Mercedes-Benz E-Class getting tech, visual updates for 2021

Mercedes-Benz is preparing to give the fifth-generation E-Class a mid-cycle update that will include visual tweaks, more advanced driver assistance features, and new hybrid technology. The face-lifted sedan could make its public debut during the 2020 Geneva auto show opening its doors to the press on March 3.

The E’s suite of available electronic driving aids will include Active Distance Assist with Route-Based Speed Adjustment, which relies on live traffic information to detect a traffic jam well before the driver sees it and preemptively reduce the car’s speed to around 62 mph. When you’ve joined the traffic jam, the E can keep itself in its lane (assuming they’re marked) and maintain a safe distance between it and the car in front at speeds of up to 37 mph. It automatically brakes if it detects a collision with an oncoming car is imminent (while turning left, for example), and its blind spot detection system warns the front passengers if they’re about to open the door into a bicycle, a motorcycle, or another car. Bundled together, these features will make the E-Class safer than before.

The on-board 360-degree camera gives the driver a better view of the car’s side while parking, and the Urban Guard function adds peace of mind by keeping a digital eye on the E-Class while it’s parked. It warns the owner if someone bumps into the car or tows it away. If thieves do take it, the app-based service lets law enforcement officials track it via GPS, and it allows the owner to deactivate the key using a smartphone.

Mercedes outlined two new engines, starting with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged to 268 horsepower. It’s fitted with 48-volt mild hybrid technology that provides a 20-horsepower boost for short bursts of time. The firm’s 3.0-liter straight-six will replace the 3.0-liter V6 as the mid-range option. It delivers 362 horsepower, but the aforementioned mild hybrid system temporarily increases that number to 382 when extra power is needed.

Plug-in hybrid technology will spread across the range, though it’s too early to tell what the American-spec model will and won’t get. Rear-wheel drive will continue to come standard, and 4Matic all-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost. Looking ahead, we expect the AMG-tuned E53 and E63 S models will return with more power.

Images of fully-camouflaged test mules hint at minor visual changes, including a wider grille, new-look headlights, and a redesigned lower bumper. The rear lights receive a nip-and-tuck, too. The restyling isn’t dramatic, but it should allow the redesigned E-Class to easily stand out from the model currently found on dealer lots.

Mercedes will begin delivering the face-lifted E-Class to European customers in the summer of 2020, a timing which suggests the model will make its global debut in Geneva. Nothing is official yet, and the company hasn’t commented on American availability. It’s reasonable to assume we’ll see it during the 2021 model year. The wagon will go on sale at the same time as the sedan, while the coupe and the convertible variants will arrive later.

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