Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

The letter “E” is a classic representation of success for Mercedes-Benz as the German purveyor of exquisite luxury and sports machines has sold over 14 million units globally since 1946. The E-Class and its antecedents are the best-selling nameplates in the company’s history, which in-turn garners the latest E-Class as the embodiment of loyalty. With the most recent redesign for model-year 2021, Mercedes patrons can expect increased technology, digitization, comfort, and performance.

For the at-home media launch of the 2021 E-Class, Automotive Rhythms experienced the inventive E 450 4MATIC Sedan for four days and later this week will up the stakes with the state-of-the-art, high-tech AMG E 53 Coupe. Although the E’s silhouette will never fail your design expectations, the story is behind the sedan’s groundbreaking technology and ultimate consolations that allows driver and passengers alike to feel one with the specialties offered.

The Lunar Blue Metallic exterior was paired with an alluring designo Macchiato Beige/Saddle Brown Nappa Leather cabin that was almost too dreamy to sit in. However, white carpets are always a bad idea, as I had to flip them to keep from soiling. Now imbed Natural Grain Brown Ash Wood, and your drive will feel more like a power vessel on water as it is akin to finely-crafted yacht decks. The Benz body is also accentuated with standard AMG body cladding, a hood power dome for aggressive looks, all-LED headlamps, and an updated rear end that includes a fresh bumper, split taillamps, and a new trunk lid. The front bumper and classy radiator grille have additionally been retouched, and my optional aero 19″ AMG twin 5-spoke rims were unique and creative.

It was always thought that a powerful V8 was needed to power your larger framed rides in prior times. Nevertheless, that is no longer the case in today’s “efficient-focused” world of mobility. Automakers can still churn out respected performance with turbo four and six cylinders. A sensible 3-liter inline-6 turbo empowered the 2021 E 450 4MATIC (all-wheel drive) Sedan I tested. Featuring an integrated starter generator (ISG), EQ Boost technology, and a 48-volt onboard electrical system, this engine offers 362-horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque and pairs with the equally intelligent 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and DYNAMIC SELECT. The vehicle is silky and pulls away whenever you need power, especially when you alter DYNAMIC SELECT to set the E-Class in Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Individual, and Eco. Along with the AIR BODY CONTROL Air Suspension, the Benz felt relaxed and docile at times but became aggressive when needed. Adding electrification to the powertrain for the first time in the U.S. helps the E-Class achieve 23 city mpg and 30 highway mpg.

Starting at $54,250 for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Sedan RWD and up to $107,500 for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan and its bespoke AMG 4-liter V8 Bi-Turbo producing 603-horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, my loaner had an MSRP of $62,000 but jumped to $85,100 after all options and packages. This is pretty typical with German brands, whether BMW, Audi, or Porsche; you will always have to pay to play with the Big 4. However, the advancements and requisite ergonomics you receive are often worth the increases. Some of the next-generation driving assistance systems included in the new E-Class are its latest smart steering wheel with capacitive hands-off detection, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, and Active Blind Spot Assist.  It seems as if the cameras were following my every move and vividly displayed the scenery I was passing by. Moreover, you have to wonder who is driving the vehicle, you on your M-B with this level of assistance.

The E-Class brain is the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system operated by an advanced touch controller and displayed on dual 12.3” widescreen displays. LINGUATRONIC voice control and augmented video for navigation are two critical attributes of MBUX. I am not a fan of touchpads, especially those featured in Lexus, Acura, and Audi, but M-B has perfected it. Scrolling through the right-side screen, I was impressed by the active multi-contour seat app with bolster adjustments and various massages such as the waving massage or active workout massage. The Multicolor Ambient Lighting app offers various hues to set the proper mood, like Ocean Blue, Red Moon, and Purple Sky, my daughter’s favorite. My wife fell in love with the Ionization and Air Freshener feature that is part of the dual-zone automatic climate control.

Burmester surround sound audio with contemporary metal speaker grilles, Mercedes e connect services, split-folding rear seats, multifunction steering wheel, wireless phone charging, Head-up Display, all USB-c connections, and twin sunroofs round out the amenities of your 2021 E-Class. What can I say? E is for Excellence!