2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Preview

Jack R. Nerad | Mar 04, 2020
FAST FACTS
  • Revamped exterior styling, interior equipment, and driver-assistance technology
  • Available as midsize luxury sedan or All-Terrain wagon
  • Luxury- and performance-oriented (AMG) version
  • Standard 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
  • Optional mild-hybrid turbocharged inline 6-cylinder and plug-in hybrid powertrains
  • Completely revamped infotainment and driver information systems
  • On sale in the fourth quarter of 2020

Introduction

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class midsize sedan and wagon are the beneficiaries of an extensive mid-cycle revamp that includes revised styling, new engine choices and a plug-in hybrid model that will be available in America for the first time.

Often referred to as the "heart of the brand," the updated 2021 E-Class will be available in sedan and new All-Terrain wagon versions, marking the debut of the off-road-styled E-Class All-Terrain in the U.S. market. Those seeking performance will find the AMG E 53 sedan fills the bill.

2021 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain Wagon in White

A turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powers the Mercedes-Benz E 350 and the E 450 includes a light-electrified and turbocharged inline 6-cylinder. For the first time in the U.S., the E-Class will offer a plug-in hybrid variant, the E 350e. The E-Class sedan and All-Terrain will go on sale in the fall of 2020 with a base price of about $55,000 for the sedan.

Exterior Features

The new front end and revised grille are the most noticeable exterior changes to the 2021 E-Class. Chrome and high-gloss black enhance the look of the front bumper, and the grille features a single louver and chrome pins. The AMG E 53 gets a distinctive new grille of its own. Redesigned headlights are sleeker and more contemporary than previously, with full-LED headlamps standard and Multibeam LED headlamps optional.

Sedans have a new rear bumper, new trunk lid and split taillights with a geometric design. In addition to these changes, the AMG E 53 is fitted with a new rear diffuser. In shades of 1975, the E-Class sedan features standard AMG body cladding, and both sedan and All-Terrain feature "power domes" on the hood to underscore the sporty design.

Designers went out of their way to make the All-Terrain visually similar to Mercedes-Benz's SUV models. All-Terrain-specific components such as the radiator grille and the stylized skid plate sport a mirror-chrome finish.

Three new metallic paint colors are available for the E-Class including Cirrus Silver, Graphite Grey, and Mojave Silver.

Interior Features

Mercedes-Benz says the 2021 E-Class has a more comfortable interior, but that is not the result of increased interior dimensions, which remain similar to the figures before the refresh.

At the same time, the E-Class seats are certainly worthy of comment, because in addition to looking rich and sumptuous they are well-suited to long-distance travel. Now, for 2021, the adaptive driver's seat adjustment uses technology to help find the best driving position. After entering the driver's height in the media display, the seat automatically moves into a height-suggested position, which then only needs fine-tuning by the driver.

A high-tech steering wheel is part of the interior update. Available as either all-leather-wrapped or in a wood-leather combination, the wheel features touch-control buttons that the driver swipes with a fingertip to alter instrument cluster and media display settings.

New colors and materials are also part of the overall interior upgrade. The new color combinations are Magma Grey/Neva Grey and Magma Grey/Macchiato Beige. Trim is Natural Grain Grey Ash or an updated version of Burl Walnut.

Optional Features

As you'd expect from a Mercedes, the E-Class offers a wide variety of options and upgrades, some in packages, some as standalone enhancements.

Likely the most important option group is the Driver Assistance package. It includes Active Speed Limit Assist, which uses map data and data from Traffic Sign Assist to note and respond to changes in the speed limit. Route-based speed adjustment in anticipation of curves, intersections, toll booths, and highway exits is also part of the wide-ranging technology.

Via the Active Distance Assist Distronic cruise control with route-based speed adjustment, the E-Class can respond to live traffic information received by the car. When a traffic jam is reported to the system, vehicle speed is reduced to approximately 60 mph as a precaution, though the driver can override that.

With the optional Active Parking Assist with Parktronic and surround-view camera, automatic parking is possible. The system searches for and helps select an appropriate parking space. Once it locates a spot, the system can automatically park the E-Class.

Under the Hood

In the Mercedes-Benz tradition, engine choices are tied firmly to trim levels. For the 2021 model year, the Mercedes-Benz E 350 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 255 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. It drives either the rear wheels or all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. The rear-drive-only E 350e plug-in hybrid teams its 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor to deliver 315 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft of torque.

An innovative new powertrain graces the E 450 model. Instead of the old V-6 engine, it is now equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder that features a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. In total, the powertrain supplies 362 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2021 E 450 comes exclusively all-wheel drive, and it uses a 9-speed automatic transmission.

The 2021 AMG E 53 also includes all-wheel-drive and features a highly tuned, turbocharged version of the 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder that delivers 429 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque. It, too, uses a 9-speed automatic.

Safety

The new E-Class will feature the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems that are designed for both safety and driving ease. For example, the sedan and All-Terrain have capacitive steering wheels that sense if the driver is gripping them. If the system detects that the driver does not have hands on the steering wheel for a certain period, a series of warnings begin, culminating in the activation of Emergency Brake Assist if the driver continues to be inactive.

Active Brake Assist is standard on the 2021 E-Class. In many situations, it will brake automatically to prevent a collision or mitigate its severity. In typical urban driving, the system is able to brake for stationary vehicles and pedestrians crossing in front of the car.

Active Stop-and-Go Assist is designed to keep the vehicle within its lane at a safe distance from the vehicle ahead at speeds up to around 35 mph. It is perfect for negotiating traffic jams.

Additional available driver-assistance features will include a lane-keeping assistance system, a blind-spot warning system, and a "turning maneuver" forward collision-avoidance system.

Technology

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class represents the next logical step in the luxury brand's efforts to fill its cockpits with giant display screens. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system features two 12.3-inch screens arranged side by side for a wider-than-widescreen appearance. Four different display styles are available to suit your whim: Modern Classic, Sport, Progressive, and Discreet.

Beyond the configurable graphics, the navigation display offers available augmented reality. When the navigaton function is active a video image of the E-Class's surroundings is enhanced with helpful information. For instance, arrows or house numbers are automatically superimposed directly onto the image in the display.

Additionally, the optional MBUX Interior Assistant allows intuitive, natural operation of various comfort and infotainment functions via movement recognition and gesture control.

Mercedes-Benz is the source of the information in this article. It was accurate as of March 4, 2020, but may have changed since that date.

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