Mercedes-Benz's E-Class family is approaching the midway point in its life cycle and a prototype for an updated member has just been spotted.
The prototype is for the E-Class sedan but similar updates should be bound for other E-Class members. We've also spied prototypes for the updated E-Class Coupe and E-Class Wagon, as well as the E-Class All-Terrain soft-roader sold overseas.
The current E-Class family was introduced for the 2017 model year, arriving initially in sedan guise. In Mercedes tradition, we should see the updated models introduced for 2021.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class facelift spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
The cars will be given a substantial makeover, with the headlights taking on a design similar to the units found on the latest GLE SUV. This should provide further differentiation between the E-Class family and smaller C-Class, which the current E-Class closely resembles. A shot including the current E-Class provides a good contrast.
There also appears to be a new grille hidden beneath some of the camouflage gear. The taillights will also be renewed, and you can count on the designers changing the front and rear fascias too.
It isn't fully clear what the designers have in store for the cabin but it's possible we see Mercedes' latest infotainment system added (shown below). The system, known as MBUX, features a large touchscreen that can be operated much like a smartphone or tablet. The infotainment system also includes natural speak voice activation.
Mercedes-Benz MBUX user interface
In the powertrain department, we could see the E450 trim swap from a V-6 to Mercedes' new 3.0-liter inline-6 and mild-hybrid setup. A high-performance version of this powertrain already features in the E53 from Mercedes-AMG that was added for 2019. A plug-in hybrid option should also join the range.
An E63 from AMG will continue to be the range-topper, with its powertrain to remain a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. Peak output could be lifted beyond the current model's 603 horsepower in E63 S trim, though.
Look for the updated E-Class family to debut in late 2019 or early the following year. As mentioned above, the cars should be introduced for the 2021 model year.