2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Pleasing some of the people all of the time

2021 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic sedan

By Chuck Giametta

What changes will make the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class different?

Maybe a new exterior color to accompany the 16 already available. Perhaps yet another wheel design beyond the 10 on tap. Are 15 interior color choices and 66 hues of ambient lighting enough? Is there room for a twelfth variety of cabin trim to complement the returning 11 woods, metals, and carbon fiber?  

Face it, there’s not much Mercedes-Benz can add to a 2022 E-Class lineup that’ll again offer such profusion across four body styles, four engine options, rear- and all-wheel drive, even an “all-terrain” station wagon. Indeed, following model-year-2021 updates to styling, powertrains, connectivity, and safety, expect no changes of note to the ’22 E-Class.

This roster of sedans, wagons, convertibles, and coupes is no longer the best-selling Mercedes-Benz line; that would be the GLE midsize crossover SUV. But it remains an important brand symbol and a strong seller in the crowded premium midsize-car segment. During the first half of 2021, the E-Class ranked No. 2 in sales behind the Lexus ES and ahead of its German-brand rivals, the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6      

Should I wait for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class or buy a 2021?

2021 E450 All-Terrain wagon

Buy a 2021, particularly if you’re interested in the two-door Coupe or the convertible, called the Cabriolet. Recognizing the market shift to crossovers, Mercedes plans to discontinue seven car models. No timetable has been made public, but reports say coupes and convertibles in several model lines are in jeopardy. If you’re eying one from the E-Class roster, shopping the ’21s could be your best chance at the precise model you want.

Rest assured the E-Class sedan will carry on. And Mercedes evidently has faith in the wagon’s future, as evidenced by the model-year-2021 introduction of the crossover-flavored E450 All-Terrain with extra body cladding and elevated ground clearance.

Overall, any 2022 E-Class is apt to be a virtual rerun of its ’21 counterpart, although each will almost certainly cost more. Still, if this general packaging appeals – and you’re considering a pure-electric vehicle, which the E-Class doesn’t offer — you might want to wait for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQE.

This new four-door sedan is slightly smaller on the outside than the E-Class sedan but should offer more interior room thanks to the space efficiencies of its skateboard-chassis electric powertrain. The EQE will have AWD via two electric motors, 400 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, and a 200-plus-mile range. Pricing should start around $65,000.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

It’s part of Mercedes’ plan to have a pure-electric vehicle in every automotive segment it serves by 2022. A big part of that plan is the EQS, due in late 2021. As the EQE is an E-Class counterpart, the EQS is the all-electric analog to Mercedes’ full-size S-Class flagship. It’ll come in 329- and 516-horsepower variants with range topping out around 400 miles.

The next big change for the E-Class is likely a full redesign for model-year 2024. Buying a ’21 or ’22 will get you styling and features that won’t change drastically until then.

Assuming the Coupe and Cabriolet return, the 2022 E-Class lineup should again feature the four body styles and be anchored by the turbocharged four-cylinder E350 sedan. All the body styles will also return “mild hybrid” E450 models with a turbo six-cylinder assisted by a small electric motor.

Sedans, Coupes, and Cabriolets would also reprise high-performance AMG E53 grades with a more powerful version of the E450 mild-hybrid six. And the 2022 E-Class sedan and wagon should again be available in ultra-high-performance AMG E63 S form with a twin-turbo V-8. Expect the E350 sedan and E450 Coupe and Cabrio to again offer rear-wheel drive or Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD). The other models will remain AWD only.   

Will 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class styling be different?

2021 AMG E53 Cabriolet

Don’t count on much beyond a new color or two. The 2022 E-Class will carryover appearance changes that came with the 2021 refresh. It was the current generation’s first update since its model-year 2017 introduction. Mercedes altered the nose, tail, and wheels, and revamped the interior with new materials and a new steering wheel. The look is clean and sophisticated inside and out.

Model-grade differences will again include vertical-bar grilles, more aggressive air intakes, and aero body addenda for the AMG models. AMG Line and Night option packages will again give E350 and E450 models elements of that look. Wheel design and size will remain another differentiator. Expect E350 and E450 models to again feature 18-inch alloys or optional 19s, the E53s to come with 19s, and the E63 S sedan and wagon to return with 20s.  

Supporting its off-road aesthetic, the 2022 All-Terrain wagon will again get its own grille, matte-black cladding, and standard 19-inch or optional 20-inch wheels. It’ll have 5.8 inches of ground clearance, roughly 2 inches more than the other E-Class models but 1.5-2-inches less than the typical premium-midsize crossover SUV.    

2021 E450

Every ’22 E-Class cabin will continue to define the modern luxury-vehicle experience, with artful shapes, rich details, and high-class materials. Highlights will again include distinctive round climate vents and a 12.3-inch central infotainment touchscreen dovetailed with a 12.3-inch configurable digital instrument display. Optional again for all models will be a head-up display that projects key data onto the windshield before the driver; for ’21 it cost $1,100.

Carried over from the ’21 refresh will be the latest iteration of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). This infotainment system has learning-capable software and responds to touch controls on the steering wheel and console. It also recognizes natural voice commands triggered by saying “Hey, Mercedes” followed by, for example, “I could use a coffee” to search.

Wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will remain standard. For model-year 2022, we’d suggest Mercedes make wireless charging standard on the E350 and E450 sedans, as it is on the other E-Class models.

Embedded satellite navigation that doesn’t require a cell signal to provide real-time GPS mapping will remain standard across the board. Expect augmented video that layers nav directions over live imagery of the roadway ahead to remain an option at around $350.        

2021 E450 sedan with optional two-tone leather upholstery

A power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and heated power front seats, both with memory, will again be standard. Ventilated front seats will be standard on the E63 S and remain available on the other models fitted with leather upholstery.

Mercedes’ imitation-leather M-B Tex should return as standard on E350 and E450 sedans and on the All-Terrain wagon. The E53 sedan should again have M-B Tex with microfiber inserts. Leather should remain optional on those models – at around $1,600-$3,000 – and standard for Coupes, Cabrios, and the E 63 S sedan and wagon. It’ll return in a variety of grades and patterns, including two-tones.

E-Class cabins will again be accented with genuine wood veneers in a range of types and finishes. AMG models will again substitute aluminum or, at extra cost, metal weave or carbon fiber. Sedans will again seat five, Coupes and Cabrios four. The All-Terrain should remain available with an optional rear-facing third-row seat that increases capacity to seven.

2021 E450 All-Terrain wagon with optional rear-facing third-row seat

Returning will be 40/20/40 split/folding rear seatbacks for ’22 E-Class sedans and wagons and 50/50 backs for Coupes and Cabrios. At 13.1 cubic feet, sedan trunk space is average for the class. The Coupe and Cabrio cut that to a still-useful 10 cubic feet. At 35 cubic feet with the rear seatback up and 64 with it folded, the ’22 E-Class All-Terrain and E63 S wagon will again be credible cargo-carrying alternatives to taller, less wieldy midsize crossover SUVs. All E-Class trunks and liftgates will continue with hands-free power operation standard.  

All this makes for an inviting premium experience. Room and comfort in the sedans and wagons is outstanding front and rear. The All-Terrain’s rear-facing third row is child-sized but handy, nonetheless. Special mention goes to the Active Multicontour front seats with massage option. Their side bolsters contract automatically during cornering to hold you in place with a reassuring hug that never gets old. Expect them to return for sedans and wagons at around $1,320.

The 2022 E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet will again treat front-seaters to fine accommodations. Rear passengers must contend with access complicated by the two-door design and legroom squeezed by a wheelbase (distance between front and rear axles) 2.6 inches shorter than that of the sedan and wagon. Still, medium-sized adults can ride in back for modest distances without feeling too constricted.

2021 E-Class MBUX touchpad

Less praiseworthy is the MBUX’s center-console touchpad interface. It translates your contact imprecisely and, worse, its raised surface invites unintentional brushes of your hand, so suddenly, the screen’s map is gone. The central touchscreen itself is crisp and bright, but a stretch to reach. And the steering wheel’s plastic capacitive-touch buttons are undersized and provide poor feedback.

Finally, the floating directional cues of the augmented-reality video show up only on the dashboard navigation screen. That means you must look away from the road just as you need them most. Better to rely on the nav system’s voice prompts and instructions projected onto the gauge screen or the head-up display.

Any 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class mechanical changes?

2021 AMG E53 Coupe

Nothing likely, meaning the 2022 E-Class will reprise engines that range from relatively prosaic to positively heroic. All models will continue with a nine-speed automatic transmission shifted by Mercedes’ steering-column stalk or, for manual-type gear control, by steering-wheel paddles.

The 2022 E350 sedan will return with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque (torque is the key ingredient in acceleration). This output is about par for entry-level engines in this class and provides perfectly adequate acceleration, although at around 6 seconds 0-60 mph, it’s no quicker than many non-premium-class midsize sedans.

In step with any premium car will be the 2022 E450 sedan, Coupe, Cabrio, and All-Trac. They’ll again have a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder with 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This engine uses Mercedes’ EQ Boost system in which an electric supercharger adds up to 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque during acceleration. It’s an unassailable success. Zero-60 comes in a rapid 4.9 seconds but more impressive is the near instantaneous throttle response from any speed.

We contend the E450 models will again represent the best balance of performance and value in the 2022 E-Class lineup. And we’ll argue the sweet spot among muscled-up E-Class models will remain the E53 sedan, Coupe, and Cabrio. They’ll again be “enhanced,” as Mercedes describes it, by its AMG super-tuning team and use a version of the EQ Boost 3.0-liter six.

With 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque the E53s will again do 0-60 in around 4.4 seconds and provide the same thrilling supercharger-juiced throttle response as the E450s. As a bonus, the EQ Boost technology incorporates an integrated starter generator, making restarts from automatic idle stops imperceptible.

2021 AMG E63 S wagon

Getting the full AMG treatment will again be the E63 S sedan and E63 S wagon. Their twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, hand built by a single AMG specialist, will again have 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. They’ll hit 60 mph in a spine-compressing 3.3 seconds and include sharper-tuned versions of the recalibrated AWD, transmission, and suspension AMG provides for the E53 models.

These ultimate-E-Class cars are remarkable automobiles, especially the too-cool wagon. But with their savage power, less absorbent low-profile tires, and racetrack-ready suspension, we find the E63 S models almost too brutal in everyday driving. Their six-figure prices are pitiless, too.

Mercedes’ 4Matic AWD maintains a rear-wheel-drive bias in normal driving and automatically shuffles power to the tires with the most grip to optimize traction in dry and slippery conditions. The E 63 S system can also be set to rear-drive only, enabling tire-smoking, tail-out drifting. The All-Terrain’s 4Matic features off-road modes and downhill speed control.

An air suspension that reacts automatically to the road surface and contributes to body control in turns will again be standard on the AMGs and the All-Terrain and optional for the other ’22 E-Class models at around $1,900.

2021 E450 4Matic sedan

Every ’22 E-Class will again be a serene, stable long-distance cruiser. Each should also handle with aplomb, responding accurately to steering inputs and changing direction with rewarding balance. The AMG versions corner tenaciously but absorb bumps poorly. The truest luxury experience is an E350 or E450 with the standard 18-inch wheels and tires for the quiet, buttery ride they promote.

In our tests, an E450 sedan with the air suspension and 19-inch wheels and tires was unable to keep big bumps and tar strips from intruding into the cabin. More troubling, cornering on broken pavement caused it to judder and feint.

Will 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class fuel economy improve?

2021 E450 Cabriolet

Since no mechanical changes are expected, 2022 E-Class EPA ratings should repeat those of the 2021 models. Overall, fuel economy should remain competitive with rivals of similar specification, although the EQ Boost engines are again likely to stand out as notably fuel-efficient, given their ample power.

Expect the 2022 E350 sedan to again rate 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined with rear-wheel drive and 22/30/25 with AWD. The E450 sedan, with 4Matic standard, should again rate 23/30/26 mpg. The E450 Coupe and Cabrio should remain within 1 mpg of those numbers in each category. The 2022 E450 All-Terrain should return at 22/28/24 mpg.

Look for the 2022 E53 sedan, also with 4Matic standard, to again rate 22/29/25 mpg, with the E53 Coupe and Cabrio within 1 mpg in each category.

Among AMG models – with 4Matic standard on all — expect the 2022 E53 sedan to rate 22/29/25 mpg, with the E53 Coupe and Cabrio within 1 mpg. The 2022 AMG E63 S sedan and wagon should repeat at 16/23/18. Mercedes will again require premium-grade 91-octane gas for every ‘22 E-Class.

Will there be new 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class features?

2021 AMG E63 S

With an already abundant catalog of standard and optional equipment – did me mention the Cabrio’s fabric soft top is available in four colors? – there’s not much Mercedes could add to the 2022 E-Class.

One might argue that leather upholstery ought to be standard across the board. And we’ve already suggested Mercedes make wireless phone charging standard instead of asking E350 and E450 sedan buyers to pay $200 for it.

But more important would be for the automaker to expand standard safety features. Every ’22 E-Class will again come with autonomous emergency braking designed to stop it automatically to mitigate a frontal collision with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian. Blind spot detection will also remain standard. These are very basic driver assists. Most companies make them standard even on far less expensive cars, and also include many safety features for which Mercedes charges extra.

For example, 2021 E350 and E450 sedan customers — the majority of the E-Class’s clientele – had to pay extra for the safety of rear cross-traffic alert. Warning of vehicles approaching as you back from a space was standard on all other E-Class cars but available on E350 and E450 sedans only as part of a $2,300 Premium Package (which also included a stunning Burmester Surround Sound system, autonomous parking assist, and surround-view video).     

We’d advocate that Mercedes make rear-cross traffic alert standard across the board. It should do the same with elements of the Driver Assistance Package. For ’21, this package was a $1,950 option on all E-Class models. Most notably it included adaptive cruise control to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead. E-Class buyers had to order the package to other get safety features increasingly standard even on economy cars, such as lane-maintaining automatic steering correction and automatic braking to prevent turning into oncoming traffic.

2021 E-Class capacitive-touch steering-wheel controls

To Mercedes’ credit, the Driver Assistance Package also included lots of other technology, such as evasive steering assist, automatic lane-change assist, speed-limit-sensing cruise control, and alters not to exit the car if traffic is approaching from the rear. It also included sensors that prime occupant-protection systems if you’re about to be rear-ended. All this should return for ’22 and generally works as advertised, although in our tests we found the lane-maintaining automatic-steering inputs so violent that we went into the system’s menu and disabled it.

In addition to standard equipment and options already discussed, other noteworthy features expected to return include a panoramic moonroof in place of a smaller sunroof. It should again be standard on the Coupes and E 63 S wagon and a $1,000 option on the other non-convertibles.

A heated rear seat for sedans and wagons should again cost $580. A heated steering wheel will likely remain standard on the E 63 S models and an option for other E-Class cars at $250. It should also remain included, along with rapid-heating front seats and heated front armrests, in the $1,050 Warmth and Comfort Package. Separate rear climate controls would remain exclusive to the E-Class wagons as a $760 option.

Finally, E350 and E450 buyers would surely appreciate the rear side-window sunshades and power rear-window sunshade that have been limited to the AMG models as part of their $380 Sun Protection Package.

Will 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class prices be different?

2021 E-Class line

They’ll almost certainly increase and while they’ll remain steep, the 2022 E-Class will again be priced competitively against direct rivals from Audi and BMW – with the high-value-for-money Genesis G80 a very credible new premium-midsize-sedan alternative at thousands less than the segment’s European-brand stalwarts.

For reference, here are 2021 E-Class base prices, including Mercedes’ $1,050 destination fee. As should be evident by the options prices already mentioned, base prices tend to rise quickly as you add safety, performance, comfort, and convenience features.

Our test 2021 E450 4Matic sedan, for example, had a base price of $63,050, including destination. Its sticker ballooned to $79,170 with addition of 17 extra-cost items, among them the Premium Package, the Driver Assistance Package, the air suspension, leather upholstery ($1,620), the Multicountour front seats, panoramic roof, Cardinal Red Metallic paint ($1,080) and AMG twin-spoke 19-inch wheels ($1,000).

The ’21 E350 sedan started at $55,300 with rear-wheel drive and at $57,800 with AWD. Other sedan base prices: $63,050 for the E450, $$74,950 for the E53, and $108,550 for the E63 S.

The 2021 E450 All-Terrain wagon started at $68,650 and the E63 S wagon at $113,500. Base prices for Coupes ranged from $66,000 to $77,300 for Cabriolets from $73,000 to $83,900.

When does the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class come out?

2021 AMG E53 Cabriolet

Expect a 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class release date in the third quarter of 2021

Best 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class competitors

Audi A6, A6 AllRoad, and RS6 Avant; BMW 5 Series and 8 Series; Cadillac CT5, Genesis G80, Porsche Panamera and Taycan, Volvo S60

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]