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2004 Model Guide - Every Brand, Every Car

2004 MERCEDES-BENZ LINE-UP

2004 Mercedes-Benz Model GuideMercedes-Benz of Germany makes luxury and performance vehicles that span the scale in size and type with multiple options for power and traction and the 2004 collection contains more models than ever before.

The products, clustered in alphabetical classes by size and style, include sophisticated two-seat sports cars, sedate four-door sedans, sensuous two-door coupes, rakish convertibles and muscular sport-utility wagons, plus souped-up performance versions for many categories under the AMG label.

This year the CLK Class of mid-size cars gets drop-top versions with three different trims bound for America. All are derived from slinky CLK hardtop coupes but cut to airy convertibles by German car crafter Karmann. New all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction applies to three car classes in 2004 with the compact-size C Class sedans, mid-size E Class sedans and estate wagons, plus top-of-the-line S Class sedans.

And Mercedes has a new seven-speed automatic transmission primed for the E500 sedan and E500 wagon, S430 and S500 sedans, plus elite full-size CL500 coupe and SL500 roadster convertible. The top roadster - SL600 - earns a V12 engine with twin turbo-chargers aboard to punch it out to 493 hp. And multiple models continue for the SLK Class of roadsters and M Class of sport-utility vehicles, as well as the G Class of no-compromise super-SUVs.

Mercedes-Benz E Class
2004 Mercedes-Benz E Class

A total of seven different models cluster behind the E Class banner of mid-size luxury sedans and wagons in the Mercedes line for 2004.

Included is optional new AWD equipment, called 4Matic in Mercedes nomenclature, with 40/60 percent front/rear torque split. The 4Matic system is offered on the two E Class wagons, E320 and E500.

Also new to the E Class is a high-performance sports sedan dubbed E55 AMG. It totes a 5.5-liter V8 built by the Mercedes tuner AMG and fitted with a Lysholm supercharger and crossfire intercooler. Power for E55 AMG reaches to 469 hp with a five-speed automatic featuring manual TouchShift mode.

E320 as a sedan with rear-wheel-drive (RWD) traction is the volume model, while the E500 RWD sedan is a performance model with keen handling traits. E320 takes its name from a 3.2-liter V6 engine that's good for 221 hp with the Mercedes five-speed automatic and TouchShift manual mode. E500 stocks a 5.0-liter V8 charged to 302 hp. It also brings the new seven-speed automatic transmission.

Besides electronic braking, both sedans carry a four-link front suspension coupled to the Airmatic device with selectable levels of comfort and ride height.

A five-seat cabin draws on fine leathers and rich polished hardwoods, and high-tech Mercedes options appear like the Keyless Go entry system, Distronic adaptive cruise control, a twin-window Panorama Sunroof and energy-generating solar panels, plus bi-xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and a DVD-based navigation system.

Mercedes-Benz CLK
2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK

Two cool two-door coupes of mid-size dimensions appear in the 2004 line from Mercedes-Benz, as do three pop-top convertible variations.

Designs promote a dynamic pillar-less format with twin-headlamp face borrowed from the E320 sedan. Every angle exaggerates the aerodynamic fluidity of motion: Grille tilts back further than on the E sedan, the hood slopes more seriously and windshield cants to the extreme to achieve a low line on the arching roof.

Coupe issues include the CLK320 containing the 3.2-liter Mercedes V6 for 215 hp and CLK500 with the 5.0-liter V8 rated at 302 hp. Prime convertible edition is the CLK320 Cabriolet toting the 3.2-liter V6 and rolling on seven-spoke alloy wheels measuring 16 inches tall.

Upgrading to a V8 engine leads to the CLK500 Cabriolet with the 5.0-liter V8 and 17-inch thin-spoke alloy wheels. The CLK55 AMG Cabriolet goes further with its 5.5-liter supercharged V8 by AMG, even bigger wheels plus heavy-duty brakes and shifter paddles set behind steering wheel spokes for hands-on transmission control.

These prime convertibles from an automaker renowned for designing elegant topless cars seat four in luxury. A cloth soft top, in multiple layers draped over an aluminum frame, quickly tucks beneath a metal bonnet by motorized means. With the top down, CLK convertibles look slick and aggressive as the bonnet shows nacelle blisters trailing behind rear seatbacks like ones once worn by vintage race cars.

Also posed behind rear seatbacks are loop-like roll bars that can pop up instantly if on-board motion sensors detect potential roll-over movement. The convertible conversion is controlled by a one-touch switch mounted on the console, but it also operates remotely from a button on the key fob.

High-tech Mercedes equipment may be added optionally, such as Keyless Go, Distronic adaptive cruise control, Parktronic distance sensors, bi-xenon HID headlamps and a DVD-based navigation system.

Read our Review: Mercedes-Benz CLK

Mercedes-Benz C Class
2004 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Compact-class cars by Mercedes skew from an affordable sports coupe and practical station wagon to a powerful AMG-crafted performance sedan.

In between these extremes are three new sport variations plus 4Matic AWD editions. The 4Matic equipment applies to C240 and C320 sedans and the C320 wagon. Sport models work for the C230 Kompressor sedan, C320 sedan and C320 coupe. Each wears special body cladding and 17-inch wheels with performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, six-speed close-ratio manual transmission and thickly bolstered front sport seats. The C Class hatchback coupe has a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to 189 hp.

Noteworthy mechanical tools aboard include power rack and pinion steering for precise turning control, plus power-assisted disc brakes tied to anti-lock and traction control systems, even a computerized electronic device that stems lateral slippage of the wheels and maintains straight-line stability. The performance sedan - C32 AMG - continues with a supercharged V6 maxed to 349 hp. Optional bi-xenon HID headlamps go for all models.

Mercedes-Benz SL
2004 Mercedes-Benz SL

The Mercedes roadsters have seats for only two in a luxurious cockpit crowned by a sleek hardtop that, at the tap of a console switch, folds through electro-hydraulic muscle and tucks below the trunk lid.

Its design, in part homage to the original Mercedes gullwing 300SL but also a projection into the future of sophisticated automobiles, scores among the most artistic to come from the tri-star brand.

Considering the entailed list of high-tech mechanical hardware encased by all of that curvaceous car metal, it's certainly the most sophisticated. There are devices aboard to stabilize forward movement and tire traction, smart brakes and adjustable suspension settings, plus multiple air bags to cushion the human cargo. SL500 also has electronic brakes in a brake-by-wire system dubbed Sensotronic Brake Control.

For 2004 there are three editions -- SL500 and SL600, plus the performance-driven SL55 AMG. SL500 draws from a 5.0-liter V8 that delivers 302 hp through the new Mercedes seven-speed automatic transmission with one-tap clutch-less TouchShift feature. SL600 gets the 5.5-liter bi-turbo V12 with inter-cooling to push the power curve up to 493 hp, and SL55 AMG has the AMG supercharged V8.

New assets for 2004 include a steering wheel embedded with a heat element and the optional Keyless Go entry system integrated into a SmartKey.

Mercedes-Benz S Class
2004 Mercedes-Benz S Class

Full-size Mercedes sedans continue with four editions -- S430, S500, S600 and S55 AMG. In addition, there are 4Matic AWD versions for S430 and S500.

Powertrain enhancements come from a bi-turbo V12 for S600 ripped to 493 hp and a supercharged V8 in S55 AMG. The performance-geared AMG model also has redundant SpeedShift buttons mounted on the steering wheel, plus a racing-derived brake system. S430 uses a 4.0-liter Mercedes V8 at 275 hp, but S500 goes further with the single-cam 5.0-liter V8 cranked to 302 hp. Both engines also mate with the new seven-speed automatic transmission.

With fitted seats and touches of polished hardwoods and fine leather decorating the cabin, these stretched sedans envelop passengers in a staggering array of sophisticated controls and perks to make life in the fast lane not only comfortable but secure.

Also, there are so many mechanical systems working latently for protection, including devices that stabilize forward movement and tire traction, smart brakes and adjustable suspensions, plus as many as eight air bags. All S Class cars also stock the Mercedes PreSafe tool that instantly rigs the vehicle for an unavoidable impact by activating electric seat belt tensioners and passenger's front seat moving to optimum safety position and backrest raised, seat bottom lowered and seat shoved rearward.

Mercedes-Benz ML
2004 Mercedes-Benz ML

Mercedes builds mid-size SUV wagons that drive like a fine sedan and feel as comfortable, but there's also ample cargo space in the back plus go-anywhere attributes of a four-wheel-drive (4WD) wagon.

New issues offer an optional DVD-based navigation system as a factory option. Entry to the series comes from the ML350 with V6 power, but the ML500 stocks the 5.0-liter Mercedes V8.

A full-time 4WD system on both models does not lock axles to maintain traction in slippery situations, but senses a slipping wheel electronically, then brakes the slippage and redirects power to wheels with better grip.

Mercedes-Benz CL
2004 Mercedes-Benz CL

Elite full-size coupes, with fluid lines on an exaggerated hood sweeping over the pillar-less roof to an elongated tail, crown the Mercedes line.

Powertrains borrowed from S Class sedans apply to three versions -- CL500 and CL600 plus CL55 AMG. A 5.0-liter V8 fits CL500 with the new seven-speed automatic transmission, a bi-turbo V12 stuffs into CL600 and AMG's supercharged V8 goes to CL55 AMG.

New standard equipment includes a DVD-based navigation system and an audio package capable of playing MP3 files.

Mercedes-Benz SLK
2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK

With that eye-popping prow, flat side panels accented with big blackwalls and rakish windshield stretched wide across a cockpit for two, snappy SLK Class two-seat coupes can shed that hard top in seconds and store it in the trunk to switch from weather-tight coupe to airy convertible.

The series continues in 2004 with three editions capped by the SLK32 AMG performance model packing a supercharged 3.2-liter V6 and rolling on twin-spoke alloy AMG wheels. SLK320 draws from a 215 hp V6 and the entry edition SLK230 Kompressor uses a supercharged dual-cam 2.3-liter four-pack.

This year's special edition SLK stocks 17-inch alloy wheels, Nappa leather sport seats and a cockpit roll bar, plus chrome accents on the body with body-colored paint on front grill and tail spoiler.

Mercedes-Benz G Class
2004 Mercedes-Benz G Class

From a Mercedes assembly plant in Graz, Austria, the hand-crafted G Class SUV rolls out in limited numbers as no-compromise off-road SUV capable of venturing far away from pavement where conventional 4WD vehicles dare not tread.

G500 carries every mechanical armament - a full-time 4WD system, traction control, vehicle stability system, three differential locks (center plus rear and front), anti-lock brakes and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) - then flexes muscle from the Mercedes 5.0-liter V8.

Despite a rugged exterior design and the hardware of an ultimate off-road warrior, the G500 has a cabin lined with luxurious appointments like leather-clad seats and trim in burl walnut wood. Multi-contour seats are now standard on 2004 models, along with new audio gear by Harman Kardon.

[RELATED STORY: THE HERITAGE OF THE MERCEDES-BENZ BRAND]

[MORE INFORMATION FROM MERCEDES-BENZ]


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