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MERCEDES V8 MODELS SET NEW SPORTS SEDAN STANDARDS

 MERCEDES V8 MODELS SET NEW SPORTS SEDAN STANDARDS
 MONTVALE, N.J., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The "sports sedan," a


European-bred combination of four-door functionality and sports car road manners, has become the design goal for many of the most exciting new automobiles introduced in the United States over the past few years. One new twist is a V8 engine, an American mainstay but typically not seen in vehicles of this type from Europe.
 Mercedes-Benz, one of the founders of the sports sedan genre, has developed two markedly different entrants for this increasingly popular sector, both based on its highly acclaimed 300-Class sedan and each powered by a sophisticated V8 engine.
 Called the 400E and 500E, the new Mercedes sports sedans have won strong praise from top automotive authorities. The limited-production 500E, subject of a cover story in the April issue of Automobile Magazine that hails its performance, handling, quality and safety, has been described as a 500SL sports car wrapped in the body of a mid-size sedan. According to the article, "The 500E's ability to deliver speed and comfort with complete safety makes it a standard by which we will measure all automobiles." With flared fenders and a ground-hugging silhouette, the 322-hp 500E is the Mercedes realization of a no-holds- barred approach to building an ultra-high performance sports sedan that reaches 60 mph in less than six seconds.
 The same technology which made it possible for the 500E to captivate the automotive world also allowed Mercedes-Benz engineers to develop a more understated version -- the 400E -- in just one year.
 Much closer to the 300E than the 500E in terms of appearance, ride and amenities, the 268-hp 400E still delivers seven-second 0-60 mph acceleration, propelled by a smooth and quiet 4.2-liter, 32-valve V8 similar to the one which powers the larger 400SE S-Class sedan.
 Viewed by auto writers as the bargain-hunter's 500E, the 400E is described by Car and Driver magazine as "nearly the 500E's equal." An article about the 400E in their April issue says, "You might miss some power if you've driven the 500E, but if you haven't, you probably won't." Commenting on the car's interior comfort and safety features, the magazine states, "There is still nothing like sitting at the helm of a Mercedes-Benz."
 The 400E also earned top honors in the American Automobile Association's "Best New Cars" competition, by both winning the over- $40,000 category and outscoring all 111 other models evaluated in AAA's comprehensive series of real-world tests.
 In addition, the smaller 190E 2.3 sports sedan made Mercedes the only double-winning brand in the AAA "Best New Cars" testing, topping the under-$30,000 category.
 In yet a different measurement of automotive superiority, the 190E 2.3 was rated Best Value in the under-$40,000 category by Intellichoice, an independent research agency which looks at the total cost of ownership over five years. In the same evaluation, the diesel-powered "younger brother" of the 400E, the 300D 2.5 Turbo(A), beat out Japanese and domestic competition for Best Value in the over-$40,000 category.
 While the limited-production 500E (fewer than 600 units are scheduled for sale nationally this year) has a suggested list price of $79,200, over half of the Mercedes-Benz cars sold in the United States have suggested prices under $55,000. More typical is the $55,800 figure for the 400E. At $28,950, the 190E 2.3 is the least expensive Mercedes model, and the 300D 2.5 Turbo(A) price is $42,950.
 (A) -- Not available in California.
 -0- 3/11/92 R
 /CONTACT: Fred Heiler of Mercedes-Benz of North America, 201-573-2245/ CO: Mercedes Benz of North America, Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: AUT SU: PDT


KD-OS -- NY033 -- 7505 03/11/92 16:57 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1992
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