The excellent E-Class benefits from a mid-cycle update for 2021, and earns the honor of being MotorTrend's 2021 Car of the Year. Sitting at the center of Mercedes-Benz's lineup of sedans, the E-Class is priced above the C-Class, but below the CLS- and S-Class four-doors. Originally introduced for the 2017 model year, the current-generation E-Class competes with other midsize luxury sedans including the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Genesis G80.
See MotorTrend rankings of midsize luxury sedans here.
The E-Class is the heart of the Mercedes-Benz lineup and the folks in Stuttgart have mostly nailed this one. When we evaluated the 2017 E, our First Test praised its high-quality material choices, interior layout, and minimal body roll. And with the 2021 model, the E-Class has become our 2021 Car of the Year.
When we drove the coupe and wagon variants as part of our 2018 Car of the Year competition, although the coupe turned out to be a dynamic letdown, our words about the wagon were near universally positive. We loved its available rear-facing jump seats, and like the sedan, it drives like it was "carved from steel and rebar-reinforced granite." A few editors did aim criticism at the tight rear seat. The breadth of the E-Class range is one of its greatest strengths. Thanks to updates made to the 2021 model, we've found dynamic improvements in the coupe and convertible, as well as in the popular sedan.
In our 2021 Car of the Year winner story, senior features editor Jonny Lieberman explained: "The Mercedes feels three times as well built, as well engineered, as sophisticated as the competition. [It's] a superior vehicle in terms of ride quality, dynamics, kinematics, or any other measurements you can think of. You feel the difference."
The revised styling and updated active safety tech make the E-Class especially appetizing for 2021. From when we rode in camouflaged 2021 models early in 2020 to driving examples of the sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon, the solidity and quality are immediately apparent. The newly revised active safety tech stood out, operating almost undetectably. We've had some trouble with the MBUX infotainment system in the past, but the E-Class' available air suspension provides one of the smoothest rides you can get in any luxury sedan at any price. As a package, Mercedes' bread and butter model is as satisfying as ever.
All performance and fuel economy figures refer to the E-Class sedan rather than the coupe, cabriolet, or wagon.
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo-four
Horsepower: 255 hp
Torque: 273 lb-ft
0-60: 6.5 seconds
Engine: 3.0-liter turbo inline-six mild hybrid
Horsepower: 362 hp
Torque: 369 hp
0-60 (est. ): 5.0 seconds
Engine: 3.0-liter turbo inline-six mild hybrid with electric supercharger
Horsepower: 429 hp
Torque: 384 lb-ft
0-60 (est. ): 4.4 seconds
Engine: 4.0-liter biturbo V-8
Horsepower: 603 hp
Torque: 627 lb-ft
0-60: 3.2 seconds
Mercedes-Benz showrooms are packed with different variants of the E-Class, and we're not just talking about its variety of powertrain options. In addition to the sedan, the E-Class is offered as a two-door coupe, a soft-top convertible, and a cargo-hauling wagon. New for 2021, the previously Euro-exclusive E-Class All-Terrain offers a lifted ride height and SUV-like styling to compete with cars like the Audi A6 Allroad.
The E-Class puts up a strong performance in safety testing conducted by the IIHS. A 2020-model-year version of the E-Class earned top scores in all six crashworthiness tests, as well as front crash prevention and child seat anchor ease of use. The standard headlight receives an Acceptable score and the highest possible Good score for the upgraded units. With the better headlights, the 2020 E-Class is a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick+. The 2020 model of the midsize German sedan also earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
The standard E-Class sedan offers seating for five, though coupes and convertibles restrict seating to four with tighter rear legroom. Go for a non-AMG wagons and you'll find two rear-facing jump seats in the cargo area, expanding seating capacity to seven. Cargo capacity in the trunk of the sedan measures just 13.1 cubic feet, but in the case of the wagon, there are 35.0 cubic feet behind the rear seats and up to 64.0 cubes with the seats folded down.
All E-Class models now feature two connected 12.3-inch digital displays: one serving as a fully digital instrument cluster and the other as the touchscreen infotainment display. The MBUX infotainment logic is new to the E-Class family for 2021. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and integrated navigation are included on all models.
Exterior: 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights
Interior and Convenience: Dual 12.3-inch instrument cluster and infotainment displays, MBUX digital assistant, integrated navigation, ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, proximity key, blind-spot monitoring, driver and passenger seat memory, automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning
Exterior: AMG body styling
Interior and Convenience: Front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree camera system, AMG Drive Unit steering wheel
Performance: AMG-tuned 3.0-liter mild hybrid inline-six, AMG Performance AWD system, AMG air suspension
Exterior: 20-inch AMG wheels
Interior and Convenience: Heated steering wheel, heated front armrests
Performance: AMG-tuned 4.0-liter biturbo V-8, AMG Performance AWD system with drift mode, AMG air suspension, dynamic engine mounts, AMG performance exhaust
|$0||0.99% Financing for a maximum term of 36 Months - Mercedes-Benz announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|
|$0||1.99% Financing available for varying term lengths : 48, 60, 72 Months - Mercedes-Benz announces APR rates on select models.||06-30-2021|