Mercedes-Benz has given its bread-and-butter E-Class a refresh for 2021, which sees its All-Terrain lifted wagon finally arriving Stateside.
The E-Class remains one of Merc’s best-selling models globally and in the US. It sold 40,113 units in America in 2019: a 13.6 percent drop year-on-year sure, but the smallest change across the three-pointed star’s sedan lineup. Mercedes will be hoping this facelift stems the losses, not least because it’s introducing a model Americans should like: a high-riding, soft-roading wagon.
The All-Terrain has been a part of the European lineup since 2017. It benefits from a higher ride height and some SUV-esque styling cues, namely some black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and a stylized skid plate down in front. As standard it comes with all-wheel drive and an air suspension system. Selectable driving modes, including those for off-roading, are a part of the package, as is hill descent control.
Like the rest of range, the All-Terrain enjoys a new design more in-line with the modern Merc lineup. That means smaller, squintier all-LED headlights, with horizontal taillights like the little A-Class sedan. These design changes emphasize the width of the E-Class. The mid-sizer also adopts two thin “power domes” on the hood in both sedan and All-Terrain trims, a la the AMG models.
Underhood, the E450 trim — the only available option for the All-Terrain — drops the V6 for the turbocharged inline-six found elsewhere in the lineup. It comes paired with a 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid setup. The ICE provides the same 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque as before, but should provide better fuel mileage thanks to its ability to shut off for highway coasting. A 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder remains as the base powerplant, continuing to pump out a respectable 255 hp and 273 lb-ft. Both models direct power through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Sedans will be available with either rear- or all-wheel drive.
The four-pot also features in the new-to-USA E350e plug-in hybrid. Shacked up with a 90-kW electric motor, the E350e will produce a combined 315 hp and 516 lb-ft. It sticks to rear-wheel drive only, and the same nine-speed auto as the rest of the lineup. Mercedes has yet to announce range or charging times.
The E53 AMG also adopts the new looks. The 3.0-liter inline-six stars here too, with Affalterbach coaxing 429 hp and 384 lb-ft out of it. The EQ Boost system adds an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. Expect an updated E63, with well over 600 hp from its bonkers turbo V8, to show up later this year.
Inside, the big news is the addition of MBUX, Mercedes’ latest infotainment system. A pair of 12.3-inch screens is standard, and it comes with the same perks as the system in the A-Class, including “Hey Mercedes” functionality, customizable gauges, and more. New trim colors and finishes are naturally part of the update. A new steering wheel, complete with “blades” for more buttons, is also standard. It includes touch-capacitive capabilities to ensure drivers have their hands on the wheel for the E’s semi-autonomous driving aids.
Ah yes, tech. An available Driver Assistance Package includes Active Speed Limit Assist. This pulls data from maps and the traffic sign assist to adjust the car’s speed. It can also preemptively slow down for curves, toll booths, roundabouts and similar things. The package also includes a feature capable of pulling live traffic info and adjusting the speed ahead of reaching a jam. When it does encounter one, the E can handle stop-and-go traffic at up to 35 mph, stopping for up to one minute at a time.
Should the car sense the driver isn’t paying attention or is unable to control the car via the touch-capacitive steering wheel, it can pull over and come to a stop.
Finally, the bad news: if you’re a fan of the regular E-Class wagon, you’ll want to grab one quickly: the All-Terrain effectively replaces it in America. Womp womp.
Mercedes will announce pricing and further model details closer to the 2021 E-Class’ autumn on-sale window. Expect a modest sticker increase across the board.