Mercedes-Benz hit the ground running in 2021 with the release of several new models, including the new E-Class.
The E-Class is fitted with all of the class-leading features and safety systems for which the brand is so well known for, while the interior is dominated by two 10.25-inch displays that immediately demand attention.
The centre display comprises the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system and gets the job of handling infotainment and vehicle features.
This includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, the THERMATIC automatic climate control system, live traffic information, and the reverse camera feed.
It can also be controlled via a touchpad on the transmission tunnel, the steering wheel, through saying “Hey Mercedes”, and – in some instances – by waving your hand a few centimetres in front of the display.
Sharing the limelight are eye-catching man-made leather seats and premium cabin materials – along with a choice between several veneer finishes and 64 ambient lighting colours.
More niceties then come from wireless charging pads, four-way lumbar support on the seats, and extended MBUX functions comprising a Wi-Fi hotspot and predictive function, and theme settings on the central display.
A big detail that was highlighted for the 2021 model was the addition of an entirely new feature called energizing seat kinetics, which moves the seat cushions and backrest to improve the driver’s posture.
The car also has a 10-minute wellness programme that will “recharge your batteries at the touch of a button”.
In terms of safety, the E-Class is at the forefront of the market.
A new feature called Urban Guard works in conjunction with the Mercedes Me app to bring functions like warning for collision damage, tow-away protection, and anti-theft systems to the E-Class.
It will warn the driver of the vehicle, via a push notification on their smartphone, if the vehicle has been moved or damaged while it was parked or if there is movement in the interior – and it will then trigger visual and audible warnings.
As standard, every E-class gets a PRE-SAFE system that aims to prepare the occupants and the car for a collision so that the seat belts and the airbags can deploy with maximum efficiency.
It does this through an assortment of sensors hidden in the front fascia that will tighten seatbelts, move the front seats into the most optimal position, inflate seat bolsters, and close all windows in the case of an imminent collision or when there is a risk of skidding.
Additionally, it gets Active Blind Spot Assist that monitors blind spots to warn a driver of any hazards that might appear.
Further features include:
- Active Tailback Assist – which assists the driver with lane-keeping and maintaining a safe following distance.
- Active Distance Assist Distronic with route-based speed adjustment – which can recognise and respond to road hazards before the driver becomes aware of them.
You would also be delighted to know that every E-Class gets the parking package option as standard, which includes a 360-degree camera and park assist sensors all around the car.
Active brake assist, active steering assist, active blind spot assist, and LED high-performance headlamps then cover the rest of the safety precautions.
Between the two front wheels of the new baseline E-Class lies a 2.0-litre, in-line 4-cylinder petrol engine that connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission.
This combination produces 145kW of power and 320Nm of torque, and will see the 100km/h mark reached in 7.4 seconds.
Fuel consumption remains relatively low for this segment, at 6.5-6.9l/100km, and a top speed of 240km/h is nothing to be ashamed of.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels only, and handled via the Agility Control suspension with selective damping.
This suspension setup makes use of a passive damping system that automatically adjusts ride characteristics, level of damping, and ride stabilisation as you drive.
Throttle, suspension, and handling response can then be adjusted using the drive mode selector, while AMG models will receive an extra “Drift Mode” button.
The E-Class sits around 110mm off the ground and stands on 18-inch, 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels.
It spans a length of 4,935mm, a width of 1,852mm, and a height of 1,468mm; and can carry up to 540 litres of luggage when the rear seats are upright.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class will only be available in two configurations upon local arrival – the E200 and E220 d.
Later on, the range-topping AMG E63 S will also be added to the line-up.
The base E200 model has a starting price of R920,000.
This price is around R60,000 less than the newest, facelifted BMW 5-Series; and around R40,000 less than the entry-level Audi A6 – making Mercedes-Benz the cheapest option in the top German trio.
Included in the price above is a 5-year/100,000km maintenance contract, with more tailored options available at an extra fee.