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THE INVESTOR
May 16, 2021

[Behind the Wheel] Mercedes-Benz 2021 E-Class gets fresh, modern touch

  • PUBLISHED :December 06, 2020 - 16:51
  • UPDATED :December 06, 2020 - 18:37
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class E350 4Matic (Mercedes-Benz Korea)

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is South Korea‘s most beloved imported sedan.

Since its launch in 2016, the 10th generation E-Class models have sold about 160,000 units, making it the best-selling imported car in Korea. Last year, the E-Class was the top-selling luxury car among both Korean and imported cars.

Maintaining the highest spot in the luxury sedan market, however, is not an easy job. Hyundai’s luxury sedan Genesis G80 came on fast this year, overtaking the E-Class. By October this year, the G80 had sold 44,481 cars. During the same period, the E-Class sold a total of 22,284, and its executive sedan rival BMW 5 Series sold 16,971 vehicles.

Now, Mercedes-Benz is aiming to retain the top spot with the upgraded E-Class models. Last month, it released an improved 2021 E-Class vehicle for the first time in four years with both gasoline and diesel engines.

The Korea Herald had an opportunity to test-drive the newest E-Class from Seoul to Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, for about four hours. The E350 model with a gasoline engine was used when setting off and the 220d model with a diesel engine was used for the return.

The E350 model boasts a maximum output of 299 horsepower, with 48-volt hybrid systems adding some 22 horsepower to the total engine output. It has a maximum torque of 40.8 kilogram-meters.

Due to the 48-volt battery, the vehicle moved like a hybrid car when starting. It provided a quiet, vibration-free driving experience at a low speed, although it was not so quiet at higher speeds.

Even when stepping on the accelerator gently, a sense of speed could be felt. There was no stuffiness when accelerating after a stop. The brake reliability was quite high at both high and low speeds.

The E350 model has a sports plus mode in addition to the typical sports mode, providing a driving experience more like a sports car than a sedan.

The driving experience of the 220d model was not much different from the E350, although it felt a bit heavier. One would not know that it has a diesel engine if they were not told, as it was less noisy. 

Mercedes-Benz E-Class E350’s augmented reality navigation system (Shin Ji-hye/The Korea Herald)


The 220d model boasts a maximum output of 194 horsepower and torque of 40.8 kilogram-meters. It seemed more focused on stability rather than dynamics.

When stepping on the accelerator, the initial feeling was slightly slower, but the speed increased steadily after it gained momentum.

The overall handling was stable. Even during high-speed cornering, the car did not shake. It absorbed excessive shocks when going over bumps.

Mercedes-Benz Korea has added an augmented reality navigation function from its newly released E-Class models. The technology is similar to Hyundai Motor Genesis G80’s holographic augmented reality navigation system. The AR display only appears when an intersection or main road exit comes up, unlike the Genesis, which always shows the display.

The new E-Class is equipped with the latest Driving Assistant Package, a collection of driving assistance and collision avoidance technologies. It includes Active Speed Limiting Assist, a feature that recognizes speed limit signs and adjusts the speed through automatic deceleration or acceleration. Route-Based Speed Adaptation is also added to recognize complex sections based on navigation map data, and automatically reduces the speed for stable driving.

Mercedes-Benz has added an Air Quality Package to its E-Class for customers in Korea and China for more pleasant air quality, an unique specification not found in other imported cars.

The price of the E220D 4Matic line is 77.9 million won ($71,800) and the E350 4Matic line is 88.8 million won.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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