Home » First Drive: The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Levels Up Connectivity and Comfort

First Drive: The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Levels Up Connectivity and Comfort

by multimill
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Chunky SUVs, whispering EVs, and tarmac-melting AMGs seem all the rage at Mercedes-Benz these days. Which is why there’s something very reassuring about the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic sedan. This is a car that hews to the core values of the three-pointed star; a car whose quiet comfort and elegant functionality is underpinned by deeply competent engineering and cutting-edge technology. Amid all the sound and fury of the modern world, this is a sedan that soothes the soul.

The E450 4Matic heads a two-car lineup of redesigned E-Class sedans that’s scheduled to go on sale in the second quarter of 2024. Under the hood is the same M256 mild-hybrid power train as the current model, but the output of the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine has been boosted by 13 hp to 375 hp, and the 48-volt integrated starter generator—mounted between the engine and the nine-speed automatic transmission—now puts out an additional 22 hp when needed.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

Mercedes-Benz

The E450 will be joined by the E350 4Matic, which is powered by the M254 mild-hybrid power train first seen in the redesigned C-Class. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops the same 255 hp as the engine in the outgoing non-hybrid model, but that’s now augmented by the 22 hp available from the integrated starter generator, and torque has been increased by eight percent to 295 ft lbs.

Underneath the redesigned exterior and interior, the new E-Class, codenamed W214, uses much of the same hardware as the current car. And that’s no bad thing, given the fundamental impressiveness of the current model’s chassis. Among the key hardware changes, however, has been a 0.87-inch increase in the wheelbase, and the availability of rear-wheel steering. The latter system, which reduces the turning circle by up to 35.4 inches, comes as part of the optional Technology Package, which also includes air suspension and continuously adjustable damping.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

The few key hardware changes include a 0.87-inch increase in the wheelbase, and the availability of rear-wheel steering.

Mercedes-Benz

The redesigned exterior is defined by crisp character lines over the wheels, a new front-end graphic that links the grille and the standard LED headlights in a black panel, and new taillights with a three-pointed star graphic. The overall effect has been to endow the E-Class with a subtly more muscular road presence, and details such as flush door handles and carefully sculpted front and rear bumpers have helped deliver a drag coefficient of 0.23. Available wheel sizes range from 18 inches to the 21-inch setup fitted to our test car.

The interior makeover has been much more dramatic. In addition to being slightly roomier, particularly in the rear, the latest E-Class debuts Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX Superscreen. Available as an option, the Superscreen covers the right two-thirds of the dash immediately adjacent to the new vertical instrument panel—which can be optioned to have a 3-D display, as in the S-Class—and features a 14.4-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch display for the front passenger, all under a single glass sheet.

The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine inside a 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine has been boosted by 13 hp to 375 hp, and the 48-volt integrated starter generator puts out an additional 22 hp when needed.

Mercedes-Benz

A new compatibility layer added to the MBUX system—the functions of which now run off a single processor that delivers improved performance and higher data speeds—allows the installation of third-party apps. This, combined with an inward facing camera on top of the dash that’s part of the MBUX Superscreen package, means occupants can participate in Zoom meetings when the car is stationary. And even when the car is moving, front-seat passengers can stream movies, videos, and other audio/visual content on their screen, as the system automatically masks the display from the driver’s field of vision.

According to Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius, the MBUX Superscreen is no glittery gimmick. “We’re absolutely convinced customers in China and some of the Asian markets want to turn their car into an entertainment center, a gaming center, a work center, a relaxation center,” he says. “And we can see that’s also starting to take off in Western markets. So, from this point forward, when we launch new vehicle architectures, every Mercedes will have the option of a pillar-to-pillar screen.”

The MBUX Superscreen inside the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

Available as an option, the MBUX Superscreen features a 14.4-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch display for the front passenger.

Mercedes-Benz

The MBUX Superscreen is the most obvious physical manifestation of the real story of this new E-Class: a dramatic increase in software-driven technologies and functions aimed at making both driver and passengers feel more connected, comfortable, and in control.

A digital key function, part of the standard Keyless Go package, allows the vehicle to be unlocked and started with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch. And the main user of the car’s Mercedes me app can allow up to 16 other people the right to either unlock or drive the car.

A nascent AI system enables E-Class owners to use templates or create what Mercedes-Benz calls “routines” that can link several functions and conditions. For example, the E-Class can be set up to switch on the seat heating and turn the ambient lighting to warm orange if the interior temperature is below 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In the future, AI will learn which comfort systems the drivers repeatedly use in certain conditions, and automatically activate them.

The rear-passenger seating in the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

The interior of the new E-Class is slightly roomier, particularly at the back.

Mercedes-Benz

A new Driving Assistance Plus package, available in Europe, enables the car to have nearly Level 3 autonomous driving capability. You must keep your hands lightly on the steering wheel, but with the cruise control activated, the package’s active lane change assist automatically guided our car into the overtaking lane on the freeway when it came upon a slower-moving vehicle, but not before checking for faster traffic coming from behind, and activating the turn signals.

Like the S-Class, the new E-Class requires minimal effort to operate. But if you enjoy driving, the vehicle displays the confident capability that has been the hallmark of the very best E-Class models over the past four decades. This is a car that will happily waft around the suburbs yet stop and steer with composed authority when you want to hustle it down a winding two-lane road.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

A new Driving Assistance Plus package, available in Europe, enables the car to have nearly Level 3 autonomous driving capability.

Mercedes-Benz

The mild-hybrid, six-cylinder power train is smooth but has punch, and though you can choose to digitally augment the sound to make it rumble like a V-8, it’s best left alone to emit only a muted snarl under hard acceleration. That’s because the rest of the car is so quiet. Even on the low profile 21-inch tires, this E-Class is as quiet in the cabin as an S-Class . . . all the better to enjoy the standard 730 watt Burmester 4-D surround-sound system.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

Mercedes-Benz has yet to announce stateside pricing on its E-Class model line.

Mercedes-Benz

The ride in the default Comfort mode is plush; selecting Sport mode gently reigns in the secondary body motions without making the car feel harsh or edgy. But there is no Sport+ mode; the car doesn’t need it, and it would add nothing to the overall experience. If you want thunder and drama from an E-Class sedan, wait for the AMG version.

Mercedes-Benz USA has yet to announce stateside pricing, but sources say the higher level of standard equipment will result in an increase slightly over the $65,550 and $59,250, respectively, for the current E450 and E350 iterations.

Click here for more photos of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

Driving the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic in action.

Mercedes-Benz



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