2021 Mercedes E-Class Makes Debut, Thinks It’s an SUV Now

Almost as old as World War II, the best-selling model in the history of Mercedes-Benz is substantially updated for 2021, starting with the sedan and wagon.

Following five generations of W-branded midsize cars, the fifth-generation E-Class now sports a more expressive look as evidenced by the redesigned grille and front bumper as well as the pronounced power domes on the hood. It also gets new full-LED headlights and taillights, new wheel designs and additional body colours.

Showing even more character and rugged looks, the wagon receives the All-Terrain treatment (already offered in Europe but not in Canada) with a front skid plate and body cladding around the wheel arches and lower panels—similar to the Audi A6 allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country. This variant is visually more similar to the brand’s SUV models.

Photo: Daimler

The E-Class interior continues to emphasize comfort, ergonomics, fit and finish, particularly with new appointment colours and materials. The adaptive driver's seat adjustment is particularly convenient: when the height of the body is entered on the media display or via the Mercedes me assistant, the seat automatically moves into a usually fitting position, which you only need to fine-tune afterwards.

Of course, the focal point of the cabin is the latest generation of the MBUX multimedia system, comprised of two 12.3-inch displays mounted side by side and accompanied by voice command and augmented-reality navigation as standard.

Photo: Daimler

Under the hood, a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine replaces the V6 in the E 450 4MATIC. While power (362 hp) and torque (369 lb-ft) are unchanged, the addition of an EQ Boost 48-volt mild hybrid system temporarily delivers an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. The high-performance Mercedes-AMG E 53 is turbocharged and produces 429 hp along with 384 lb-ft of torque.

For the first time in Canada, the E-Class will also offer a plug-in hybrid option (later availability). We’re talking about a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a 90-kW electric motor for a total of 315 hp and 516 lb-ft. EV range is not specified yet, however. As for the base E 350 4MATIC, it will likely come back with the 255-hp turbo-four.  

Photo: Daimler

The array of next-generation driving assistance systems is really impressive. Consider the new steering wheel with capacitive hands-off detection (during semi-autonomous driving), Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC cruise control with route-based speed adjustment, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist (which also works when steering into the oncoming traffic lane), and Enhanced Active Parking Assist. With that last feature, the car can now park itself automatically not only in parallel and end-on parking spaces, but also on marked areas.

Built at the same state-of-the-art production facility as the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe, the new 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class models will arrive in the showrooms of Canadian dealers by the end of summer. Pricing has yet to be announced, but you should know that the outgoing sedan and wagon retail from $63,100 and $76,400, respectively.

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