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With light styling tweaks, new equipment and a more urgent and refined powertrain, the facelifted E-Class continues to deliver a highly impressive and comfortable experience.

28 Jan 2021


When it comes to effortless comfort and premium luxury, the default choice within the executive sedan segment is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. 

With its sublime ride, supreme comfort and elevated quality and style, the E-Class has established itself as the standard bearer for the brand - it is still the brand's best-selling model.

The W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class was launched in 2016, and now it has been given a mid-cycle facelift to keep it fresh amidst tough competition. How does it fare in 2021?

A finer touch

The car's reworked front end definitely helps it stand apart from a C-Class
Visually, the E-Class remains identifiably familiar, but slight changes have been made. The front-end features more chrome bits and a re-shaped grille. And, in this Exclusive trim, you get an upright star on the bonnet, which harkens back to the slightly more traditional, high-luxury ethos of older models.

It's not ground-breaking, the design changes, but the effect is undeniable. One of the major gripes about the pre-facelift model was that it looked too much like a C-Class. Which E-Class driver wants to be mistaken for driving a lesser car? That won't be the case anymore - the E-Class now looks recognisably different enough from a C-Class, especially with the upright star on the bonnet.

Modern talking

The new steering wheel puts plenty of functions at your fingertips, but the new touch controls are a little bit finicky to use
The cabin is a familiarly high-class affair from before, but updated further. The E-Class now runs an updated MBUX system, with massive twin 12.3-inch screens. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which you'll want to use because the car doesn't come standard with navigation. The touchpad in the centre console is also new - this flat, much bigger touchpad is notably more comfortable and easier to use than the previous design.

There's also a new steering wheel that looks sleek and flashy, with much more controls available on it than before, operated on control surfaces finished in a gloss black finish. However, the redesigned touch controls on the steering wheel are confusingly more finicky to use than before. Mercedes says that the physical principle has been changed from optical to capacitive, and in our experience makes it less responsive than before.

The E-Class comes equipped with the Mercedes me connect suite of features
The usable area isn't clearly defined (you can slide on the home and back buttons), and it doesn't always detect your swipes clearly. Location-wise, it's also a little ergonomically inconvenient - it's a little higher than where your thumb would naturally be placed when holding the wheel at the three and nine o-clock positions.

And, the E-Class also now receives the Mercedes me connect suite of functions and services, with gives you access to a range of convenience features that will certainly make your life easier. 

Pump up and go

The 2.0-litre engine delivers improved performance, refinement and efficiency 
Under the bonnet, you will find the M264 2.0-litre engine. The engine is fitted with a 48V electrical system to deliver some fuel-saving functionality. In this E200 model, the engine puts out 194bhp and 320Nm of torque, 10bhp and 20Nm of torque more than before.

On the road, you can definitely feel this power increase. The engine pulls enthusiastically, and the E-Class gathers speed with more verve than expected. On paper, its 0.2 seconds quicker to 100km/h than before, but it honestly feels more than that.

The car's ride still demonstrates great suppleness and comfort, though the suspension does feel a tad bit firmer than before. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Through corners, the E-Class feels more stable and planted than before, with body roll much better controlled.

The E-Class is still highly comfortable and easy to drive
Also, we did find that you sit a little higher than before. A quick look at the spec sheet tells us that the Avantgarde and AMG Line models both have a 15mm lowered suspension, but this Exclusive model doesn't. We're not quite sure why this is the case, but yes, something to note.

Overall refinement is high - noise insulation is excellent, power delivery is smooth and prompt, and the E-Class is just fantastically easy to drive daily.

A fine show

Have the updates fundamentally changed the nature of the E-Class? Of course not. Mercedes wouldn't be foolish enough to mess with its proven recipe.

The facelifted E-Class brings new equipment and features, without taking away from its core qualities of effortless comfort and luxury
Some of the changes are small, but significant. The new engine is much improved. The light design tweaks help distinguish this from the smaller C-Class models (important for a car where image really matters). And of course, you also get a new slew of safety and assistance systems (most of them optional, though).

Some of the changes are less welcome. The new touch controls on the steering wheel are more finicky to use if you're the sort that needs to always be scrolling through different menus on the dashboard.

But fundamentally, the facelifted E-Class remains a refined and comfortable affair, with a touch more class and stylish luxury than before.

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Car Information

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Price

: $306,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1991cc

Horsepower

:

145kW (194 bhp) / 6100 rpm

Torque

:

320 Nm / 4000 rpm

Transmission

:

9G-Tronic (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.5sec

Top Speed

:

240km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.7 km/L

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