of 15 model variants, among four body styles, the E Class range can fit roles ranging from a performance touring coupe to a rather economical family wagon.
So it's all the more surprising that the automaker has managed to design an E Class family in which the same styling cues work--mostly--across all of these body styles.
The E Class still radiates Teutonic charm. In the front and rear details, the look is similar to other lines in Mercedes' range, including the S-Class and GLK, while two heavy side creases carve out a not-so-subtle upward swoosh. The current-generation E Class family, which was introduced a couple of model years ago, is a sharp contrast compared to the softer-edged, rounded E Classes of the past. Lots of chrome accents, flares, bulges, and creases catch the eye, though what's beautiful to some may be busy to others.
The sedan is the baseline for the E Class, with all the other models sharing its cues, wrapping them in different packages. The Coupe rounds off the rear roofline and shortens the wheelbase; the Wagon lengthens the tail and roof line; and the Cabriolet mimics the Coupe's proportions, but swaps in a retractable soft top.
The high-performance E63 AMG is easy to pick out from a distance, thanks to its unique wheels and special lower-body aerodynamic treatment (plus an upgraded interior). It was previously only available in Sedan form, but for the 2012 model year it's also offered as a Wagon.
Compared to the previous generation of the E Class, the interior of the current car feels a little more conservative, yet also modernist and less curvaceous than some of the automaker's other efforts. Sharp corners and well-pressed creases inside give the Mercedes-Benz E-Class a more traditionally luxurious look that meshes well with the new exterior. About the only thing that isn't so welcoming is the sea of matte-plastic buttons for audio and climate controls--in addition to the COMAND interface that covers infotainment.
All models include wood, metal, and refined plastic trims, which you can further dress up through a long list of customization options.