2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class facelift: der neue normal

Published: 03 March 2020

► Updated model has more tech than ever
► Choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid
► 429bhp E53 and All-Terrain incoming

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the latest variant of its luxurious E-Class executive model. Intended to be previewed at the now-cancelled 2020 Geneva Motor Show, it’s more of what we’ve grown used to for the E-Class’ facelift – that is to say, more tech and more luxury than ever before.

There’s also a new look bringing the E-Class more in line with Mercedes’ fresher models.

Looks like an A-Class grew up…

The new grille and light treatments – both front and rear – are more horizontal than vertical, giving the E-Class the same sort of flavour as its younger siblings. Base models and Exclusive Line models in Europe still get the traditional upright grille with hood ornament, but it’s more than likely that UK models will feature the more sporting grille with central star as standard.

Redesigned lights are full LED as standard, with fancy Multibeam adaptive units (incorporating steroidal-sounding ULTRA RANGE high beam) available further up the range.

2020 E-Class rear

There’s plenty of chrome fore and aft – a strip in the grille is mirrored by a chunky bar of the stuff on the boot lid. Piano black fills in the rest, including vanes on the air intakes and splitters.

AMG models will have a redesigned bonnet with power domes, while the All-Terrain will be spiritually closer to its SUV siblings such as the GLC, with chrome finishes replacing the brushed silver found on the previous model.

Is the interior as luxurious as ever?

Definitely. As you’d expect, there’s the latest MBUX operating system at the core of it all. It operates via two screens – either 10.25-inches or optionally 12.3-inches, arranged side-by-side under the same glossy enclosure to give a real widescreen experience.

We’ve seen all this in recent models such as the GLS, but we’ve not seen the E-Class’ new steering wheel before. It’s either a split three-spoke design or a six-spoke one, depending how literal you are. Essentially, that means it looks to be rather more of a button-fest than even Merc’s previous wheel, though how many of those are physical switches and how many are touch-sensitive remains to be seen.

2020 E-Class interior

Elsewhere, the cabin is much the same – with intricate metal air vents, knurled metal aplenty and a swish combination of wood and leather adorning most surfaces. The infotainment adopts the same flat touchpad as its newer sister cars, ditching a scroll wheel once and for all.

New finishes are available inside and out, too. Three new paint colours are as imaginative as you’d expect from a large German saloon – they’re High-Tech Silver, Mojave Silver, or Graphite Grey Metallic. Inside it’s slightly more exciting, with combinations of brown and beige available if you opt for the right trim levels. New for this year is a clever automatic driving position adjustment – input your height on the infotainment display and the car will adjust the seat and wheel for you.

What are the engines like?

Whether the UK gets the full line-up is uncertain but European markets will have petrol engines from 154bhp to 362bhp, and diesels from 158bhp to 325bhp.

Again, like most other recent Merc arrivals, a new four-cylinder petrol with a mild-hybrid system and just about every daft word Mercedes could think of – all fitted in the name of added efficiency. There’s a Nanoslide cylinder coating, Conicshape cylinder honing, a segment charger with flow connection… all you need to know is that it’s capable of coasting at high speeds with the engine switched off, features an electric compressor for the turbocharger and promises very high efficiency.

E53 rear cornering

There’s also a glut of emissions control systems fitted to both petrol and diesel engines. As for plug-in hybrids, the E 300 e petrol and E 300 de diesel will be carried over, though it’s likely they’ll be tweaked and potentially rebadged. Details are thin on the ground so far.

What about the additional tech?

Mercedes was one of the first with semi-autonomous driving on the current E-Class, so it’s added and improved it all for this facelifted model. First off is the fitment of capacitive sensors in the steering wheel – this detects touch, rather than pressure, so there’ll be no need to keep twitching the steering in order to prevent the car yelling at you.

Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection is standard, while the Driving Assistance package will add plenty of other goodies. Active Speed Limit assist uses map data and traffic sign recognition to adjust the speed limiter appropriately and can also use the route in the sat-nav to adjust ahead of bends, junctions or sliproads.

2020 E53 interior

The adaptive cruise control will also use live traffic data to detect a tailback and reduce speed unless told otherwise. Once in said tailback, it’ll drive the car at speeds of up to 37mph, stopping and starting.

Blind-spot monitoring is also available and works even when the car’s switched off – hopefully preventing the occupants from opening their doors into pedestrians or cyclists.

Finally, there’s also Urban Guard – a vehicle protection system capable of tracking the vehicle and informing the owner of any potential theft or breakins via their Mercedes app.

When can I buy one?

Deliveries start in Europe in the late summer after going on sale in May. UK pricing and specs are yet to be announced – we’ll update this page when we know more.

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By Tom Wiltshire

Bauer Automotive staff writer; Cotswoldian, Peugeot enthusiast, SsangYong Turismo apologist