|The E430 replaces the W210 bodied E420 in the Mercedes lineup. Power production between the two remains the same while weight has been pared down and the torque curve flattened. The E430 has the most modern electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission that shifts almost telepathically. This is accomplished by the onboard electronics monitoring the driver's habits. By doing this it can anticipate and adapt to the type of shifting it believes the driver would prefer. The ultra flat torque curve, 5-speed transmission, and 2.82 differential produce 0-60 times in the 6.2 second range. The car is electronically limited to 130mph despite being capable of so much more.|
|Tire size is 215/55/16 and 235/45/17 on Sport Package models. The optional AMG derived sport package sharpens an already capable machine in addition to adding some badging and more aggressive looking bodywork.|
|The 97 and newer W210 chassis replaces the venerable W124 body and offers a lot more functional interior space with only the most modest exterior enlargements. One of the most striking differences between the new and old cars is the inception of the new infrared key. Mercedes has abandoned the traditional metal ingot in favor of a smallish electronic control. You insert it into an area where the key always has been and give a quick turn. The "key" sends a signal to a receiver in the dash. There is no longer any mechanical interface between key and ignition. All lock/unlock and alarm features are built in to the new key fob.|
|New technical options include HID Xenon headlights. These blue-white looking beams offer much improved night visibility in addition to the cosmetic appeal.|
|Other E-class firsts are console mounted cup holders and moon/sun roof setup that is an evolution of the sliding sunroof on the cars of the past.|
|Safety has been improved via a bevy of airbags and the addition of the ESP system to enhance the existing ASR technology. With driver/passenger front and side airbags, head curtain airbags, and the Brake Assist system that shortens stopping distances in panic stop situations this car is among the safest roadgoing transportation available at any price. The new ESP system enhances the abilities of ASR by monitoring the vehicle's intended direction with the actual direction. Should the computer discover a discrepancy between the two it will correct for either oversteer or understeer by braking individual wheels until the car is back on the driver's intended path.|
|An improved Bose 8-speaker sound system is leaps and bounds beyond the old Becker rig of the previous cars. The true appeal of these cars is the synergy of performance, economy, luxury, and a healthy helping of German solidity. It is perhaps the most complete package in the V8 sedan category.|
Mercedes 4.3 Liter V8
|The heart of the new E430 is a member of the new modular engine family that Mercedes has adopted. This new family of engines has the SOHC 3(2 intake and 1 exhaust) valve per cylinder configuration. This modular construction process brings down the cost of the entire line. Also common to this line is the two stage tuned resonance intake manifold that improves torque throughout the rev range. The new engines are lighter, more compact, more fuel efficient, and produce cleaner emissions than the previous generation of power plants they replace. The E430 engine displaces 4266cc's. With a 10:1 compression ratio this power plant makes 275 horsepower @ 5750rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque in a plateau from 3000-4400 rpm. This ultra flat torque curve makes it one of the most flexible engines produced to date. All this power comes at little penalty at the pumps. EPA ratings of 19 city and 26 highway attest to the outstanding power-per-gallon ratio of the new engine family.|
||Another new feature is a flexible service schedule. Electronics monitor driving habits, conditions, and the oil itself to determine when a service is needed.|
|The new car has many small improvements that are the logical evolution of good things begun in W124 days. The most noteworthy improvement is most likely the electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. This transmission responds quickly and logically to driver input and driving style. The level of shift quality and refinement over the 4-speed of old is night and day. However, Mercedes has backslid a bit in ergonomic design with the gated shifter configuration. The new shift gate has 4th through 2nd in a straight line which makes manual shifting somewhat difficult. The previous shift gate was much easier to use but also more necessary. The new transmission makes manual shifting almost unnecessary whereas the older transmission sometimes had a mind of its own. Every switch, lever, button, joint on the car works with the classic Mercedes
thunk, snick, or thud. The steering and brakes have been given a bit more power assist from the previous model. While not objectionable it does give the car a somewhat more isolated feel. The car steps our smartly whenever you hit the gas and gives plenty of evidence of the flattened torque curve at any speed. The new valve train, intake, and exhaust combine for a delicious sounding exhaust note that has great tone but remains mature and unobtrusive.
|For the enthusiast, or anyone who appreciates custom comfort, the optional "multi-contour" seats are a must have. Numerous air bladders in the front seats allow for true custom tuning of seat shape and profile. They can be anything from church pew flat to deeply bolstered.||
| All of this is combined with the traditional seating controls of Mercedes cars gives nearly infinite seating configurations. When combined with the heating option you can find yourself making excuses to sit in your car. The bottom line is that this is the kind of car that you never tire of driving.
- Lee Scheeler