There is a sense of confidence and sophistication exuded by luxury sedans that cannot be matched.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been the quintessential executive luxury sedan since the launch of the W124 model in 1993, and it has attracted professionals with its subtle elegance and more youthful appearance when compared to the big daddy Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans. For the fifth generation E-class that was launched in 2017, Mercedes-Benz went with a more matured package. This is the refreshed 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4MATIC, and suddenly we are reminded of all of its charm that made the E-class special again.
The current generation E-Class’ facelift includes a new grille and bumper as well as new light units all around. The design exudes confidence and embraces the subtle elegance that has been present in every E-Class we have seen to date. It has the ideal proportions for a luxury sedan and the optional 19-inch AMG wheels add a splash of sportiness to the overall design that suits the current athleisure trend quite well.
The biggest change to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4MATIC lies beneath the hood, where the engine configuration sees a change from a turbocharged V6 layout to an inline-six cylinder turbocharged engine that is essentially a detuned version of the Mercedes-AMG 53-series units. The new engine has the same 3.0-litre displacement and its power output remains unchanged with 362-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque.
To assist with power and to eliminate turbo-lag, Mercedes-Benz has fitted the powertrain with an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) called the EQ Boost in between the engine and transmission that temporarily adds an extra 21-horsepower and a whopping 184 lb-ft. of torque. Power delivery is creamy smooth with turbo-lag nearly non-existent, and we have never felt the E 450 4MATIC to be underpowered in any situations.
Vibrations and harshness are kept to a minimal also; this engine is one of the smoothest six-cylinders in the industry today and the EQ Boost technology is the best of these ‘mild hybrid’ applications thus far. Just like its power delivery, the E 450 4MATIC features a velvety smooth ride. Unwanted noises are well isolated and the suspension setup is well tuned to deliver maximum road comfort without feeling too wallowing.
The seats work very well to complement the ride, as they are well cushioned and supportive with just the right amount of side bolstering. Steering is heavily assisted but is not completely devoid of feel and the E 450 is surprisingly balanced in the corners. Understeer is evident but not until you are well past the limit of what most drivers would put the sedan through. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is quick to send power to the wheels that need traction to keep things from getting too messy.
Official fuel economy figures had yet to be published at the time of writing and we observed a decent 9.2L/100km during our week of mixed commuting. Premium unleaded gasoline is required for the E 450 4MATIC, and the 80-litre fuel tank capacity gives the E 450 a generous drive range.
Mercedes-Benz has stepped up their interior design in recent years and the E 450 4MATIC continues to impress. The two-tone Neva Grey and Magma Grey leather interior is new for 2021 and truly elevates the ambience inside. Material and craftsmanship look a class above the rest of the segment and the dual-screen layout remains one of our favourite designs.
While we like the look of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, the usability is behind many of its peers. Input is accepted through the touchpad on the centre console but there are far too many dragging around and digging through submenus for basic system navigation. Fortunately, once the preferences and shortcuts are set and we adapted to using touch commands instead of the touchpad input, we were able to focus on the beautiful system graphics and intuitive functions that are built around the users.
Smartphone users can also connect using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay through one of the many USB-C ports. Our tester is equipped with the optional Burmester Surround Sound system that fills the cabin with great sound quality, and audiophiles will be happy to find the option for a top-of-the-line $6,900 Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound system atop the build sheet.
Mercedes-Benz has added their next-generation driving assistance features to the refreshed E 450 4MATIC, including a new steering wheel with capacitive hands-off detection, Active Brake Assist with turning maneuver function, Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning, Enhanced Active Parking Assist with surround-view camera, Active Steering Assist, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, and Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC radar cruise control systems.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4MATIC sedan starts at $74,900, and our tester had some of the most popular options built in including the $3,000 Intelligent Drive Package, $3,400 Premium Package, $2,400 Technology Package, and the $1,000 19-inch AMG wheels for an as-tested total of $84,700. It might seem like a lot on the surface, but in today’s day and age where many luxury crossovers can easily push above the $100,000 mark, the E 450 4MATIC is actually a bit of a bargain.
The executive luxury sedan market has had its spotlight taken over by luxury crossover and SUVs in the past decade, but it is far from being obsolete. There is a sense of confidence and sophistication exuded by luxury sedans that cannot be matched by a two-boxed configuration and the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4MATIC perfectly fills that niche with its sophisticated design and impeccable accommodations.