To set the record straight, the new 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe and cabriolet does not have a V-8, will not get a V-8, and their place in the AMG performance realm goes no higher than a Mercedes-AMG E 53. And that is on purpose, executives said today in a roundtable discussion following the global virtual unveil of the updated cars.
We will see the higher-performance Mercedes-AMG E 63 sedan and wagon later this year. And yes, there are smaller Mercedes-AMG C 63 coupes and convertibles. But internal product planning at AMG determined that for the larger E-Class coupe and convertible, top performance E 63 versions are not needed, said Kamelia Brodner, Product Management for Mercedes-AMG. The E 53 is a perfect match for the segment, especially since the new two-doors won’t offer a V-8, she says.
Dynamic Without a V-8?
To lessen the blow, AMG’s Dynamic Plus package migrates down to a car with only six cylinders for the first time. Executives did not comment on the suggestion that Tobias Moers, the Mercedes-AMG CEO who is leaving to become CEO of Aston Martin, means the brand has lost its biggest advocate for V-8 power.
There is space for a Mercedes-Benz SL, Brodner confirmed. We expect the 2022 SL R232 will be built on the next-generation AMG GT platform—and yes, there will be a V-8 available.
We saw the refreshed 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-class All-Terrain wagon earlier this year. Not surprisingly, we see that the coupe and convertible gain similar updates both inside and out, and new technologies. They swap out the previous V-6 for the new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine with the 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system. This system adds 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque assistance to bring peak output to 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque in the E 450. The Mercedes-AMG E 53’s powertrain remains in the lineup, tuned to generate 429 hp and 384 lb-ft. All E-Class coupe and cabriolets come with a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on the rear-drive E 450 and standard on the AMG E 53.
No Plug-In Hybrids For The Two-Door Models
While the 2021 E 450 sedan will be offered as a plug-in hybrid as well, there are no plans to make the coupe and cabrio plug-in hybrids as well. Mercedes wanted to preserve space in the back to accomodate luggage and batteries.
Demand for a plug-in coupe or convertible is not as high as it is for the sedan and wagon. That is an offshoot of the overall sales mix between body styles: the sedan and wagon account for 60-70 percent of global sales; the coupe about 17 percent and the cabrio makes up the rest. Germany is the most important market for the cabrio, followed by the U.K. For the coupe, the largest market is China, followed by the U.K. and U.S. But the smaller C-Class convertible outsells the E-Class cabrio in all markets.
While convertibles are the smallest slice of the pie, Mercedes remains committed to the body style. “E-Class convertible is very important for us,” said E-class Chief Engineer Michael Kelz. “I can assure you that our future will keep the cabriolet in this class. It’s in the heart of Mercedes… I’m pretty sure that you will see another one in the future.” But executives would not comment on the possibility of an all-electric convertible based on the EQ architecture in the future.
On the coupe side, despite the popularity of four-door coupes, Mercedes still sees a market for two-door sporty coupes.
Styling Stays In the Family
Style-wise, the two-doors have new headlights and taillights, a reworked Panamericana grille, new wheels, paint colors, steering wheel, the latest MBUX operating system for infotainment with voice control, a new touchpad, and dual 12.3-inch displays. Convertible fans will be glad to see that the cabrio has Mercedes’ popular Airscarf neck-warming system, which returned a few years ago after a brief hiatus. The convertible also boasts sun-reflecting leather.
On Sale in U.S. This Year
The two-door 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class models go on sale in the United States later this year. Prices for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe and cabriolet have not yet been announced.
That said, we expect these vehicles to see a price increase relative to the 2020 models, which start at $65,345 for the coupe and $72,395 for the drop-top.