Michaels’ World: Fabulous at $50K, 2012 Mercedes E350 and the 2012 Audi A6

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You’re a family man – family woman. Your career is on track according to the master plan. You’re fairly young and definitely savvy, with a budget of about $50K to spend on the new whip you so rightfully deserve. Well, here’s two sets of hot wheel to add to the list…

2012 Mercedes E350

Base price: $50, 490 Fuel economy: 20 city / 30 highway

This past Thanksgiving I had the pleasure to spend a few days in the driver’s seat of the new E350. With this being my first time ever beind the wheel of any Mercedes E Class, the experience totally dispelled all previous thoughts of the E-Class as a weak substitute for thoe unwilling to reach for the almighty S-Class.

The E stands its ground at the mid-priced level of luxury as a force to be recokned with in terms of style, performance, comfort and safety. Enhancements for the current generation as introduced in 2009, includes a dazzling set of LED daytime running lamps positioned below the headlamps adding a degree of racy opulence and pizzazz to a car I once saw as simply stately–which is a nice way of saying boring.

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Under the hood lies a new 302 horsepower 3.5L V-6 engine, with a seven speed adaptive transmission made to react much faster during accelerating, thanks to rapid-multi-spark ignition and high-pressure Direct Injection from which precision is now measured in milliseconds and molecules. In the process, efficiency is raised and emissions are lowered. And between global warming from all the carbon WE add to the air thanks to the emission systems in cars of old, not to mention the price of fuel and our need to reduce dependency upon it, Mercedes’ new technology in this area is right on time!

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Keeping in line with its reputation for safety, E350 includes blind spot monitor, lane keep assist and Night View Plus—a system introduced in S-Class models as “Night View” in 2005, later becoming “Night View Plus” in 2009 (due to the addition of pedestrian detection), at which time it became available on E-Class models.

All of the above on top of German engineering with a smooth ride and fun handling definitely makes the E350 worth a visit to the dealership!

2012 Audi A6 3.0 TFSI Quattro Auto Tiptronic Sedan

Base price: $49, 900 Fuel economy: 19 city / 28 highway

When it comes to overall handling, time after time, Audi steals the show! The brands all newA7 that came out last summer was my pic for “Car of the Year,” even though its dated model year 2012, at the bbase price of about $60K. But keeping in line with the at/under $50k theme of this article, big ups are due to the new A6 as well.

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A6’s interior cabin offers a degree of comfort similar to what you’ll experience in the pricier A7. Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for and do go expecting the A6 to be a hot spot for passengers to connect to the internet (an A7 perk). Yet still, comfort in the A6 is without compromise.

In terms of performance, A6’s agility is off the chain. I tend to judge most whips in this are by the way I can swing into my driveway: If I can do in one stroke, that’s the sign of excellence in terms of handling. That’s A6!

Under the hood, A6’s 310 horsepower supercharged engine with an eight-speed transmission simply soars! And even so, long gone are the days when Audi translated to great performance and awful fuel economy.

The standard 17” rims are nice. But go ahead and pimp it out with the $1,500–19” Sport Package. With it comes a set of 19” rims, sport suspension and 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel to sets it off righteously!

Last but not least, nobody does LED daytime running lamps like Audi, which is where (if I’m not mistaken) the hot trend in luxury began.

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