2020 Mercedes-benz E-class Expert Review

Fitting comfortably between the compact C-Class and full-size S-Class, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the company’s well-regarded midsize-luxury model. The robust E-Class lineup consists of a stylish sedan, sporty coupe, open-air convertible (called the cabriolet), and versatile wagon.

More expensive than rivals like the Genesis G80, Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS and Volvo S90, the 2020 E-Class is priced in the same neighborhood as the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. Compared to all of these vehicles, the E-Class provides a more complete lineup and offers a level of sophistication, safety and engineering many feel is worth the price paid.

In standard specification, the E-Class strikes a nice balance between performance and comfort. For those seeking maximum acceleration, braking and handling capability, Mercedes-Benz builds a series of E-Class AMG variants (reviewed separately) for customers looking for serious acceleration and outright handling.

Driving the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

With four different body styles and several engines to choose from (including the AMG performance models), the 2020 E-Class remains a different-strokes-for-different-folks proposition.

Most people will be perfectly satisfied with the standard E 350 model. The name is new for 2020, signaling installation of a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough oomph to scoot this executive sedan to 60 mph in about six seconds. It powers the E 350’s rear wheels unless you specify the optional 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.

If you want better performance without upgrading to one of the AMG variants, we recommend the E 450 4Matic. Using a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, it should rush to 60 mph in five seconds flat, according to Mercedes. The E-Class wagon, coupe and cabriolet have the twin-turbo V6 as standard equipment, but only the wagon also includes 4Matic in its base price like the sedan does. The 4Matic system is optional for the E 450 coupe and E 450 cabriolet.

The E-Class’ engines are paired to a refined 9-speed automatic transmission, and drivers can choose from several different Dynamic Select driving modes. They include Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, and they adjust throttle response, transmission shifts, steering-effort levels, and in versions of the car equipped with the available adaptive air suspension, the ride and handling characteristics.

In addition to air suspension, both the E-Class sedan and E-Class wagon are available with a comfort-tuned suspension that has automatic selective damping. Wagons include a rear self-leveling suspension, and a lowered sport suspension with selective damping is available. This sport-tuned suspension is standard with the E-Class coupe, cabriolet and sedan. Air suspension is also optional for the sportier 2-door versions of the E-Class.

Driving the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

DRIVER ASSISTANCE PACKAGE

When equipped with the optional Driver Assistance Package, the 2020 E-Class moves ever closer to the goal of autonomous driving, offering numerous active driver-assistance and collision-avoidance features ranging from course-correcting steering to maintaining a safe distance from the car ahead. The E-Class can even steer through a corner or come to a safe stop if you fall asleep or suffer a medical emergency while the cruise control is engaged.

BURMESTER AUDIO

Included in the Premium Package for E-Class sedans and wagons, and as standard equipment in the E-Class coupes and cabriolets, the E-Class’ Burmester surround-sound system delivers rich bass, crystal-clear highs and impressive distortion-free, high-volume sound quality.

2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Interior

The 2020 E-Class borrows heavily from the latest S-Class with regard to interior styling and layout, which is in every way a major advantage.

The dashboard accommodates two 12.3-inch screens that essentially turn the instrument cluster and infotainment system into a giant flat-screen display. It virtually replicates an analog speedometer and tachometer while providing bright graphic displays for the audio, navigation, phone and climate systems. Thankfully, Mercedes-Benz has left the most pertinent controls in the hands of the driver via a set of hard buttons and rotary knobs.

A 3-spoke steering wheel incorporates all the controls related to the driver-assist systems, meaning you’ll never have to remove your hands from the steering wheel. Sedans seat up to five people, coupe and cabriolet models provide accommodations for four, and the wagon supplies 7-passenger capacity.

Favorite Features

We like the understated nature of this German luxury car, and think its design will still look fresh well into the future. If you’re looking for massive grilles and head-turning flair, you’ll probably want to shop elsewhere, though more traditional Mercedes design cues including a chrome grille and a stand-up hood ornament are available in the optional Luxury Styling package (sedan and wagon only).

Naturally, the 2-door coupe and cabriolet are sportier with their lower height and slightly shorter length. The E-Class cabriolet uses a power-folding fabric top (available in four colors), while the E-Class coupe continues to stand out as one of the few new cars available without a center roof pillar between the front and rear windows. When both windows are down, it creates a large opening to let the outside in, not to mention a dramatic look.

2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Standard Features

At just over $55,000 when factoring in the destination charge, the E 350 sedan comes nicely equipped with LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 12.3-inch infotainment system display. The automaker’s MB-Tex Leatherette upholstery is standard, along with power-adjustable front seats, ambient interior lighting, and keyless entry with push-button engine starting.

The E 450 wagon adds more power, AWD and upgraded braking components, while the E 450 coupe is equipped with a panoramic glass roof, a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display, genuine leather upholstery, and more. Cabriolets include an Airscarf neck-warming system and an Aircap wind blocker designed to reduce interior turbulence with the top is down.

All E-Class models include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system with live traffic data, and dual USB ports. Safety equipment includes both Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Sound. The former prepares the cabin and occupants for an imminent collision, while the latter actively protects passengers’ eardrums during a collision. Automatic emergency braking, Car-to-X communication technology, and a driver-monitoring system are also standard, and for as long as you own the E-Class it includes automatic collision notification and SOS emergency calling.

2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Interior

As you would expect from a midsize-luxury car, there is no shortage of features with which you can upgrade your new E-Class. Want front seats that heat and cool your bottom while massaging your back? They’re available. How about a system that transforms your E-Class into a rolling spa treatment? Be sure to check out both the Energizing Comfort and Acoustic Comfort option packages.

From a heated steering wheel to heated armrests, and from a panoramic glass roof to soft-close doors, the E-Class options list is long and tempting. Additional highlights include triple-zone climate control, a head-up display, and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.

Furthermore, the E-Class can be made significantly more intelligent with semi-autonomous driving features such as active cruise control, active steering assist (which helps keeps you centered in a lane), and an active blind-spot-monitoring system that not only senses vehicles you can’t see, but can keep you from colliding into them by braking individual wheels to tug the car back toward the center of the lane.

2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Engine

The standard E-Class is powered by one of two engines: a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower, or a twin-turbo V6 that makes a more significant 362 horsepower. For 2020, only the base E 350 sedan offers the 4-cylinder, while the E-Class coupe, cabriolet and wagon come standard with the V6 and wear an E 450 badge.

Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard for the E 350 sedan, E 450 coupe and E 450 cabriolet, while the E 450 sedan and E 450 wagon include the automaker’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. This system is an option for the 4-cylinder sedan, the coupe and the cabriolet.

All 2020 Mercedes E-Class models use a 9-speed automatic transmission and an engine start/stop system that cuts engine power at idle. If you don’t like the restarts or find it odd that your engine shuts off at traffic signals, you can deactivate the system.

Also, don’t forget that if you’re looking for significantly more power in a 2020 E-Class, there are several performance-tuned AMG versions from which to choose. Even the wagon offers blistering performance to the tune of 0-to-60-mph acceleration in 3.4 seconds, courtesy of the AMG E 63 S. (See our separate review for the 2020 Mercedes-AMG E-Class models.)

  • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (E 350)
  • 255 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
  • 273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,000 rpm
  • EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg (RWD), 22/30 mpg (AWD)
  • 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (E 450)
  • 362 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
  • 369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,500 rpm
  • EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (AWD sedan, RWD coupe), 20/27 mpg (RWD convertible), 19/26 mpg (AWD convertible, coupe and wagon)

2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Exterior

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $55,000 for a RWD E 350 sedan. Adding AWD (4Matic in Mercedes-speak) increases that tab by another $2,500. The 2020 E 450 4Matic sedan’s base price is about $62,500, while the wagon begins at just over $67,000. You’ll need nearly $65,500 to get into the E-Class coupe, while the E-Class cabriolet costs nearly $72,500 before adding options. This being a European luxury vehicle, you can expect these prices to inflate by thousands with options and packages.

Compared to its primary rivals from Germany, the E-Class is competitively priced. The BMW 5 Series sedan begins slightly lower while the Audi A6 is a bit more expensive. Meanwhile, the Infiniti Q70 and Lexus GS are more affordable alternatives, as is the bargain-priced Genesis G80. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class does a great job of holding its resale value over time, but lags behind the Lexus GS both in terms of resale value and 5-year cost of ownership.

Before buying a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. If you have an old car to sell, be sure to consider the simple, easy and fast KBB Instant Cash Offer program.

Which 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Model is Right for Me?

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Sedan
  • Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
  • Rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • MB-Tex Leatherette upholstery
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 12.3-inch infotainment display with navigation
  • 2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4Matic Sedan
  • Twin-turbocharged V6 engine
All-wheel drive

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4Matic Wagon (in addition to E 450 4Matic sedan)
  • Higher suspension ride height
  • Self-leveling rear suspension
Upgraded brakes

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 Coupe (in addition to E 350 sedan)
  • Twin-turbocharged V6 engine
  • Leather seats
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display
  • Burmester premium surround-sound system
2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 Cabriolet (in addition to E 450 coupe)
  • Fabric convertible top
  • Airscarf neck-warming system
  • Aircap wind-blocker system
  • Electric trunk-partition system
  • Pop-up safety rollbars

None

So happy to be able to change something and make it cooler than the original

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