2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class rules the mid-size luxury roost, with a beautiful interior, twin-turbo thrust, and state-of-the-art safety. Choices include a sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon. Two AMG versions are offered: a mild hybrid and an even higher-performance beast.
For 2020, the base sedan gets its name changed from E 300 to E 350, with a bit more power from its turbo-4 engine. The E 450 is an awesome twin-turbo V-6, while the AMGs are a no-compromise mild-hybrid AMG E 53 and the track-slaying AMG E 63. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive available.
The coupe and convertible are gorgeous but compromise their practicality compared to the sedan. The wagon makes up for it with cargo space that rivals an SUV, compared to the sedan’s small trunk.
Automatic emergency braking is standard, while a reasonably priced package adds adaptive cruise control and active safety features that help center the car in its lane and change lanes at the tap of a turn signal. The E-Class won’t drive itself, but it does take some of the stress out of crowded freeway driving.
The E 350 is EPA-rated at 23 mpg city, 32 highway, 26 combined with rear-wheel drive, or 1 less mpg with all-wheel drive, on premium fuel. The E 450 gets 23 mpg, while the AMG E53 gets 24 mpg thanks to its mild-hybrid technology.
Then there’s the AMG E 63, which gets nearly 20 mpg, quite amazing for more than 600 horsepower.
The NHTSA rates the E-Class at five stars overall in safety, while the IIHS gives some models its Top Safety Pick+ award; even the models with standard LED headlights get high marks.
Automatic emergency braking is standard, while blind-spot monitors and rear side airbags are optional but should be standard, for a car like this with a price like this.
The E 350 sedan starts at the mid-$50,000 level. Standard equipment includes synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and two USB ports.
Add the Premium package with its upgraded Burmester audio, heated front seats, wireless charging pad, blind-spot monitors, and keyless ignition, and then toss in the safety package that includes Level 2 self-driving features plus perhaps the air suspension and you can keep the tab to under $65,000.
The E 450 starts at about $60,000, with its twin-turbo V-6 and all-wheel drive.
Jump to the mild-hybrid AMG E 53 with a few options and you’ll find yourself investing six figures. That’s the price that might get you started with the uber-powerful AMG E 63.
The curvy body is lovely, no matter which body style we’re talking about. The least lovely is the E 350 sedan, with its wide grille, subtly flared fenders, and sloping tail. The wagon has beautiful proportions. Its tailgate has wider taillights like those on the coupe.
The E-Class coupe and convertible are the lookers of the group. Coupes feature a roofline that dives toward the end of the rear bumper for an almost fastback-style profile. Convertibles aren’t as dramatic, but their cloth roof gives them a timeless elegance.
Mercedes has largely done away with its traditional hood ornaments in favor of a big three-pointed star on the grille. The star can be illuminated.
The E-Class cabin is divine, impressively blending high-tech with retro in flowing lines. Most models have two digital displays, one an instrument cluster and the other a touchscreen for the infotainment system. The 12.3-inch screen is bright, though its tablet-like interface can prove distracting. That’s why we like the standard Apple CarPlay compatibility.
There’s a wide band of trim underneath that can either be metal or several types of lacquered wood, matching the center console and door trim. Mood lighting and intricate stitching on the standard synthetic or optional real leather elevate the experience.
Power-adjustable seats are standard up front. Options include cooling, heating, massaging and heated armrests for the truly pampered.
Sedans are spacious for four adults, with good rear leg room at 36 inches, but they have a small trunk of only 13.1 cubic feet. Convertibles have good head room with the top up but, not surprisingly, little back-seat space. Wagons are just about perfect, with 35 cubic feet behind the rear seat, and the E 450 has a folding rear-facing third row for kids.
The engine in the E 350 is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque; that’s 14 more horsepower than last year. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive runs $2,500 and will be found on most dealers’ cars outside of the sun belt. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard in every E-Class.
We haven’t driven the 2020 E 350, but the E 300 was already brisk, so it’s safe to say there’s enough power, especially with that strong torque. The E-Class weighs about 4,000 pounds, which is a lot of bulk for any engine to carry, but this little turbo-4 does the job.
However, to do the job with less effort, or to do a bigger job, there is the E 450 with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 making 362 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. We got seat time in an E 450 wagon, carrying passengers and suitcases, and it was still a rocket–a silent one. The wagons and sedans are all-wheel drive, while the E 450 coupe and convertible are rear-wheel drive, with an option for all-wheel drive.
The standard coil-spring suspension delivers a plush ride, with enough capability on winding roads to be interesting. But the optional air suspension provides one of the finest rides known to man.
The all-wheel-drive AMG E 53 uses a 429-hp 3.0-liter inline turbo-6, with a 48-volt electric starter-generator wedged between the engine and transmission that can add a hefty 184 lb-ft of torque when called upon. The result is V-8 power with 6-cylinder fuel economy. Actually, it’s more than V-8 power.
But not more than AMG E 63 V-8 power. Nothing in the real world is more than that. Try 603 horsepower, from its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8.
And still it handles all-wheel drive, biased toward the rear, of course. Its firm suspension and beefy brakes (with optional carbon ceramic rotors) make it comfortable on the track. Imagine the ultimate: an AMG E 63 wagon hustling around a road course.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class can be configured to almost any driver, whether it’s an E 350 sedan or an AMG E 63 sedan. On every model, excellent safety and build quality deliver the Mercedes experience buyers expect—as well as the performance of a true luxury car.
—By Sam Moses, with driving impressions by The Car Connection