The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Has a Fresh Face and a Smooth Inline-Six
The Germans still know how to make a stately sedan.
Regular readers of The Drive will have already gotten a decent look at the facelifted Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but in case you missed those leaked shots, here's the real thing in all its official press photo glory. As you might've guessed, the mid-size Merc gets new fascias front and back, updated assisted driving tech, and an all-new steering wheel that controls the latest version of MBUX for its mid-cycle refresh. Mercedes is debuting the car in three main flavors: vanilla, mild-AMG, and—for the first time—a lightly-lifted wagon dubbed All-Terrain.
For those who just want a relatively normal Mercedes sedan, the refreshed E-Class can be had as a 2.0-liter E 350 or a 3.0-liter E 450 making 255 and 362 horsepower, respectively. That 3.0-liter straight-six also comes with a 48-volt mild hybrid system, marking the first electrified E-Class that'll be available in the U.S. Speaking of electrification, an E 350e can also be had which takes the regular E 350's turbo-four and couples it to a 90-kW plug-in hybrid electric motor for 315 combined hp.
Step up to the Mercedes-AMG E 53 and the 3.0-liter, turbocharged straight-six is now "AMG-enhanced" to make 429 hp. This flavor of E-Class naturally gets a different front grille design, different LED headlights, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, AMG wheels, sport suspension, and sportier AWD tuning. It'll accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.4 seconds. No, it isn't the top-dog E 63 with the hand-built V8 but that version is presumably coming soon.
For E-Class buyers with aspirations a little less "Nürburgring" and a little more "campsites near the Nürburgring," there's the new E 450 All-Terrain. With its wagon lines and black plastic body cladding, it's clearly been inspired by and designed to take on the Audi A6 Allroad. Backing up its position as the adventurer's E-Class is standard air suspension and two off-road driving modes: Offroad and Offroad+ with downhill speed regulation.
Par for the mid-cycle refresh course, Mercedes has updated the available Driver Assistance Package and fitted all 2021 E-Classes with its most up-to-date version of MBUX. Stepping inside, the most noticeable change current E owners will likely notice are the new steering wheels. They now feature capacitive buttons and hands-off detection and despite being covered in gloss black, are apparently less prone to fingerprints than the old wheels since the now-capacitive Touch Control Buttons no longer use a mechanical system. Frankly, we're not entirely sure how that makes any sense but are looking forward to finding out firsthand. That flat-bottomed AMG steering definitely looks cool, though.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will hit U.S. dealerships by late 2020.
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