Here’s a sneak preview of the changes Mercedes-Benz has in store for its 2012 model-year lineup:
Newly standard amenities include HD radio, a USB interface for connecting portable devices, rain-sensing wipers, an integrated garage door opener and auto-dimming mirrors. The standard Attention Assist system signals when the driver appears to need a rest, based on steering input. Newly available features include Adaptive Highbeam Assist (to avoid blinding oncoming drivers at night), Lane Keeping Assist (to warn when the car is inadvertently crossing highway lane markers) and Blind Spot Assist (to alert a driver to the presence of vehicles in adjacent lanes).
A seven-speed automatic transmission and Airmatic air suspension are included across the line, and the CLS550 can now be fitted with all-wheel-drive. Safety technology includes 10 airbags, Attention Assist, and the optional Active Parking Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist systems.
The new SLK includes sun-reflecting leather upholstery, with available Airscarf neck-level heating vents built into the seats to help extend convertible season; the top can be fitted with an optional Magic Sky Control glass panel that can switch from light to dark transparency at the push of a button.
• E-Class: Mercedes’ midsize line of rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans, wagons, coupes, and convertibles gets a mid-cycle freshening this fall. A new range of engines will include a 302-horsepower V-6 and a 402-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 engine. The top E63 AMG models will pack a 518-horsepower 5.5-liter V-8 with start/stop technology. Most models will come with a new seven-speed automatic transmission. Other updates include standard daytime LED running lamps and a revised steering wheel, color instrument cluster display and audio system.
• R-Class: The all-wheel-drive R350 4MATIC version of this minivan-like crossover gets a new 302-horsepower direct-injected V6 engine and a more fuel-efficient seven-speed automatic transmission. Added standard equipment includes the latest version of Merecedes’ COMAND multimedia/navigation system with real-time traffic information and the Zagat Survey restaurant guide, satellite and HD Radio, the Gracenote media database and 4GB of onboard digital music storage.
• S-Class: Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is now available with the S350 BlueTEC “clean diesel” version of the automaker’s flagship sedan. The S550 gets a new 429-horsepower 4.6-liter direct-injected engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission; it’s likewise available with 4MATIC.
Expect only minor changes to the CL-Class, G-Class, GLK-Class, SL-Class and Sprinter models.
- automatic transmission