/strong>Mercedes-Benz has announced that around 550,000 of this generation E-Class have been sold worldwide since its introduction in March 2009. Considering it was introduced during a time when many customers were holding onto their pennies, the current E-Class has been a sales success for the automaker.
So what’s contributing to the current W212 series E-Class’ sales numbers? For starters, it’s a much-improved product over its W211 predecessor. The W211 debuted in 2002 with a rocky start marred by quality issues and was perceived as a poor product coming out of the controversial DaimlerChrysler merger. A few years after its breakup with Chrysler, Mercedes promised that the new W212 series E-class would showcase the automaker’s return to its roots of building solid, high-quality, German-engineered vehicles; just like the W124 E-Class of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which was also the first mid-sized Mercedes to have a V-8 stuffed under the hood, with the introduction of the 500E, nicknamed the “Hammer” by Mercedes enthusiasts. Ironically, Mercedes turned to Porsche to help tune and produce the Hammer, and its short, three-year production run (1992 to 1995) also included limited edition E60 AMG model.
In two years, the current E-Class has already reached nearly a third of the total sales of the previous generation — 1.6 million customers bought the W211 during its seven-year run from 2002 to 2009.
Also helping to pad the sales figures are the additions of the coupe and convertible back to the E-Class family, which replaced the previous offered CLK-Class. Taking away coupe and convertible sales, the total drops to 440,000 units with 376,000 going to sedans and 64,000 going to wagons. Overall, E-Class sales are up 13 percent year-to-date compare to the same period last year; the convertible made the biggest gain and is up 229 percent compared to 2010 (it was introduced in March 2010).
And to make sure its sales continue on an upward trend, Mercedes is improving and tweaking the powertrains across the board. The E350 will get the new direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, up from 268 hp and 258 lb-ft. The E550 will get a new turbocharged V-8 rated 402 hp and 443 lb-ft compared to 382 and 391 lb-ft from the outgoing naturally aspirated V8. The E63 receives AMG’s new 5.5-liter turbocharged V-8, rated at 518 hp and 516 lb-ft (or 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the AMG Performance Package). The 2012 E-Class family should arrive in U.S. showrooms this fall, joined by the E63 wagon that should get a warm welcome (especially from us) following its two-year hiatus from our shores.