The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class may be a thoroughly modern and high-tech sedan, but it still provides that all-round quality feel that hearkens back to luxury sedans of the past.
Compared to the vehicles of yesteryear, cars nowadays tend to feel plasticky and built to a cost. This is the result of the change in how profits are generated in the automotive industry--whereas cars were sold as luxury goods in the past, they are now sold as consumer products, which fare better with a limited lifespan, in order to encourage more frequent purchase of new cars.
Consequently, most modern cars don't feel like they can last all that long, because of obsolete technology, or shoddy build quality. As we found out, however, such is not the case for the 2021 Mercedes E200 AMG Line.
Is This a New Model?
Not quite. The 2021 E-Class is an extensive facelift, and we have previously covered the differences between the pre-facelift model and this current model here.
Thanks to the folks at Cars and Yachts, however, we have gotten our hands on this brand-new E200 AMG Line to review. Located at 33 Ubi Avenue 3, Vertex #01-49/50 Singapore 408868, Cars and Yachts is a luxury dealer inspiring to be Singapore’s luxury motivator, bringing out the best of land and sea.
Given the major styling differences and improvement in tech, one would be hard-pressed to realise that the 2021 Mercedes E-Class is a refreshed facelift, rather than a brand-new model.
Whereas the old E-Class appeared to have a longer silhouette, the new E-Class seems to portray a smaller footprint, thanks to revised headlight and taillight designs that stretch horizontally. In fact, one only realises how wide and long the E-Class is when the car is parked (it takes up the entire width and length of a typical parking lot!).
Interior and Practicality
The E-Class' massive 4.9m length and 2.9m long wheelbase means that there are generous amounts of interior space, at least up front. At the rear, legroom is sufficient, and there is also space for rear passengers to slot their feet under the front seats to stretch out.
However, the E-Class is surprisingly lacking in lateral space, making three-abreast seating not the most comfortable affair.
Apart from that, the Mercedes E-Class has more than enough space in all aspects, including the boot, which can swallow up to 540 litres of cargo (10 litres more than the new BMW 5-Series).
The first thing that will strike you the moment you step into the car are the two massive 12.3" high-resolution displays that sit atop the dash. With the facelift, Mercedes has finally introduced the impressive MBUX infotainment system to replace the rather outdated COMAND system.
With the introduction of MBUX, a virtual voice assistant is now available on the Mercedes E-Class, and can be activated by simply saying "Hey Mercedes".
Controllable through both the touchscreen and a touch-sensitive haptic feedback pad located on the centre console, the MBUX system provides the driver with all the functions and controls required in an intuitive manner.
The system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although wireless CarPlay is not available. As with other new Mercedes, the car only comes with USB-C charging ports, which is a bane for iPhone users.
Through the MBUX system, one can access a myriad of functions, including the ambient lighting settings, and the seat kinetics function, which moves parts of the seats around to simulate a massaging function.
One well-thought out feature is that Mercedes hasn't hidden away crucial controls within submenus upon submenus within the touchscreen.
For example, key shortcuts still have physical buttons located on the centre console for easy access, as do the air-conditioning controls. A separate dedicated touchscreen menu is also available for the air-conditioning options.
One complaint that we do have about the interface is that the newly-designed steering wheel possesses touch-sensitive controls that are also clickable, and the touch-sensitive functions were a tad fiddly to use at times. This was a hassle when trying to change the volume of the audio system, and the speed on the cruise control function.
Additionally, the 2021 Mercedes E-Class AMG Line also comes with a self-parking feature that not only steers, brakes, and controls the throttle for you, but is also capable of switching gears to manoeuvre within tight parking spaces!
In most cases, we have to re-park the car after testing out the self-parking feature, but the system in this car is so good that it parks vertically and perfectly centred within the lot, requiring no extra work from us at all.
A Rare Air of Quality
The fit and finish on the 2021 Mercedes E-Class is nothing short of excellent. All the materials are soft-touch and extremely well-put together. Even areas that one rarely touch are clad in hardy but still soft-touch plastics, such as the bottom area of the door cards, whereas the centre console is padded with a felt-like material to ensure your knees do not have to rest against hard plastics.
It is in areas like these that the new Mercedes E-Class truly strikes us--most luxury carmakers cut costs in such places, but Mercedes haven't given in to such temptations.
Elsewhere, the holistic experience of quality continues. Embedded into the open-pore wood finishing is a Burmeister sound system, and there is also an extremely large panoramic sunroof that provides an excellent vantage for both front and rear passengers.
Of course, options like the fully electrically adjustable memory seats come as standard for the driver and front passenger.
On the Move
The first thing that strikes you when you first drive the 2021 Mercedes E200 AMG Line is the way it rides.
The suspension system on the E200 comes straight from the playbook of how luxury sedans ought to be set up. The ride is solid enough for one to believe that the suspension has been hewn from granite, yet so supple that one can simply glide over imperfections on the road.
At the same time, the 2.0 litre turbocharged powerplant producing 194hp and 320nm of torque, coupled with the nine-speed automatic transmission, work seamlessly with the suspension system to produce a driving experience that is almost ethereal.
The century sprint is achieved in a respectable 7.5 seconds, but unlike in other cars, the ride quality and set-up of the Mercedes E200 is such that one barely notices the acceleration.
There isn't much to comment about the transmission either--it just works quietly in the background, changing gears so imperceptibly that we were never bothered about what gear we were in. The 320nm of torque from the engine (available from just 1,650rpm) coupled with the well-tuned transmission also meant that power was readily available at every moment, without disrupting the smooth ride experience by dropping to lower gears.
There really is a magical quality to the way this car feels. Even under hard acceleration, the car feels relaxed and under-stressed. In fact, we managed to keep up with a modified Audi A3 on the highway despite it attempting to accelerate away in a symphonic crackle of exhaust pops and bangs--all the while feeling extremely relaxed, comfortable, and isolated from the elements outside.
On this note, however, we do have a complaint about the quality of noise insulation. It is by no means bad; merely, we think it could be better, considering this is a Mercedes-Benz E-Class after all.
At speeds of around 80km/h, there is some faint wind noise that can be heard, and we simply think that there should be no place for this in a car of this segment. However, this is only a slight bugbear that very noise-sensitive individuals may find to be an issue.
The handling of the 2021 Mercedes E200 AMG Line follows in a similar fashion. There is steering feedback and an organic-feeling steering weight, but the steering isn't precise nor vague: it just gets the job done.
Upon turn-in, the E200 follows where you trace the line, but one does feel the weight of the car, even if the weight transfer is well-managed. Push the car even harder and one feels a slight hint of understeer, as if the Mercedes is giving you a subtle disapproving frown, but then it picks things back up to continue along your intended line.
As such, even though the dynamic drive selector has a Sport and Sport+ option, you're still better off driving in the default Comfort setting, as Sport+ doesn't quite reward you with any perceptible changes in driving character.
The entire drivetrain and suspension set-up of the Mercedes E200 can simply be described as sublime. It gets the job done, and is fit for purpose in this luxury sedan: the E200 cannot be cajoled into any spirited hooning about--not that it needs to be either, given that its performance is delivered in an extremely accessible and dignified manner.
In sum, the 2021 Mercedes E200 AMG Line possesses many qualities that seem to be missing from modern cars anymore. We would have wished for better sound insulation, an electric tailgate, and a wireless charging tray, but there really isn't all that much to complain about this car.
With the new E-Class, Mercedes has succeeded in giving consumers the quality feel of a 20th century old school luxury sedan with 21st century tech and safety equipment.
Quality in the 2021 Mercedes E-Class is not only defined by the fit and finish, which is tremendous, with absolutely no scrimping on materials used as opposed to other manufacturers that use hard plastics.
Quality also exudes through the supple ride and driving dynamics that make no pretentious allusion to sportiness, but which still delivers without the dynamics falling apart when pushed.
Savour a luxury yacht experience when you purchase a car with Cars and Yachts. The yacht-cation promotion is valid from now till the end of February 2021. If you're interested to find out more about the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class from Cars and Yachts, please contact Joanna at +65 9766 9239.
S$213,800 (E220D Diesel)
S$229,800 (E200 Exclusive Petrol)
S$238,800 (E200 AMG Line Petrol)*COE price is capped at S$50,000
1,991 cc Turbocharged 4-Cylinder 16 Valve Inline (Petrol)
1,950cc Turbocharged 4-Cylinder 16 Valve Inline (Diesel)
Power: 194hp @ 5,500rpm (Petrol); 192hp @ 3,800rpm (Diesel)
Torque: 320Nm @ 1,650rpm (Petrol); 400Nm @ 1,600rpm (Diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 12.7km/l (Petrol); 18.7km/l (Diesel)
0-100km/h: 7.5 seconds (Petrol); 7.3 seconds (Diesel)
Top Speed: 240km/h
Drivetrain: 9G-Tronic Automatic; Rear-Wheel Drive
Brakes: All-Round Ventilated Disc Brakes
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,935mm x 1,852mm x 1,460mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 66l
Boot Capacity: 540l
Electric Memory Front Seats
Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
360 Degree Reverse Camera
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