Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every E-class features an obedient nine-speed automatic transmission that pairs with three distinct engines. The E350 has a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The plug-in-hybrid E350e is only available with rear-wheel drive, but its four-cylinder engine works with an electric motor to generate a total output of 315 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. The E450 is powered by a turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine with a 48-volt hybrid system that doubles as an electric supercharger. The setup sends 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft to either rear- or all-wheel drive. Since the E-class is a comfort-biased car, its handling is competent but not sporty. It leans in corners, but it rarely feels overwhelmed when pushed hard. With the optional air suspension in its Comfort setting, the ride is creamy, and the E-class is perfect for gobbling up lots of road. It glides over pavement imperfections with only slight notification of such unpleasantries communicated to the cabin. With the drive-mode selector set to either Comfort or Eco, the steering is nicely weighted—not too light, not too heavy—and feels accurate. The E-class tracks straight on the freeway with a solid and predictable nature, and feedback from the road is muted.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The E-class’s cabin is beautifully detailed with brushed aluminum, lovely wood, and some of the most comfortable seats we’ve ever tested. Every model comes standard with customizable ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and memory settings for the driver’s and front passenger seat. Desirable options include a head-up display, massaging front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and ventilated front-seat cushions. Under its shapely rear end is a trunk that offers less space than some rivals, but the Benz has them beat when it comes to interior cubby storage. Lowering the rear seatbacks opens up much more space for hauling cargo, but they don’t fold completely flat so loading heavy items may feel like a chore. We still managed to fit 18 of our carry-on suitcases inside the sedan with the rear seats stowed. Both the coupe and convertible models offer a 10-cubic-foot trunk; with the top down, though, the cabriolet model’s available space shrinks considerably. We could only fit two carry-on suitcases inside the trunk with the convertible’s top stowed, but the coupe managed to hold five.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-class epitomizes sophistication with its bleeding technology, classy appearance, and extravagant cabin. Available as a four-door sedan or two-door coupe and cabriolet, the Mercedes can be made to match all manner of upper-class lifestyles. It also offers a set of distinct powertrains that range from an entry-level four-cylinder to a plug-in hybrid to a zesty turbocharged six-cylinder that makes 362 horsepower. The 2021 E-class family chauffeurs passengers in quiet comfort thanks to a serene interior and a pillowy ride. The experience is not unlike a smaller and more affordable version of the ultra-luxurious S-class.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- E350: $52,000 (est.)
- E350e: $58,000 (est.)
- E450: $59,000 (est.)
The 2021 E-class goes on sale at the end of this year, but Mercedes hasn’t yet said how much each model will cost. We expect to see a small increase versus their predecessors, and we recommend the sedan body style. We’d also advocate for the E450, with its potent six-cylinder powertrain and standard 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. It comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, a fully digital dashboard, heated front seats with memory settings, an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and passive entry. To that we’d add the optional air suspension, head-up display, heated steering wheel, multi-contour front seats with massage functions, and ventilated front-seat cushions.