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2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class ranks near the top of the luxury midsize car class. It has perfect safety and reliability ratings, one of the most luxurious interiors in the class, and several powerful engines.

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding reliability and safety ratings
  • Upscale cabin
  • Potent engine lineup
  • Difficult-to-use infotainment system
  • High ownership costs




Critics' Rating: 9.5
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Overview

Is the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class a Good Used Car?

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is an outstanding luxury midsize car. It has three brawny engines, and the twin-turbo V8 engine in E63 AMG models has exceptional torque, moving the car quickly from a stop. The E-Class’ cabin is full of first-rate materials, and the E350 sedan provides ample space for most adults in both rows of seats. The E-Class has high costs of ownership, but a car with this much luxury may well be worth the expense.

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Why You Can Trust Us

Our Mercedes-Benz E-Class review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 40 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

Our site has almost 350 listings for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, with an average list price of $19,100. Prices range from $13,800 to $28,300, depending on the vehicle’s mileage, condition, location, and features.

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How Much Does the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cost to Own?

The 2012 E-Class’s five-year expenses for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs are estimated to be around $36,900, or about $7,380 per year. That’s above average for the class. For example, those same costs for the 2012 Audi A6 are estimated to be around $9,200 less than the E-Class’ over five years.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New E-Class?

Mercedes-Benz redesigned the E-Class sedan and wagon for 2017 and the coupe and convertible for 2018. These vehicles offer several driver assistance and convenience features that the 2012 model does not, such as a head-up display and an automated parallel parking system. Additionally, you can get a new-car warranty with the 2018 model. However, these added benefits come at a much steeper price. The 2018 E-Class sedan starts at $52,950, which is about $38,000 more than what you’ll pay for a used 2012 E-Class.

Read about the new E-Class »

There are no new luxury midsize cars in the same price range as a 2012 E-Class. However, there is one new luxury small car that’s priced close to the most expensive E-Class in our listings. The 2018 Acura ILX starts at $28,100. However, the ILX offers few features, uninspired handling, lackluster power from its inline four-cylinder engine, and a disappointing interior with a few hard plastics.

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Which Model Year of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Is Best?

For 2012, Mercedes-Benz increased the power and fuel efficiency of the E-Class’ engines across the board. The E63 AMG wagon also returned to the lineup with the 2012 model. Finally, the E550 and all-wheel-drive models received retuned steering. Since models prior to 2012 lack these updates, you may want to stick to 2012-and-later models.

Later models gained some new trims and engines. A hybrid vehicle and the AWD E350 coupe became available for 2013. The 2014 E-Class received new exterior styling, a base four-cylinder engine, and a few new safety technologies. A new E400 with a V6 engine debuted with the 2015 model. The hybrid and regular E63 AMG models were discontinued for 2016.

Unless you’re interested in one of these trims or engines, consider saving money with a 2012 instead of a later model.

Compare the 2012, 2014, and 2016 E-Class »

How Reliable Is the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan has a perfect reliability rating of five out of five from J.D. Power. Along with the 2012 Lexus ES’s rating, that’s the best rating in the class.

Read more about E-Class reliability »

2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Recalls

At the time of this writing, five recalls have been issued on the 2012 E-Class. One concerns the fuel filter leaking. The other four all address air bags, which may rupture, deploy at the wrong time, fail to deploy, or deflate too quickly. Make sure these recalls have been resolved before buying this vehicle.

See more information on Mercedes-Benz E-Class safety recalls »

Which Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class Model Is Right for Me?

Mercedes-Benz offers the 2012 E-Class in four body styles: a four-door sedan, a four-door wagon, a two-door coupe, and a two-door cabriolet (convertible).

Most shoppers will be happy with the Mercedes-Benz E350, which is the base trim in all four body types. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, a multi-function steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, MB-Tex leatherette upholstery, and 14-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings. The base model also has the COMAND infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth. The E350 wagon adds standard all-wheel drive, a rearview camera, a third row of seats, and a power liftgate.

Mercedes-Benz offered the E-Class with several options when it was new, including the Premium 1 package, Premium 2 package, Lane Tracking package, and Driver Assistance package. You may find a used model with larger AMG twin five-spoke wheels, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, HD radio, satellite radio, voice controls, multi-contour front seats, heated front seats, push-button start, an Airscarf neck-warming system, and a few advanced safety features.

Shoppers seeking a little more power should look to an E550 or the sporty E63 AMG models. Each has a strong twin-turbo V8 engine, and the AMG model has a unique sport-tuned suspension, high-performance brakes, and sporty interior and exterior styling enhancements.

See 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class trims and specs »

How Safe Is the E-Class?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan five out of five stars in the rollover crash test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named both the sedan and coupe a 2012 Top Safety Pick, giving them the highest rating of Good in four crash tests.  

A driver drowsiness monitor, the mbrace emergency telematics service, and Mercedes-Benz’s Pre-Safe forward collision warning are standard in every 2012 E-Class. A backup camera is standard in E-Class wagons and available in the rest. Many other active safety features are available, including front and rear parking sensors, bi-xenon adaptive headlights, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a night-vision camera, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. A side air bag for rear-seat passengers is also available.

See E-Class safety scores »

2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class or 2012 BMW 5-Series?

The 2012 BMW 5 Series is another fine choice among luxury cars. The 5 Series gained a turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the 2012 model year. While that doesn’t measure up to the Mercedes’ base V6, it still offers decent acceleration and good fuel economy estimates. Both cars have spacious rear seats, though the E350 sedan has more cargo room than the 5 Series. The BMW’s main advantages are its lower average price and lower costs of ownership. Additionally, the 5 Series’ M5 trim comes with a sporty V8 engine that churns out more power than any of the V8s available in the E63 AMG. However, if you can stretch your budget, the E-Class is the superior choice.

Which Is Better: 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class or 2012 Cadillac CTS?

The 2012 Cadillac CTS is a good luxury midsize car. Like the E-Class, the CTS is available in a number of body styles. It even matches the E-Class’ high-performance AMG model with its CTS-V model, which features a 556-horsepower supercharged V8 engine. Although the Cadillac has good safety and reliability ratings, the Mercedes-Benz earns much better ratings. Similarly, the CTS’ stylish, cozy interior is also eclipsed by the E-Class. However, the CTS will save you around $1,500 on average compared to the E-Class. That said, the E-Class is the better choice unless you want the CTS-V’s extra power.

Which Is Better: 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class or 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class?

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class was the final R-Class that was produced. This luxury midsize SUV has three spacious rows of seating and far more cargo space than the E-Class. It also has standard all-wheel drive and delivers a smooth, comfortable ride. The R-Class also costs about $2,600 less than the average price of an E-Class. However, the E-Class is a better value. It offers more available safety features, a higher reliability rating, a slightly more elegant interior, and quicker acceleration – especially with the sporty AMG trims. It also returns significantly better fuel economy, even compared to the R-Class’ diesel BlueTec engine. The E-Class will satisfy most shoppers, but the R-Class is a better choice if you’re limited by a budget.

Compare the E-Class, 5 Series, and CTS »

2012 E-Class Performance

How Does the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Drive?

The 2012 E350 comes standard with a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 210 horsepower (BlueTec) is available in the sedan only. E550 models offer a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 that produces 402 horsepower. The E63 AMG has a larger V8 engine that generates 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. E63 AMG sedans and wagons equipped with the AMG Performance package get up to 550 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. AMG models also gain a slick-shifting multi-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission and high-performance brakes, and they are capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in as little as 4.1 seconds. Rear-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is standard in the wagon, and available in all other body styles.

The E-Class features multiple drivetrain configurations, meeting a variety of shoppers’ needs. Even the base E350’s engine offers adequate power, making it more than suitable as a daily driver. All E-Class models are capable on the highway as well. This vehicle has a smooth ride over bumpy or uneven pavement. It may not be the sportiest model in its class, but the E-Class strikes a delicate balance between agility and comfort.

Does the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Get Good Gas Mileage?

With its gasoline engine, the RWD Mercedes-Benz E350 earns fuel economy estimates as high as 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That’s decent for a V6 engine. Models with AWD get slightly lower estimates, and the performance-oriented E63 AMG wagon has the lowest estimates of the lineup at 15 mpg in the city 23 mpg on the highway, while the sedan gets 16/24 mpg city/highway. At 21/32 mpg, the E350 BlueTec returns the highest estimates in the lineup.

Read more about E-Class performance »

2012 E-Class Interior

How Many People Does the 2012 E-Class Seat?

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan seats up to five people, while the wagon seats seven and features a rear-facing jump seat. Every model except the cabriolet has standard leatherette upholstery. Available features include leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, a multi-contour driver’s seat, split-folding rear seats (standard in wagons), and a wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive regardless of configuration. The sedan features one of the most spacious rear seats in the class. The cabin is a lavish spread of luxury, with high-quality materials and dark wood accents that look decidedly German.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The 2012 E350 sedan and wagon have two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats.

2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Features

Standard features include alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and the COMAND infotainment system with a 7-inch screen, an eight-speaker sound system, and Bluetooth. Available features include a panoramic roof, a navigation system, a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound stereo, HD radio, satellite radio, a rear-seat entertainment system, push-button start, and a few advanced safety features.

The COMAND infotainment system is not intuitive, and it takes time to master. Climate and entertainment settings can be adjusted using a central knob and buttons mounted on the dash.

See 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class specs »

Read more about E-Class interior »

2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Dimensions

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cargo Space

The 2010 E-Class sedan offers 15.9 cubic feet of space. The wagon provides 29 cubic feet behind the back row of seats and 57.4 cubic feet with it folded down.

2012 E-Class Length and Weight

Depending on its body type, the E-Class measures from 15.4 feet long to about 16.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,619 up to 4,282 pounds with the E-Class wagon.

Where Was the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Built?

Mercedes-Benz manufactured the 2012 E-Class in Germany.


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