The mid-sized Mercedes-Benz E-class (or by other names) has been a cornerstone of the range for closing in on 70 years, yet its relevance and popularity has never been more acute. The current W213 generation has been a big success, so to keep it fresh Mercedes has given it a bunch of new tech, updated styling and fresh powertrains.
New for the updated E-class is a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine under a M 254 designation. This is the second unit to be based on Mercedes-Benz’s modular engine design, featuring the same fuel-saving technologies as the larger in-line six-cylinder M 256.
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All versions are assisted by a mild-hybrid system, with an integrated starter motor and generator taking some of the strain away from the combustion process at low rpms. The four-pot also features a single twin-scroll turbocharger, and a secondary electric compressor to improve low-rpm response. In addition to this new petrol, a range of diesel and plug-in hybrid models will also be available, all of which will be connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or all-wheel drive.
Revealed alongside the standard E-class is an updated E53 AMG, which will now serve as the only AMG model to sit below the still-to-be revealed E63 S – resulting in the death of the thirsty, yet charismatic AMG 43 twin-turbo V6. The new E53 continues with its version of the M 256 in-line six-cylinder petrol engine, boosted by a combination of gas-driven turbochargers, an integrated starter motor generator and electrically driven compressor. Power and torque figures for this flagship model will remain the same at 429bhp and 383lb ft of torque, with the electric motor adding a further 20bhp and 184lb ft.
Alongside these new powertrain elements, the E-class has also picked up a subtly updated exterior design that previews the new S-class due later this year, and C-class in early 2021. The new, softer aesthetic is highlighted at the front by the new bulbous headlights which are LED as standard across the range, topped by a new Multibeam unit. More assertive changes are found at the rear, where Mercedes has dropped the small upright tail light of the current model in favour of a more in-vogue horizontal unit that bleeds into the bootlid.
E53 models still share the same basic aesthetic as the lesser AMG-line siblings, but do now add a panamericana grille with vertical slats to the four round exhaust outlets to signal the more serious underpinnings.
The E-class’s interior design is largely unchanged, although the large tablet-like display is now standard, albeit with two different screen sizes depending on which model you choose. As standard, most models are fitted with two 10.25-inch displays, but most will upgrade to the full-size 12.3-inch units, which function on Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system. The new E-class will also debut a new steering wheel design with no less than four touch-sensitive spokes, each with a plethora of functions that will doubtlessly require familiarisation. The E-class’s already comprehensive suite of autonomous and safety aids has been updated.
Estate and All-Terrain body styles also include the saloon’s updates, although we’ll have to wait a tad longer to see the revised Coupe, Cabriolet and full-fat E63 S models. UK customer cars will arrive in May this year, with pricing and full specifications due sometime before.