One of the models whose unveiling was scheduled for the now cancelled Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz has backed-up the reveal of the plug-in hybrid CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA with the facelift E-Class and its AMG 53 sibling.
Marking its fourth year in production this year, the internally designated W213 will continue to be offered in sedan, estate, high-riding All-Terrain estate and China only long wheelbase variants, with coupe and cabriolet models arriving later.
Incorporating styling from the GLE and CLS, the exterior updates comprises of a redesigned grille and front bumper, restyled headlights with full LEDs or optional MutiBeam LEDs, A-Class Sedan inspired taillights, a new rear bumper and bootlid, plus three new colours and newly designed alloy wheels. In addition to the standard model, the E-Class can be specified in Avantgarde, Exclusive Line and AMG Line trim levels, each bringing their own assortment of interior and exterior fixtures.
Speaking of the interior, the E-Class now comes with Benz’s latest MBUX infotainment system in the shape of the standard dual 10.25-inch display, or the optional 12.3-inch with voice control, an augmented reality system and a new touchpad being standard. A new steering wheel and assortment of material finishes, ranging for aluminium and ash wood to burr walnut and carbon grain are offered along with a selection of upholstery finishes that includes Nappa leather, Artico man-made fibres and fabric to name a few.
On the safety side, Active Brake Assist now comes standard on all models with other tech, either carried over or updated, consisting of Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Blind Spot Assist with Exit Alert, Traffic Sign Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic 360 and a so-called PowerNap function on plug-in hybrid models that alerts the driver to take a break whilst having the batteries recharged.
Underneath the bonnet, broader use of electrification is utilised with no less than seven engines sporting electrical assistance. While traditional turbo-petrol and turbodiesel engines are still offered with the former sporting outputs of 115 to 270 kW and the latter between 118 kW and 243 kW, the first mild-hybrid derivative mates the 2.0-litre M254 petrol with the second generation 48-volt integrated starter-generator that offers-up 15kW/180Nm for short bursts.
The same output also applies to the 3.0-litre straight-six M256 petrol, while the OM 654 four-cylinder turbodiesel and six-cylinder OM 656 oil-burners receive a new twin selective catalytic reduction system, upgraded diesel particle filter and a so-called close coupled NOx storage catalytic converter system. Regardless of the engine, all are paired to a 9G Tronic gearbox as standard, with some models are having the option of the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
In Europe, sales of the E-Class will commence from May with South Africa likely to receive it soon afterwards.
AMG E53 4Matic+
Serving as the most sporting E-Class until the arrival of the E63, the mild-hybrid E53 receives the same array of exterior tweaks, but with AMG specifics such as the Panamericana grille with its so-called jet-wing front apron, flatter LED headlights, dual exhaust outlets, a new apron with an integrated diffuser and standard 19-inch light five-spoke alloy wheels with five twin-spoke 20-inch light alloys available from the options list.
As before, the blacked-out Night Package can be specified as an options, with three new colours; High-tech Silver Metallic, Graphite Grey Metallic and Mojave Silver Metallic being added to the colour palette.
On the inside, the AMG touches comes in the shape of Artico man-made leather/ Dinamica micro-fibre trimmed sport seats with red top-stitching, a new AMG Performance steering wheel finished in leather, Dinamica or a combination of both, AMG readouts on the MBUX system and within the instrument cluster, red seatbelts, carbon inserts and, from, the options list, the AMG Performance seats.
Fitted as standard with the three-mode (Comfort, Sport and Sport+) AMG Ride Control+ system and the AMG Dynamic Select with five modes; Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, the E53, for the first time, features a Race mode that incorporates a drifting function when specified with the optional AMG Dynamic Plus Package.
Up front, the 3.0-litre straight-six engine has been carried over with the outputs of 320kW/520Nm being augmented by the 48-volt EQ Boost starter-generator that boosts power by 16kW/250Nm over short spells. Paired to the nine-speed MCT ‘box, the E53 will get from 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, 4.6 seconds in case of the estate, and top out at 250 km/h or 270 km/h with the AMG Driver’s Package added.
Like the regular E-Class, the E53 will go on sale in Europe from May.