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The Best Vehicles From Mercedes-Benz in 2020

Reviewing the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Lineup

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Pro will only be available for MY 2020

The best-selling premium car brand in the world has retained this flattering title for eighth consecutive year in 2018. The German automaker’s global sales for the year have reached 2,310,185 vehicles, which is a barely significant increase of 0.9 percent over 2017. However, an increase it is, and Mercedes-Benz is already working on maintaining this momentum for the foreseeable future. In that light, we’ll now focus on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz lineup and all the benefits it might bring to the brand.

The overall success that the brand has exhibited in 2018 wasn’t steady in every regional market, however. U.S. sales, which amounted to 354,144 units, fell by almost 5 percent compared to 2017 when the brand had reached its all-time U.S. high market share of 2.16 percent with 372,240 vehicles sold. The German company’s largest single market in Europe has also suffered a small drop in sales of 2.3 percent which means that compensation has come from the usual source. You guessed it – the Chinese market. The ever-growing thirst for cars in the world’s most populated country was exhibited by a significant 11.1 percent growth in Mercedes-Benz sales. The German carmaker’s 2018 sales in China stopped at 652,996 units while the entire Asia-Pacific region has consumed 943,473 Mercedes-Benz cars and exhibited a steady growth of 7.8 percent.

The next step for the most recognized German luxury brand is, obviously, electrification. Mercedes-Benz is planning on bringing more than ten all-electric vehicles to global markets by 2022. Their overall approach will remain unchanged, though, as the company also plans on continuing to rely on internal combustion and, to some extent, hybrid cars. According to board member Ola Källenius of Daimler’s Board of Management, 75 percent of models sold in 2025 are expected to be fitted with traditional powertrains. Ola Källenius is also responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development and he’s announced the company will strive to offer one electrified vehicle in every model series in due time. This could bring the total of Mercedes-Benz vehicles with some sort of an electric powertrain to around 50.

Before the future promised by Källenius arrives, though, let’s take a look at the Mercedes-Benz portfolio for MY 2020, as promised above.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Mercedes-Benz Lineup

10. 2020 GLE Class

The Current M/GLE Class of Mercedes-Benz’s intermediate crossovers never really succeeded in asserting themselves among their more competent and reliable competitors. The next-gen GLE Class aims to rectify that issue by stepping up and bringing the crossover range to another level.

The redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE SUVs is available as of Spring 2019 and initially comes in only two configurations. The GLE 350 and GLE 450 will later be joined by more powerful AMG versions and possibly even a hybrid, but that likely won’t happen in time for MY 2020.

The new models have received an extensive design overhaul – both inside and out. They’re now even more luxurious and better equipped thanks to standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and LED headlights. What’s more, they’ve finally gotten rid of their predecessors’ bumpy ride quality and poor fuel economy. The base models are available for less than $55,000, but their upper-end prices still retain one of the biggest upsides on the market, requiring almost a full $100,000 with all optional boxes ticked off.

As already mentioned, the initial GLE Class offering for 2020 consists of the 2.0L turbo four-powered GLE 350 and the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six-powered GLE 450. The former engine generates 255 hp and 273 lb-ft torque, while the stronger unit delivers 367 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque thanks to a 48-vold mild-hybrid system that provides a boost up to 22 hp and 21 lb-ft. Both are paired with contemporary 9-speed automatics, and while the latter comes exclusively in 4Matic all-wheel drive configuration, the less powerful units can also be ordered with rear-wheel drive.

One of the GLE Class’ new features is the company’s E-Active body control system exclusively available with the more powerful models. It combines the car’s forward-facing sensors with its air suspension in order to anticipate road imperfections ahead and act accordingly. This feature is, of course, optional, and costs extra.

When all is said and done, the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE Class finally gives the German automaker a larger crossover worthy of its three-pointed star badge. The SUV has also finally received a third row of seating thanks to an additional 3.1 inches of wheelbase length, making the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Class a huge up-and-comer for families.

All-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Class front 3/4 view

 

09. 2020 EQC

The all-new fully-electric compact crossover from Mercedes-Benz looks like a successful piece of business already considering all designated 2019-year models have been sold out and most 2020 units are likely spoken for too, by now.

The EQC is based on the GLC Class with which it shares both platform and dimensions, but not powertrains of course. Instead of the GLC’s internal combustion engines, the EQC packs dual asynchronous electric motors and a large 80-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Their total output comes to 402 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque which allows the new crossover to max out at an electronically-limited 112 mph and accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds.

The battery itself is able to provide up to 260 miles of range on a single charge, but those are the European market figures. The EPA will surely be more strict with it, but the EQC is still expected to deliver well-north of 200 miles of range. A 7.4-kW onboard charger is a standard piece of equipment and can endure up to 110 kilowatts from public stations which can refill 80 percent of the battery in about 40 minutes.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC’s prices start from $67,900 which undercuts most of its rivals including the Jaguar I Pace and Audi e-tron. Pre-orders have already been conducted last year and EV has entered the production phase in mid-2019.

Apart from the above mentioned, the all-electric crossover provides a level of refinement we’re accustomed to when it comes to Mercedes-Benz. A list of available features is also long and, given the EQC’s hefty price tag, probably even richer than its platform-sharing GLC sibling could boast.

The interior itself, however, dons a different theme than is usually the case with plushy Mercedes-Benz models by adopting a more contemporary style that relies heavily on touchscreen displays. We’ll have the full scoop once the new car makes it off the assembly line and into the garages of their new owners.

Mercedes-Benz EQC EV front 3/4 view

 

08. 2020 GLS Class

The smaller GLE Class models aren’t the only Mercedes-Benz SUVs that have shed their skin for MY 2020. The full-size luxury GLS Class has been given a complete makeover as well. The new, third-generation GLS (previously known as the GL) adopts the next-gen Mercedes-Benz styling, but overall, doesn’t change all that much from the already stylish and imposing outgoing models.

However, it does offer more standard features (especially safety ones), more space, and even more plushy materials inside. At 12.3 inches, the new touchscreen display is a lot bigger than the old 8-inch unit. The entire interior is bigger thanks to a 2-inch increase in wheelbase length which now allows for captain’s chairs to be utilized.

The new GLS Class has arrived to dealerships in the second half of 2019 and starts from $75,000 (GLS450). The range-topping GLS580, on the other hand, costs at least $98,000 before destination and delivery charges. Not to mention insurance costs. Even the ultra-luxury Maybach version is apparently in the works, but there’s no info on when it might appear.

The powertrain lineup of the next-gen Mercedes-Benz GLS Class consists of a range of powerful twin-turbocharged engines. The new 3.0L inline-six with mild-hybrid technology serves as an entry level, and cranks up 367 horses and 369 lb-ft of twist. More powerful versions utilize 4.0L biturbo V8s which are perfectly capable of delivering 483 ponies and 516 lb-ft, while a 600-plus horsepower AMG version of the SUV is also in the works. The latter, however, likely won’t make it in time for MY 2020 and should join the lineup the following year instead.

As before, the 4Matic all-wheel drive is mandatory across the GLS range, and so is a modern 9-speed in-house automatic transmission. The U.S. market shouldn’t get a diesel version anytime soon, and potential hybrids are still an uncharted territory for the GLS.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS Class

07. 2020 S Class

The S Class has been the epitome of refinement and comfort since its introduction in the early 1970s. Since then, we’ve seen six generations of the car making its way through our city streets, but the all-new seventh-generation of the full-size car due for MY 2020, like always, promises a number of technological advancements.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S Class retains the outgoing model’s dimensions but features a slightly wider track and somewhat longer hood that make it more imposing than ever. The biggest change, however, is reserved for its interior. The new model features a gigantic touchscreen display like the one found in Tesla’s range, which could potentially eliminate all traditional knobs and buttons from the S Class portfolio.

A Level 3 self-driving system is expected to be offered as an option alongside a myriad of other driver aids. The initial models will all be sedans as the S Class coupe’s future is still uncertain. Prices are expected to go up which means you’ll need closer to $100,000 for the entry-level six-cylinder-powered models while we don’t even want to know how much the AMG-tuned units will cost – let alone the ultra-luxury Maybach iterations.

The entry-level S Class models are expected to be powered by a 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six engine with 367 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of rotational force, including a mild-hybrid assist. The more powerful versions should sport a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 which should be good for more than 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque the outgoing models are making at the moment.

The AMG sedans should crank up between 600 and 700 horsepower but they certainly won’t make it in time for MY 2020. In fact, even the entry-level models are expected to arrive at some point in 2020 – possibly as 2021-year models.

There’s still no info about possible hybrid models but we do know the Germans are preparing the EV counterpart to the S Class dubbed the EQS. The EQS, however, is expected to arrive in 2022, so we’ll officially count it out from the initial seventh-gen S Class range.

2020 Mercedes-Benz S Class test mule

 

06. 2020 G Class

The iconic G Class has finally received its first major update in late 2018 after being on the market for almost 30 years. The epitome of boxy styling, toughness, and off-road performance, however, still resembles the original which first left the Graz, Austria assembly in 1979.

The second-generation G Class SUVs are, however, slightly larger and more spacious. They’re also much more refined inside, and riddled with available convenience and tech features. The G Wagen’s exorbitant price tag of $125,000 represents a considerable obstacle, however. At $150,000, at least the AMG version isn’t as expensive as the S Class AMGs.

It’s important to remember that the new G Class sports an independent front suspension which improves on-road ride quality but impacts its overall off-road capability. Furthermore, there’s only one off-road mode in G Wagen’s drive mode selector. Although it’s still more than capable on dirt, the old models were definitely better.

The base G Class SUV is powered by a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 capable of raising 416 ponies and 450 pound-feet of torque. The AMG-tuned model, on the other hand, squeezes 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet from the same mill.

If that’s too much of a gap for you, another tuner house specializing in Mercedes-Benz models offers a remedy. The Brabus version of the base G 550 cranks up 493 horsepower and 524 pound-feet of twist – a whole 77 hp and 74 lb-ft more than the original. When they get hold of the AMG G 63, I guess all hell’s gonna break loose. For now, though, the “conventional” AMG G 63 will have to suffice to those with the most extreme requirements.

Now we can only lay back and enjoy its greatness until the next generation arrives about 25 years from now.

Mercedes-Benz G Class front 3/4 view

 

05. 2020 AMG GT

Introduced in 2015, the AMG GT is only the second car built entirely in-house by AMG, right after they said goodbye to the immaculate SLS AMG throwback. The GT lineup of coupes and roadsters has been on the market for a while now, and given us a number of different iterations including the 4-door coupe from 2018 or the track-focused GT3 from 2016. Not to mention that it’s been serving as the F1 safety car since its inauguration.

New for 2020 are some design and aerodynamics improvements that should help prolong the AMG GT’s lifespan. This second (minor) facelift brings in new headlights and taillights, a new rear diffuser for the GT and GT C models, new wheel options, and new paint schemes – both inside and out.

There’s also an all-new limited-run AMG GT R Pro model which shifts its focus to the track and will be offered for one year only. The special model sports a number of improvements including an adjusted coil-over suspension, standard carbon-ceramic brakes, lightweight torsion bars (a carbon frontal one and a hollow-steel rear one), a unique splitter and rear wing, and most importantly – lower weight.

The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Pro uses the regular GT R’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 mill with 577 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, but, as you can expect, is considerably quicker around the track than its non-Pro counterpart due to all the improvements it’s been blessed with. What’s more, every other iteration of the AMG’s masterpiece also uses the in-house M178 mill, but outputs vary.

The entry-level GT will give you 469 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque while the GT C cranks up 550 ponies and 502 pound-feet of twist. The former mid-range model GT S has been axed for MY 2020, leaving potential AMG GT buyers with a more straightforward choice from now on. Much like the M178 engine, the in-house 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch transmission is also standard across the board.

As for prices, they start from around $115,000 for the GT Coupe and north of $125,000 for the GT roadster, with the most expensive GT R Coupe and GT C Roadster models topping $160,000. The all-new AMG GT R Pro’s price might come as a shock but for just north of $200,000, the track-focused AMG beast definitely has a lot to offer.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Pro will only be available for MY 2020

 

04. 2020 GLC

With the all-new GLE Class available for model year 2020, it’s only natural for the facelifted GLC Class to arrive as well. Having debuted in 2016, the smaller lineup of crossovers is still too recent for a full makeover, but revised front and rear ends (together with some interior changes) are now a necessity. Needless to say, that’s pretty much exactly what the Germans are offering.

The compact SUV has found just shy of 70,000 new homes in the U.S. during 2018 which makes it one of the Stuttgart-based company’s better sellers and further underlined the need for a facelift. Considering it coincides with the next-gen GLE’s appearance, this mid-cycle update actually borrowed a detail or two from the larger line.

Interior-wise, the new GLC showcases a wider gap compared to its predecessor. The new MBUX infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a large part of that thought. A reshaped center console, and new trim and upholstery also play a role.

The base GLC Class models get a new M264 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engines worthy of 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of rotational force. The GLC 350e which adds a battery and an electric motor for a combined plug-in output of 315 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque is expected to carry over mostly unchanged.

Meanwhile, the dark side of the GLC range gets a performance boost. The AMG GLC 43 should from now on generate 385 horsepower instead of 362 ponies it’s had until now – courtesy of an updated 3.0L twin-turbo V6 that’s also found under the C Class’ hood. Finally, the range-topping AMG GLC 63 should develop either 469 horsepower or 503 horsepower depending on the chosen package. Of course, the AMG GLC 63 does have a larger 4.0L twin-turbo V8 to back it up.

Most versions are expected to field a new 9-speed automatic gearbox and mandatory all-wheel drive. Only the non-AMG units get a two-wheel drive option.

Mercedes-Benz GLC Class

03. 2020 CLA Class

The sub-$37,000 CLA Class is one of the most affordable ways of owning a Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. – especially a 4-door coupe-like fastback sedan. Based on the A Class, the CLA exhibits slightly larger proportions but less practicality than its role model nonetheless.

After debuting in 2013, the all-new second-generation CLA Class was finally revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2019. Compared to the outgoing model, the new CLA is around 2 inches longer and wider, while also sporting a lower stance.

Design-wise, the CLA is nothing short of stunning and credibly resembles the much more expensive CLS Class. In terms of available features, however, the two can’t really compare. The CLA does offer a number of advanced goodies, however, such as lane-keeping assist, parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control, but all at extra cost.

The second-generation 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class is more powerful than its predecessor. Although it shares the same 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine as both its predecessor and the all-new A Class, the new CLA develops 221 horsepower which is 13 hp more than the old model and 33 hp more than what the A Class makes. With 258 pound-feet of twist, the CLA Class lags by 37 lb-ft, but there’s no difference between the old model and the new.

A 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox is standard across the board, while prospective owners get to choose between a front and all-wheel drive. This should all be available initially but no less than two more powerful AMG alternatives should join the lineup after a while. The milder AMG CLA 35 will use the same turbo four but tuned to 302 ponies, while the range-topping AMG CLA 45 squeezes as much as 382 hp and 354 lb-ft out of a hand-built version of the mill.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Class Edition 1 model

02. 2020 SL Class

Ever since the above-mentioned AMG GT made its debut, the SL Class became something of a secondary option – at least as far as premium performance roadsters within the Mercedes-Benz range come to mind. After all, the SL’s sales have halved since 2015 and almost equal the more expensive AMG GT’s sales figures now.

It’s fair to say that the SL’s age has had something to do with that as well. Introduced back in 2013, the R231 generation is now officially in its senior years but the Germans are preparing a remedy. The all-new generation of the SL roadster is being readied for late 2020.

The new, eighth-generation Mercedes-Benz SL will be lighter than the outgoing model thanks to a new lightweight aluminum platform based on the aforementioned AMG GT, so there’s at least something good from the in-house competition after all. The new model will also save weight up top where the hallmark hard-top roof gives way to a new soft-top. This should also make it more practical as limitations imposed by the hard-top are going out the window. Expect prices to start from north of $90,000.

The eighth-generation Mercedes-Benz SL roadster should initially be offered with a twin-turbocharged 3.0L inline-six mill with a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist. The outgoing car’s entry-level model developed 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque so it’s safe to expect the new SL will make slightly more than that.

More powerful V8 alternatives are expected to arrive at a later date and the most powerful of them will likely be a hybridized 4.0L twin-turbo V8 with around 600 horsepower on tap. A tamer V8 version should also be offered.

As always, the SL roadsters will focus all their power to the rear wheels and a 9-speed automatic gearbox should be called upon to do the job. Until the new car arrives (likely for MY 2021), we’re stuck with what we’ve got.

Mercedes-Benz SL roadster front 3/4 view
Mercedes-Benz SL outgoing model pictured

01. 2020 E Class

The E Class bridges the sweet spot between the relatively affordable luxury of the C Class, and size and technological savviness of the S Class. Maybe that’s why it’s the only Mercedes-Benz range in the U.S. that offers a sedan, coupe, convertible, and good old fashioned wagon body styles.

Having made its debut in 2016 as an early 2017-year model, the fifth-generation W213 E Class is getting ready for a mid-cycle refresh in early 2020. The facelifted E Class adopts the front grille of the CLS Class coupe and the A-Class sedan while distancing itself from both its smaller C Class and larger S Class counterparts.

Apart from a few additional revisions to both the front and rear fascia, the refreshed E Class will also adopt some minor interior rearrangements. Expect its prices to remain mostly intact, however, with entry-level sedans starting from around $55,000.

There aren’t too many expected revisions to the E Class’ range of engines but the base E300 models are being replaced with more powerful E350’s. The entry-level engine remains a 2.0L turbo four unit, but will be making 269 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque from now on.

The next step on the ladder is an engine that every model shares, regardless of body style. The 3.0L twin-turbo V6 in question cranks up 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of twist. The most powerful 4.0L twin-turbo V8 with 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque can only be obtained in sedan and wagon body styles via the AMG E 63 badge. Finally, the E Class sedan offers another stepping stone to the top model in the face of the AMG E 53. This version of the E Class sedan sports a new 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six mill with a mild-hybrid assist, and generates 429 ponies and 384 lb-ft of torque.

Mercedes-Benz E Class test mule

 

What’s Not in the New 2020 Mercedes-Benz Lineup

02. 2020 SLC Class

The smallest Mercedes-Benz roadster currently available in the U.S. received its last substantial makeover back in 2016 when the entire line changed its name from SLK to SLC. Not counting the aforementioned change, the SLC actually stems from 2011 when the original R172 models had made their debut.

The compact roadster is officially scrapped from Mercedes-Benz books after MY 2020 which means this is the last new roadster from the line we’ll likely ever see. With no direct successor in company’s plans, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition models might be your best bet at obtaining a relatively affordable drop-top sports car with the three-pointed star badge.

The SLC Final Edition package is available with both the SLC 300 and AMG SLC 43 models and is little more than an appearance package. The former units are limited to Selenite Grey, while the latter come in a Sun Yellow paint scheme reminiscent of the original SLK from more than two decades ago. Both get the AMG-styled frontal fascia, a sport suspension, and larger brakes with cross-drilled rotors.

There are no changes in the SLC’s powertrain department, however. Special edition or not, the compact roadster continues with a 241-horsepower 2.0L turbo four in the base SLC 300 and a 361-horsepower twin-turbo V6 mill in the AMG SLC 43. Both are paired with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission which routes all the power to the rear set of wheels.

It’s still unclear how much of a hike their prices will exhibit but the Final Edition models will surely command more than around $50,000 and $65,000 which are the regular SLC 300’s and AMG SLC 43’s prices respectively. They’re also loaded with features which their more conventional counterparts are lacking.

Other than that, it’s the same old song and dance for the luxury compact roadster whose sales have slid beyond 2,000 units in the U.S. during 2018 for the first time since 2010. These are the only two times in its almost 25-year long history that this has happened which clearly shows the Germans were right in axing it.

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition marks the venerable roadster's end in 2020

 

01. 2020 C Class

The all-new C Class lineup is coming, but not quick enough from MY 2020’s standpoint. The W206-generation of Mercedes-Benz’s strong seller will make its debut in late 2020 for MY 2021 which leaves the 2020-year models with more of the same. Only blind-spot monitors have been added as standard equipment.

It’s true that the C Class was refreshed for MY 2019 but it’s also true that the W205 models haven’t been substantially updated since 2014. The next-gen Mercedes-Benz C Class is expected to be sportier and slightly larger than the current units, but even the outgoing models handle like a charm and pack quite a bit of heat.

Moreover, they’re available as sedans, coupes, or convertibles (wagons as well, overseas) which the next-gen models won’t be – at least not initially. Starting from north of $41,000, the entry-level C Class sedans are already quite expensive and offer barely enough advanced tech gear. Needless to say, things can quickly get even worse considering how the AMG-tuned C Class convertibles start from around $85,000 before extras. Not to mention the actual options which, as you know, tend to be extremely expensive in German luxury cars.

The Mercedes-Benz C Class range for 2020 retains the same lineup of powertrains from recent years. At the entry-level, the C 300 gets a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 255 ponies and 273 lb-ft of rotational force.

The AMG C 43 is a step up the ladder thanks to a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 worthy of 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the range-topping AMG C 63 uses a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 mill which puts up 469 ponies and 479 lb-ft of twist in its base or 503 horses and 516 pound-feet in its S form.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Germans offer a C Class sedan hybrid which pairs the base powertrain with an electric motor for insignificant gains, both in performance and efficiency. Only an automatic transmission is available with the U.S. market C Class and it’s usually a nine-speed unit. The hybrid makes do with an older 7-speed unit, though.

 

Mercedes-Benz C Class front 3/4 view







Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!