The focal point of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the wonderful midsize luxury sedan. Think of that car as the center of a vortex — with wagons, coupes and convertibles swirling around it, each one a fine example of its kind.
This current generation of E-Class has been around since 2017, so there are no worries about outmoded technology. And the gadgetry in the E-Class also works exceptionally well. We’re expecting some kind of revamp in the next model year or two, but the 2020 E-Class remains a dominant force.
The few rivals that can come close (like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series) still can’t offer this many body styles and certainly don’t have any more prestige. Nor can they provide safety features that are more ingenious and innovative.
For example, if a collision is imminent, the E-Class will send a burst of high-frequency noise through the audio system, which has the effect of protecting the occupants’ hearing when the inevitable loud bang happens.
The E-Class can be packed with much of the company’s newest technology, including features like evasive steering assistance, intelligent cruise control, active lane-keeping assist and active blind spot monitoring, where a virtual hand is on the controls. Even without such advanced equipment, every E-Class is still desirable and luxurious.
What’s New for 2020?
The previous entry-level E 300 versions become E 350 cars, thanks to a new 255-horsepower engine (a bump of 14 hp). Blind spot monitoring, keyless entry/ignition, hands-free trunk lid operation and a parking damage detector are all standard.
The optional Premium package now includes a 12.3-in digital driver information display.
AMG models gain an "Emotion Start" feature — engage the left-side gearshift paddle while pressing the engine’s start button, and the exhaust system becomes more vocal than usual. Driving modes for AMG cars also include a new "Slippery" setting. And the AMG E 53 gains illuminated door sills as standard. See the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class models for sale near you
What We Like
- Superb driving manners
- High quality
- Superb technology
What We Don’t
- Options can be expensive
- Trunk space is only average
The new-for-2020 E 350 is propelled by a turbocharged 2.0-liter/4-cylinder engine generating 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This goes through a 9-speed automatic transmission before driving the rear wheels as the default setup, or to the optional all-wheel drive system (known as 4Matic).
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption for the rear-wheel-drive version at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. With AWD, it returns 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.
E 450 variants all use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This is also linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission. AWD is standard in the sedan and wagon but optional in the coupe and convertible. The EPA puts fuel use at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (sedan) and 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined (wagon).
The RWD E 450 coupe is rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. The 4Matic version achieves 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined. The RWD E 450 Cabriolet returns 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. AWD changes that to 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG E 53 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six that develops 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. This is augmented by an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that adds a temporary boost of 21 hp. It’s also at the heart of a 48-volt system that powers things like water pumps (eliminating the need for belt drives), the engine stop/start feature and the adaptive suspension. A 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD is standard. Fuel consumption is 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined. The coupe version runs to 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined, and the cabriolet manages 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.
The AMG E 63 S 4Matic sedan and wagon have a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 making a considerable 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Once again, a 9-speed automatic transmission is deployed, sending drive to all four wheels (although a Drift Mode enables the E 63 S to be 100% RWD). The result is 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined (sedan) or 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg (wagon).
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class range covers sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible (aka cabriolet) body styles. The E 350 sedan ($55,045), E 450 4Matic sedan ($62,545) and E 450 4Matic wagon ($67,095) share similar equipment levels.
Standard features include 18-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, keyless entry/ignition, hands-free trunk lid operation, blind spot monitoring, a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, LED exterior lighting, power-folding/heated side mirrors, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, selectable driving modes, ambient LED cabin lighting, parking damage detector, a 12.3-in infotainment display, navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, an 8-speaker audio system and an HD radio. The E 450 4Matic wagon also has a powered tailgate and 18-in wheels.
The Premium package includes a 12.3-in digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, heated front seats, satellite radio and a Burmester surround-sound system.
A Parking Assistance package adds a rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system and a self-parking function.
A Driver Assistance package includes aids such as evasive action assistance, forward cross-traffic assistance, rear and side impact preparation, adaptive cruise control with active steering, lane-keeping assist, active blind spot assistance and forward collision mitigation.
Other options include adaptive air suspension, 19-in and 20-in alloy wheels, soft-close doors, ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, a fragranced/ionized cabin air system, a head-up display, Wi-Fi and heating for the front armrests and steering wheel.
The E 450 coupe ($65,345) and E 450 cabriolet ($72,395) have both leather upholstery and the Premium package’s contents as standard. The coupe has a panoramic sunroof, while the convertible versions also have wind deflectors and offer neck-warming vents set into the front seats (Airscarf).
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG E 53 sedan ($74,795) comes with its own drivetrain, AWD, air suspension and a braking setup appropriate for a more powerful machine. It has various AMG cosmetic additions as well, plus 19-in alloy wheels. There are also E 53 coupe ($75,945) and E 53 cabriolet ($82,645) versions.
The E 63 S sedan ($108,345) and E 63 S wagon ($112,745) have most of the equipment found in the E 53 along with limited-slip rear differentials, special suspensions, strengthened driveline components and high-performance tires. Carbon-ceramic brake discs are an option.
The E-Class comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, driver drowsiness alert and a considerable array of airbags. Rear side airbags, though, are available separately, along with small airbags in the rear seat belts. Optional side impact protection automatically inflates the relevant seat bolster to move an occupant away from the point of collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the E-Class sedan and wagon its top rating of five stars overall, with five stars apiece for front and side impact protection.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety makes the E-Class a Top Safety Pick+, its highest accolade.
Behind the Wheel
The E 53 is just one star in this particular show. It has an authoritative power that sits well in a luxury/sport car and feels unshakably stable virtually regardless of conditions. Yet its air suspension means it can be just as comfortable as it can be sporty.
The E 350 and E 450 cars aren’t quite as thrilling, but they still have the smooth ride that’s a Mercedes-Benz strength. The E 63 S versions, on the other hand, are super quick.
Every E-Class also enjoys plenty of Mercedes-Benz specialties, such as an exemplary fit and finish, along with superb cabin materials. The coupe and convertible models are 4-seaters.
The sedan’s trunk space measures 13.1 cu ft., about enough for three sets of golf clubs, but is eclipsed by the BMW 5 Series’ 18.7 cu ft. The wagons are far more commodious, with 35 cu ft. behind the second row of seating and around 64 cu ft. when the second and third rows are folded. The E 450 wagon can also accommodate up to seven with a pair of rear-facing seats that fold flat into the loadspace floor.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Audi A6 — Sleek exterior, refined cabin and athletic driving character.
2020 BMW 5 Series — Comes with its own impressive technology. No slouch to drive either.
2020 Genesis G80 — Offers plenty of features for a relatively bargain price.
2020 Jaguar XF — Supple, smooth and supercharged.
Used Porsche Panamera — Luxurious and spacious. And who needs self-driving features when it can drive like a Porsche? Look for a certified pre-owned model and rest easy with the extensive warranty.
As long as the budget is there, aim for an AMG E 53 version. These cars are a great balance between power and sanity — unless the wagon style is required. With any selection, choose the Driver Assistance package while exercising restraint in regard to the rest of the options. Find a Mercedes-Benz E-Class for sale