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2006 New Car Model Guide, Model Guide, New Car Reviews, Mercedes Cars, Trucks, & SUVs


2006 Mercedes New Car Model GuideMercedes-Benz with headquarters in Germany makes luxury and performance vehicles that span the scale in size and type with multiple options for power and traction.

The vast collection includes souped-up performance variations in many categories built by the Mercedes super-tuner AMG. But there are three new Mercedes classes for 2006 -- the elegant CLS Class of four-door coupes, the large-scale R Class sport tourer wagons and a new generation of designs for American-built M Class of sport-utility vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Two striking new models with sculpted bodies emerge in the 2006 Mercedes line to forge the new CLS Class. Described as a four-door coupe, the sleek and elegant CLS sorts in size between mid-size E Class and full-size S Class sedans. Part of the structure for CLS comes from the E Class but the design draws graceful styling of a sporty coupe with low sweeping roofline.

There are two models in the series with CLS500 and a powerful CLS55 AMG. The former pulls from a Mercedes 5.0-liter V8 tuned to 302 hp, while the latter merits the AMG 5.5-liter supercharged V8 cranked to 469 hp. Both use the 7G-tronic seven-speed TouchShift automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz R Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz R Class

New R Class sport tourer cars combine the driving manners of a sports sedan with a wagon-type vehicle and the cabin of a big Mercedes luxury car. The R350 and R500 can carry up to six people in first-class comfort in a vehicle with the sticky tire traction of a pavement-hugging all-wheel-drive (AWD) SUV.

In a cabin with lavish appointments, there are three tiers of seats with a pair of individual buckets set in rows one and two and three. R350 takes its name from its 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 268 hp. R500 packs a 5.0-liter V8 that runs to 302 hp. Transmission is the Mercedes 7G-tronic TouchShift automatic. A height-adjustable Airmatic air suspension system with active damping system (ADS) is on option chart, along with a video entertainment system, Harman/Kardon audio system and panorama glass sunroof.

Mercedes-Benz M Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz M Class

New American-built editions of the M Class of sport-utility vehicles from Mercedes-Benz score a make-over with a second generation of designs for ML350 and ML500 based on a unibody structure that measures about six inches longer and three inches wider than first-generation models. Each version is a sensuous study drawn in curvaceous sheetmetal and shiny chrome. A new scheme for the five-seat cabin draws on fine leathers, polished hardwoods and brushed aluminum accents.

ML350 employs the new 3.5-liter V6 engine with 268 hp. ML500 packs the Mercedes 5.0-liter V8 for 302 hp. Transmission with either plant is the 7G-tronic TouchShift automatic. Both models employ full-time AWD equipment with three open differentials -- front, rear and center. Then Mercedes adds a four-wheel adaptation of the electronic traction control system dubbed 4ETS. Also aboard is the Mercedes alphabet soup of computerized vehicle controls.

Mercedes-Benz CLK Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK

Both hard and soft tops apply to mid-size CLK Class cars. Convertibles, derived from the hardtop coupes, are cut to airy drop-tops by German car crafter Karmann. Three two-door coupes appear this year, as do three convertibles. Trims for each include the CLK350 with a new 3.5-liter twin-cam Mercedes V6 for 268 hp or CLK500 with the 5.0-liter V8 zipped to 302 hp. CLK55 AMG goes further with a 469-hp 5.5-liter supercharged V8 by AMG, even bigger wheels plus heavy-duty brakes and shifter paddles on the steering wheel for hands-on transmission control.

Convertibles 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.

Mercedes-Benz SLK
2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK

The SLK Class of two-seat roadsters provides a pop-top lid which stows in the trunk and three sophisticated powertrain options. SLK350 gets a 272 hp 3.5-liter V6 with variable camshaft control and a sporty six-speed manual shifter or seven-speed 7G-tronic Mercedes automatic. SLK 55 AMG is the top performer fitted with a massive AMG 5.5-liter V8 and 7G-tronic automatic plus alloy AMG wheels up to 18 inches in diameter. And new entry-edition SLK280 totes a 3.0-liter dual-cam V6 worth 228 hp.

A substantial list of standard safety equipment includes adaptive frontal air bags and side air bags plus solid steel roll bars tucked behind the seats. Options extend to a deluxe surround-sound audio system with 380-watt amp and 11 speakers. SLK puts a nifty feature focused on a rider's neck - the Airscarf neck-level heat vent concealed in the headrest.

Mercedes-Benz C Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Compact-size C Class cars by Mercedes consist strictly of four-door sedans for 2006. Top model is a powerful high-performance version crafted by AMG, but there's optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) equipment -- called 4Matic in Mercedes nomenclature with 40/60 percent front/rear torque split.

Mercedes compacts score a range of new twin-cam V6 engines in 2006. For C230 the 2.5-liter V6 delivers 201 hp; C280 employs a 3.0-liter V6 with 228 hp, but C350 gets the Mercedes 3.5-liter V6 for 268 hp. The C Class performance sedan, badged as the C55 AMG, has a hand-built AMG V8 that jumps to a speedy 362 hp.

Mercedes-Benz E Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz E Class

Mid-size luxury cars from Mercedes include four-door sedans and five-door wagons with powertrains extending to a high-performance V8 and a turbo-diesel V6. E320 CDI is the diesel-powered sedan, available in 45 of the 50 United States. It totes a 3.2-liter in-line-six with common-rail direct injection (CDI) and turbo-charging. The plant produces 201 hp plus substantial torque, and fuel economy scores run well above 30 mpg for highway cruising.

The E320 becomes E350 in 2006 due to a new 3.5-liter twin-cam V6 added with 268 hp. 4Matic AWD equipment is available on E350 sedan and wagon or E500 sedan but is standard on E500 wagon. The E55 performance sports sedan totes the AMG V8 with supercharger and inter-cooler to deliver 469 hp. Active head restraints for front buckets appear on every E Class in '06, while E350 and E500 roll on new 17-inch wheels.

Mercedes-Benz G Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz G Class

From a Mercedes assembly plant in Graz, Austria, the hand-crafted G Class wagon rolls out in limited numbers as a 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, G500 has a cabin lined with luxurious appointments like leather-clad seats and trim in burl walnut wood. The G55 AMG performance variation carries an AMG-built 5.5-liter V8 with supercharging and inter-cooling to generate 469 hp. G500 Grand Edition also emerges with special badges in numbered issues.

Mercedes-Benz SLR Class
2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR Class

This scissor-door supercar -- dubbed the SLR McLaren -- is based on a mono-coque structure made from ultra-stiff carbon-fiber composites and it carries a supercharged aluminum 5.4-liter V8 engine hand-built by Mercedes-Benz's performance gurus at AMG. The plant peaks at an incredible 617 hp as teamed with a five-speed Mercedes automatic with one-tap clutch-less TouchShift feature. Price tag's equally incredible (well over $400,000), but only a few issues will make it to the U.S. each year. (...BACK)