2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class First Look: Refreshed Up Front, Out Back, and Inside

A plug-in hybrid finally makes it to our shores, too

This year's edition of the Geneva auto show unfortunately went kaput, but that hasn't stopped automakers from digitally rolling out their latest and greatest product once destined for the Palexpo floor. Mercedes has one of the largest rosters of fresh debuts of the show, particularly for the E-Class family. The entire E-Class lineup is refreshed from top to bottom, including a touched-up Mercedes-AMG E 53 and a reworked E-Class All-Terrain that's coming to America. The W213-generation of E-Class we've enjoyed since the 2017 model year also gets a new face, new interior trimmings, and new technology for the 2021 model year, along with America's first crack at the plug-in hybrid E 350e sedan.

The most noticeable changes are likely the front fascia, now incorporating a CLS-esque front grille, and the sleeker rear end. Two "power domes" jut from the new front hood, adding a level of AMG-ness to even the base-level E 350, while a new trunklid, bumper, and taillights clean up the rear. Mercedes also mentions new paint colors, wheel designs, and interior upholstery options, including Graphite Grey metallic, Mojave Silver metallic, and Cirrus Silver metallic. Which means get ready for more silver and gray, we guess.

Powertrains are swapped from the 2020 models, with the exception of the base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the E 350 and E 350 4Matic putting out an identical 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque to either the rear- or all-four wheels through the 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with mild hybrid EQ Boost replaces the E450 4Matic's 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6, but it packs the same 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque as the previous engine.

The biggest change on the powertrain side is the plug-in hybrid E 350e sedan, 2021 being the first model year we've had access to the rest-of-world E 350e. Dino juice still provides power in the form of the familiar 2.0-liter turbo-four, augmented by a 90-kW electric motor that contributes to a combined output of 315 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes isn't talking electric-only range yet, but somewhere in the high teens on the EPA cycle is a safe bet.

Inside, buyers are treated to an upgraded infotainment and control system on the optional dual 12.3-inch displays, which operate through either a new MBUX touch control system on the center console or voice control. Other than that, the wild thin-rimmed steering wheel seems to be the biggest change, though Mercedes did promise new materials and colors for the interior upholstery and trim.

So it looks like 2021 just adds more of what we already love on the W213. Want one? Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but don't expect it to be drastically different than the tag hanging from the 2020 model. There's no need to rush, though—dealers won't start taking deliveries until late 2020.


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Automotive Magazine: 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class First Look: Refreshed Up Front, Out Back, and Inside
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class First Look: Refreshed Up Front, Out Back, and Inside
A plug-in hybrid finally makes it to our shores, too
Automotive Magazine
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