The Mercedes-Benz E-class is the quintessential midsize luxury sedan. Since its introduction in 1993 as the W124, it quickly became the benchmark for all others to reach. Now in its 5th generation, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic adds a few more standard features and a more powerful base engine.
Engine – The 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-class is offered with four different engines. You can get a 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder with 255 hp, a turbo 3.0L inline-6 with 429 hp, the bonkers turbo 4.0L V8 with 603 hp, or this E450 with a 3.0L turbocharged V6 that produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. With a body that weighs in at almost 1,900 kg, the 2020 Mercedes E450 can still accelerate to 100 km/h from a stop in 5 seconds. An impressive feat considering it’s aimed at being a luxury sedan rather than a sporty car like its E53 AMG brother. Speaking of which, it’s a bit confusing as to why the E450 is not available instead with the 3.0L inline-6 engine from the 53-series AMG cars or even the CLS 450. The 3.0L inline-6 in the CLS450 produces the same power as this bi-turbo V6 but more importantly, it is more efficient as it has a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Hopefully in the future the E450 will be made available with the new inline-6 engine but for now, the 3.0L bi-turbo V6 does the job.
Mercedes-Benz does not provide fuel economy figures of this V6 engine in the E450 but EnerGuide rates it at 11.8 L/100km (19.9 mpg) in a city and 8.5 L/100km (27.7 mpg) on a highway. Impressive numbers but the CLS450 is more efficient at 11.3 L/100km (20.8 mpg) and 7.9 L/100km (29.7 mpg) respectively.
Transmission – A 9-speed automatic transmission shifts gears to get the most out of the engine whether power or efficiency is required. In normal everyday driving, you won’t notice the shifts as they are almost inconceivable. Switch the car into Sport+ mode and the shifts become more abrupt but also faster. Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters let you take over control but once the car is stopped, the transmission automatically reverts to changing gears itself.
Braking – Mercedes-Benz has never overlooked the brakes on their vehicles. Whether it’s the compact A220 or the massive G550, stopping a Mercedes-Benz vehicle takes little effort and the 2020 E450 is no exception. Massive 4-piston calipers with drilled rotors on the front axle help stop the nearly 1,900 kg body with little effort from the driver. Even after repeated use or when driving down a steep hill, the brake pedal feels firm and confidence inspiring. Automatic emergency braking is standard on the E450.
Handling – This being a luxury oriented sedan, the handling characteristics reflect its smooth and calming nature. The steering feel and effort changes based on how fast the car is travelling and how much the driver turns the wheel. At slow speeds, steering effort is light making for easy parking maneuvers. At highway speeds, the steering feel firms up allowing for a stable straight-line drive. On twisty mountain roads, the almost 1,900 kg weight is more evident. There is some body roll but it is well controlled by the suspension. The steering and suspension doesn’t feel quite as taught as on the E53 AMG but then again, this is not a sports sedan.
Ride Comfort – This is where the Mercedes-Benz E450 shines. The adaptive suspension provides an excellent ride whether the car is on poorly maintained city streets or on smooth country roads. The seats further add to the luxury and comfort with adjustments for just about every person regardless of body shape or size. Opt for the Comfort package and you get heated & ventilated front seats with a massaging feature. Furthermore, the side bolsters of the front seats can be set to hug you as you drive around a corner, preventing you from sliding from side to side in the seat.
Interior Space – As is usual with most cars, front occupants have a lot of leg and headroom. At 6’4”, I had no issues finding a comfortable driving position nor did I have issues getting in or out of the car. Surprisingly the rear seats don’t offer as much space as one would expect from a mid-size luxury sedan. Behind my own 6’4” driving position, my knees were hitting the rear of the driver’s seat and the tip of my hair was brushing against the headliner when I sat in the rear seats. Trunk space is average when compared to its immediate competitors at 530L (18.7 cu-ft) of cargo. The rear seats fold 40/20/40 for more and versatile cargo storage.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – With luxury being the utmost characteristic of the E-class, the interior cabin is well insulated from exterior noises. When driving in Comfort mode, the engine barely makes a noise that can be heard from the driver’s seat. Long highway commutes feel shorter because of the luxury and quietness of the cabin. At 100 km/h (62 mph) on a highway, the engine barely turns at 1,250 rpms while wind and tire noises can barely be heard.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – While this is a 2020 model year Mercedes-Benz E450, it unfortunately doesn’t receive the new MBUX infotainment system. The E450 still utilizes the older COMMAND infotainment system, which resembles the new MBUX, but doesn’t quite function the same way. Unlike the newer infotainment system, the one in this car cannot be controlled by a touchscreen but rather the Blackberry style pad on the steering wheel or the iDrive style round knob and quick access buttons on the center console. Also, there is no “Hey Mercedes” voice activation to control different aspects of the vehicle or infotainment system.
But while the infotainment system may be of an older design, it still functions well for what it can do. The car itself is also fully loaded with pretty much every feature on the options list. Apart from maybe a small refrigerator for your champagne, the 2020 E450 can be equipped with a heads-up display, beautiful 12.3” driver and central screens, sunroof, advanced safety features, surround view cameras, heated armrests, the aforementioned massaging seats, heated windshield, power open and close trunk, soft close doors, and even a cabin fragrance system.
Interior Design – With all of those features, you’d think that the interior of the Mercedes E450 would be cluttered with buttons to operate all of those features. But no. The design of the interior is well balanced between functional buttons and knobs for quick access to the infotainment or climate control and an elegant design that will stand the test of time. My only complaint of the interior is the choice of colours and trim for this test vehicle. But that’s an easy fix as different leather and trim options are available for the interior.
Exterior Design – While the interior has a timeless design, the exterior is a bit bland to my eyes. Looks are subjective, so I don’t expect everyone or anyone to agree with me but it looks like a sedan that you could lose in a parking lot. Yes, it has smooth flowing lines that accentuate certain parts of the body but it’s not as bold of a design as the Audi A6 for example.
With a starting price of $72,300 CAD ($61,550 USD) and a fully optioned vehicle like this demo coming in at $90,700 CAD ($76,240 USD), the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic is not a cheap car. It is a little bit more expensive than the competition from BMW or Audi but you get more power in the Mercedes-Benz and better flexibility with what options you want fitted to your own E450.
Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mercedes-Benz.ca