Mercedes-Benz has announced the pricing and availability of the E-Class equipped with its latest petrol engine, the 272 hp 3.5-litre V6.

Production of the new model will commence in November 2004 and UK deliveries will start soon after. The E 350 will cost from £35,770 on-the-road.

Replacing the current E 320, the new E 350 retains the same specification inside and out, save for one key detail – the new engine will be mated to the new 7G-TRONIC automatic gearbox as standard. The smooth change characteristics and flexibility of the 7G-TRONIC make the most of the engine’s 350 Nm of torque, which is available as low down as 2400 rpm.

The new generation aluminium 3.5-litre V6 engine replaces the 3.2-litre variant and supplies a sportier sound track to the E-Class. The engine’s four-valves per cylinder are permanently optimised, thanks to the continually adjusting intake and outlet camshafts – a world first for a V6. An enhanced two-stage variable inlet manifold, which automatically adjusts the length of the inlet tract for improved output and emissions control, operates without the driver noticing any changes deep within the engine.

Compared to the outgoing engine, the lightweight 240 kg 3.5-litre engine package provides increased power output (up 48 hp) and higher torque delivery (up 35 Nm), whilst economy is improved (saving around 1.5 mpg in extra urban) and emissions exceed EU 4 specification.

With a host of improvements in performance and economy, the new E350 attracts an entry-level price of only £35,770.