What Was Tested?:
Mileage: 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway.
Talk about luxury.
Every inch - both inside and out - of the 2005 Mercedes-Benz E500 exudes luxury. From its smart-looking styling to the interior appointments, the E500 is full of class.
Starting with a 5.0-liter V8 that knocks out 302 horses, this engine is very, very quiet. You'll have to look at your tachometer to make sure it turned over and you're ready to go. The whole package is enhanced with a seven-speed automatic transmission - yes, I did say seven-speed (it's the world's first, by the way) - that will turn heads with its quick acceleration techniques.
It's most impressive when at highway speeds and you've got to get around that slow-moving semi. Tap the pedal a little and you're instantly on your way without a complaint.
According to documents from Mercedes-Benz, using seven gears allows the individual gears to be spaced closer together, which in turn allows the engine to run in its most favorable rev range.
The transmission is also capable of selecting the best gear for any driving situation. The transmission's electronic control also has better flexibility to choose shift points for lower engine speeds, which also means better gas mileage.
So many manufacturers have abandoned rear-wheel-drive. Not Mercedes-Benz. This rear-wheel-drive is enhanced with Airmatic Dual Control air suspension, larger tires and a better choice of standard equipment this year.
Everyone who knows cars knows that Mercedes-Benz is one of the top manufacturers of safety technology. That doesn't mean just slapping in an anti-lock braking system, however. It does mean that you'll have brake assist, straight-line traction control and stability control, along with a strong body structure that protects the driver and all passengers.
This year, there are also larger crumple zones in front that absorb even more energy in an accident. And even with all the additional equipment and safety enhancements, the E500 enjoys a reduction of 100 pounds in body weight.
It's accomplished with the use of a lot of aluminum - almost 10 percent of the car's weight. Parts include the hood, front fenders, trunk lid, front sub frame and bumper cross members. It's also been enhanced with high-strength steel.
Dual stage air bags are deployed by crash sensors within the skin of the E500 that actually measure the severity of the collision. For example, if it detects a minor impact, only the first stage of the airbag deploys, reserving the second stage for a more serious collision.
The inflation rate of the front passenger seat air bag is also monitored for weight by sensors located in the seat frame. If it detects weight less than a normal 12-month old in a child restraint, the sensor will not deploy the air bag at all.
One thing that did drive me crazy at times was when I dropped my fairly large purse and a carafe of coffee or my laptop in the front seat, the seat belt monitor insisted I buckle it all in or it wouldn't stop beeping. Just slightly annoying.
The interior of the E500 was soft and fuzzy everywhere and comfort had to have been the major factor in development of this vehicle. Surfaces are soft, the dash is curved beautifully, and all interior appointments are just stunningly beautiful.
The list of amenities goes on and on and on: four-zone climate control, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows with one-touch up and down operation, auto-dimming mirrors, power flip down panel in the center console (which can hold a multitude of your possessions, 10-way power seats,Â cruise control, parking assist system that detects anything in front or in the rear of the vehicle, and a really cool DVD-based navigation system.
You won't need a key if your don't want to. The driver can unlock the car by just touching the door handle and you can start the car by touching the gearshift knob. Most of the Mercedes line is now equipped with the infrared "SmartKey" system. It's cool technology, to say the least.
The SmartKey system is the industry's first fully electronic ignition key system. There's no metal key, just a fob-type key you can insert into the ignition port - but only if you wish. It's the best of security.
It's been a while since I'd been in a Mercedes-Benz. This week showed me this company is on the ball with so many innovations in the automotive end. Go and check it out - this stuff is really futuristic.
Power: 5.0-liter V8 engine
Where built: Europe