Other Mercedes-Benz models -- including the SLK roadsters, for instance -- are starting to receive new engines with direct-fuel injection, so it's not all that surprising to learn the 2012 E-Class -- specifically, the 2012 E350 and E550 models -- see similar revisions for the new year. That's good news for buyers, as it means their E has more power yet consumes less fuel.
Benz formally announced today that the 2012 E350 will be fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with what it calls BlueDirect -- which, as far as we can tell, is Daimler-speak for direct fuel injection. Mercedes first unveiled this new engine in the 2012 SLK350 roadster and is rated at 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, compared to 268 hp/258 lb-ft from the current E350.
The E550 continues to pack eight cylinders underhood, but the 2012 model receives Benz's new 4.6-liter twin-turbo direct-injection V8 engine, which produces 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, as fitted in the E-Class. The current naturally-aspirated engine is rated at 382 hp / 391 lb-ft. Respectable figures, although the form used in the CL550 and S550 yields 429 hp.
If the advent of direct injection weren't enough, 2012 E-Classes may sip less fuel thanks in part to an updated seven-speed automatic transmission with a new torque converter that has reduced slip. European-spec models also receive a start/stop system that kills the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. According to M-B, the DI, revised transmission, and start/stop functions combined can improve fuel economy by 17-20 percent.
Interested? You'll have to wait just a little longer, since Mercedes-Benz USA representatives tell us the car won't arrive in the U.S. until this fall. Expect finalized price figures to be announced at that time.