– Mercedes-Benz announced on February 9 that the Mercedes-Benz E-Class line will soon feature the new 2006-model E-350 sedan and wagon, both powered by a new-generation 3.5L V-6 engine that produces 268 horsepower – a 20-percent increase over the 3.2L engine.The 2006 E-350 sedan and wagon will replace the previous E-320 models and join the rest of the 2005 E-Class line in dealership showrooms.The 3.5L V-6 features four valves per cylinder, double-overhead camshafts, and variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust valves. This all-aluminum powerplant represents the first time Mercedes-Benz has used double-overhead camshaft technology on its V-6 engines. One of the most powerful engines for its size, the 3.5L V-6 produces 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, with maximum torque available from 2,400 rpm up to 5,000 rpm.At part throttle, variable valve timing keeps the exhaust valves open for a short time as the intake valves are already opening, creating internal exhaust gas recirculation by allowing exhaust gas to enter the intake ports to reduce exhaust emissions and boost fuel mileage. This valve overlap is automatically reduced when the throttle is open further to increase mid-range power. At high engine speeds, the intake valves open and close even later for optimal air flow.The new-generation engine is also equipped with a two-stage intake manifold and tumble flaps, which improve combustion and fuel economy by creating additional turbulence around the intake valves and in each combustion chamber.The current E-Class represents about 25 percent of total Mercedes-Benz sales in the U.S. For much of 2005, the E-Class lineup includes the E-320 CDI diesel sedan, the V-8-powered E500 sedan and wagon, and the limited-production E-55 AMG — all 2005 models — as well as the 2006 E-350 sedan and wagon.The E-350 and E-500 rear-drive models come equipped with the world's first seven-speed automatic transmission, which improves both acceleration and fuel economy. All 4MATIC sedans and wagons as well as the E-320 CDI sedan retain the 5-speed automatic transmission with Touch Shift control.