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2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan Review: Expected Price, Release Date, MPG and Performance

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist July 31, 2020 at 10:28 AM
After being unveiled in 2017, the fifth-gen Mercedes E-class gets a mild revision for its 2021 model. The famed luxury sedan gets new headlights and tail lamps, new grille, bolder lines, and an updated suite of tech and infotainment features. Apart from three new exterior paint options, the long-awaited E350e plug-in hybrid also finally gets the green card for 2021.

Since its launch in 1994, the Mercedes E-Class has been one of the major products that have taken the “luxury” quotient of Mercedes to a whole new level. Not only that, but the popular saloon has also been involved in consistently raising the bar of its segment only to be followed by its rivals. Evolving over the years, the present 2020 Mercedes E-Class is in its fifth-generation which was unveiled in 2017. The E-Class today feels nothing less than an S-Class wrapped in a relatively compact package.

 

Elegant and premium looks, super-comfortable ride and a lavish cabin are some of the key highlights of the E-Class. Not to forget its diverse powertrain options and an advanced tech-suite that comes along with it. Mostly unchanged in the successive model years of 2018, 2019 and 2020, the fifth-gen E-Class gets a refresh for its 2021 model. The 2021 Mercedes E-class gets a revised front and rear face, updated tech and infotainment, and a new and smaller plug-in hybrid powertrain. These were the ingredients though, we check out here how the final recipe of the 2021 Mercedes E-Class looks like.

What's New with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

  • Revised front and rear styling
  • Updated tech and infotainment
  • New 350e plug-in hybrid model
  • Inline-6 replaces the V6 in the E450

What’s the expected price and release date of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

No official word on pricing though but Mercedes-Benz has stated that it will launch the 2021 E-Class in the States in fall 2020. With the subsequent revisions though, a bump in base prices is very likely to follow. Expect the 2021 Mercedes E-350 to start from $56,000 while the E-450 might carry a base MSRP of around $63,000.

What to expect in the engine department of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The 2021 Mercedes E-Class would still be powered by two engines in its regular line-up, but with a twist though. Gone is the V6 and the E-450 now packs a new 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 which is accompanied by a 48V hybrid electric supercharger. The new powertrain not only provides smoother and enhanced torque delivery down the initial rev-range but also promises a better economy.

The E350 on the other hand fits in the familiar turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. New for 2021 though, is the E350e plug-in hybrid which pairs the base turbo engine with an electric motor to deliver a combined output of 315 hp. Sadly though, the 350e could be grabbed only with an RWD configuration without the optional AWD available on the E350.

While the new E450’s inline-6 motor yet remains to be tested, it is expected to surpass our expectations. Thanks to the 48-volt EQ Boost electric technology. The E450 would still be the ideal choice for those looking for that extra punch and quick take-offs. The base E350 on the would continue to provide a great balance of power, refinement and a poised character complementing the E-Class’ core attributes. 

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 (Expected)

2020 Audi A7

2020 BMW 540i xDrive

2020 Jaguar XF S

Base MSRP

$63,000 (est)

$69,000

$61,750

$68,200

Engine

3.0-liter turbo inline-6

3.0-liter turbo V6

3.0-liter turbo inline-6

3.0-liter supercharged V6

Transmission

9-speed Automatic

7-speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

362 @ 6000

335 @ 5000

335 @ 5500

380 @ 6500

Torque

369 @ 1800

369 @ 1370

332 @ 1380

332 @ 4500

0-60 Mph (sec)

4.8

5.3

5.1

5.2

Quarter-mile (sec)

13.3

13.8

13.5

13.5

The power-band as well as the powertrain in all the rivals of the E-Class is almost similar. However, in terms of number, the Jaguar XF S has the most powerful mid-tier engine. But do remember that Mercedes and Audi A7 also have their bonkers AMG and RS versions which the Jag misses out. Though the Mercedes E450 falls 18 hp shorter to the XF S, the gentle Merc is the quickest among the competition here with a 0-60 time of just 4.8 seconds. 

How many miles to the gallon will the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class deliver?

The 2021 Mercedes E-class sedan is awaited for its MPG figures but provided the 2020 E-Class already has some impressive figures, the 2021 model is expected to aim even higher. Thanks to the available 48-volt EQ Boost electric motor, especially on the E450. While our expectations will only meet reality once the 2021 E-Class is released, the current model does things good enough. A 2020 Mercedes E450 delivers a 23 combined mpg which is in line with its class average. 

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2020 Audi A7

2020 BMW 5 Series

2020 Jaguar XF

MPG (city)

20*

22

22

20

MPG (highway)

28*

29

29

28

MPG (combined)

23*

24

25

23

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

21.1*

19.3

18

19.5

Range (city/highway) (miles)

422/591/485*

506.4/654.1/NA

396/540/450

390/546/448

*2020 Figures used for reference

Though the 2020 E-Class’ is not the most frugal in its segment it is also not far behind the best. With respect to its power, dimensions and overall character though, the Merc seems to deliver a fairly acceptable economy. While all the cars in the competition are somewhat close in terms of mpg figures, the BMW 540i takes a small lead with its 25 combined mpg’s.

How is the 2021 Mercedes E-Class expected to ride and handle?

With no great mechanical or dimensional changes, the 2021 Mercedes E-Class should carry similar on-road manners as its 2020 counterpart. On the move though, the E-Class largely reciprocates its exterior stature. Elegant, relaxed and comfortable. While the standard suspension is nicely balanced for everyday tasks, grab the optional air springs and the Merc floats over everything. Road bumps are soaked without any niggle with well-controlled road-noise as well. However, interactions with deeper potholes do translate inside the cabin. Apart from that the Merc remains very firm and poised on the go.

 

The available 4Matic all-wheel-drive system though keeps a check on traction-delivery and body-movements, you do feel some heft of the E-Class around corners. Thanks to its significantly larger proportions though. The steering wheel might not be the most talkative but it's precise and direct enough for everyday driving. While the communication with the road might be numb at times, the steering-wheel seamlessly varies its weight across different drive modes to optimize maneuverability. 

What to expect from the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class interior?

On the inside of the 2021 Mercedes E-Class, the changes are minimal though. Apart from the updated infotainment and redesigned steering wheel, changes are very hard to find though. A new touchpad sits at the center-console now and there are new upholstery options introduced for the 2021 E-Class. As usual, though, the 5-seat passenger cabin is well decorated with aluminum touch and wood texture detailings spread inside. Known for its best-in-class quality, the materials wrapping most of the interior surface feel very soft and supple to touch. The interior layout is clean and minimal as usual and the good seat height provides decent outward visibility as well. 

The seats have nice bolstering to take care of the back and head along with very comfortable under-thigh support. The seats are 10-way power-adjustable with optional functions like heated, ventilated, and massaging. The 64-color ambient lightning sparkles the cabin, while dual-zone climate control circulates fresh air inside, and keeps it breezy. Not the overall best in class for sure but the E-Class offers ample room at both its benches. There is enough headroom and legroom to stretch out, especially at the back. Since the 2021 refresh is based upon the reworked front and rear styling, the dimensions and interior space of the E-Class remain the same though.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2020 Audi A7

2020 BMW 5 Series

2020 Jaguar XF

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

37.3/57.8/41.7

37.0/57.2/41.3

38.8/58.7/41.4

40.2/56.9/41.5

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.2/57.1/36.2

37.1/55.9/37.0

37.5/55.9/36.5

38.2/54.9/37.2

Cargo Capacity (ft-lbs)

13.1

24.9

18.7

17.8

*2020 Model used for reference

The 2021 Mercedes E-class can be counted on for both practicality and utility. The small item storage works pretty well inside with cupholders and cubby storage numbering equal to every passenger. The glove box can handle some bigger times too, while side pockets on each door add some more storage for bottles or something with the same size. The rear trunk holds 13.1 cubic-ft cargo capacity that can hold up to 18 carry-on suitcases of the small family ready for a weekend on the trip. Sadly though, all its other rivals offer better space than the E-Class.

2021 Mercedes Benz E-Class Sedan: Infotainment and Connectivity

To start with, the 2021 Mercedes E-class gets the latest MBUX infotainment system which includes a large 12.3-inch LED screen to control the digital functions inside the car. A second 12.3-inch LED works up as the instrument cluster. The union of both screens looks like a large piece of glass floating above the dashboard. The digital driver's display is sharp and has easily visible and is also easy to configure. While the latest MBUX system on the upcoming E-Class awaits testing, it has already impressed us on some of Merc’s latest products. It's known for its crisp and sharp display, clean interface and energetic responses. The infotainment system can be operated via touch and voice commands as well as the touchpad on the center console.

 

Being a Mercedes though, it also gets all the latest tech and connectivity features. The E-Class also equips standard features like SiriusXM Satellite Radio, AM/FM/HD Radio, 2 USB Ports, Bluetooth Hands-Free Connectivity, Auxiliary Cable Input, SD Card Reader, 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot and Heads-Up Display. The last but not the least is the Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Audio needs are taken care of by a 13-speaker Burmester premium audio which can also be upgraded to a 23-speaker unit. While we are still skeptical of it, the 2021 Mercedes E-Class should further enhance its infotainment suite. 

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

It's the outside where the 2021 Mercedes E-Class gets the most severe updates and that too at the front and rear. While the outgoing 2020 E-Class looked gentle and elegant, the new 2021 redesign is a bit more centered around aggression and boldness. The hood has been updated with stronger vertical lines alongside a new front grille that gets chrome or gloss black treatment depending upon the trim.

The headlights are new too with slimmer LED units and the redesigned tail lamps at the back resonate with those on the new CLA. Furthermore, a Graphite Grey, Mojave Silver, and Cirrus Silver are the three new exterior options making into the list of 2021 upgrades, Rest of the bits in its profile though, remain almost the same. However, we do expect that by the time of its launch, Mercedes might add up some new rim designs as well. 

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2020 Audi A7

2020 BMW 5 Series

2020 Jaguar XF

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4134

4332

3942

3870

Length (in.)

193.8

195.6

194.6

195

Width (in.)

73.7

75.1

73.5

78.2

Height (in.)

57.8

56.0

58.2

57.4

Ground Clearance (in.)

3.7

4.2

5.5

4.1

Wheelbase (in.)

115.7

115.2

117.1

116.5

*2020 Figures used for reference

The updated Mercedes E-Class for 2021 though, is a matter of complete subjectivity. Known for its classy appearance for years, the redesign tries to make it a lot more aggressive and sleeker which it isn't from the core. If the aforementioned factors are the buying factors, the Audi A7 and the upcoming redesigned 2021 BMW 5-series are more skilled in those aspects. However, Merc loyalists have a good number of reasons to flock showrooms when the 2021 E-Class is finally launched. 

Will the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class be worth it?

Even after a significant redesign, the 2021 Mercedes E-Class still holds firm on all of its promises. It's comfortable, luxurious, quiet, powerful and loaded with the best and latest gizmos. Perhaps, if (and only), the design language of the previous E-Class couldn’t ring your bells, the refreshed sedan for 2021, gets a lot more youthful and aggressive as well. However, if you want something very stylish along with great driving dynamics, the Audi A7 and BMW 5-series would make a more sensible choice.

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