2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class refresh brings All-Terrain and PHEV models to America

Joel Stocksdale

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The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is getting a thorough styling update for the new model year, plus a few other detail changes. The V6 is gone, America is finally getting the All-Terrain wagon, and there's a plug-in hybrid sedan on the way.

Unsurprisingly, styling updates are restrained. At the front, the headlights and grille have more of a downturn at the ends for a more aggressive look. The lower grille openings look more like the AMG models, and all E-Class models now get the double power domes on the hood. The rear sees more major changes with the more vertical lights of the current model giving way to the slim horizontal ones of the new car. This gives the the E-Class a rear deck that looks lower and wider. These changes apply both to the regular E-class models as well as the E 53 AMG. Inside, the only major updates are new steering wheels with capacitive sensors, instead of wheel torque sensors for checking if the driver's hands are on the wheel, and standard 12.3-inch screens for both the instruments and infotainment.

The new All-Terrain takes advantage of some of these changes, too. However, its lower grilles are smaller and have a sort of faux skid plate design integrated at the front and back. It keeps all the distinct black plastic body cladding to give it the crossover look that it's had since its introduction to Europe a few years ago. It comes with standard all-wheel drive, air suspension, off-road driving modes and hill descent control.

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Both the All-Terrain and E 450 now get a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with 48-volt hybrid assist instead of the old V6. Despite being a completely different engine, the straight six makes the same 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque as the outgoing V6. It's paired with the Mercedes 9-speed automatic. Lower trim E-Class models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as standard with 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque using the same kind of 9-speed auto. The E 53 continues with its version of the 3.0-liter inline-six with an electrically boosted turbocharger and 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.

Mercedes is also bringing a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the U.S. for the E 350e. This sedan will use the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but will be coupled with a 90-kW electric motor to make a combined 315 horsepower and a massive 516 pound-feet of torque. The sedan will only be offered with rear-wheel drive, with the engine and motor sending power through the 9-speed automatic. Fuel economy and range for this powertrain, along with the others, has yet to be announced.

Pricing also hasn't been revealed for the new E-Class models. But that should be available close to the on-sale date of all the new E-Class cars, which is late 2020.

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