Mercedes-Benz has waltzed into the new decade with its head held high: not only has the brand posted impressive growth for another year, it has also managed to beat its closest rivals in the sales department, retaining the best-selling premium car brand crown for another consecutive year. While the likes of BMW and Audi also performed well, it was Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz that ended the decade on top.
If there’s talk of a slump in automotive sales lately, then it certainly isn’t affecting Mercedes at all. In fact, the luxury segment has been remarkably resilient to any market slumps; or rather, demand for premium vehicles is actually rising, while demand for mass-market models has waned. For 2019, Mercedes-Benz clocked up a total of 2.34 million vehicle sales, which is an impressive 1.3% increase over 2018. 2018 was also a record year for Mercedes, with sales of 2.31 million vehicles sold, and regular growth from the years before indicates that demand for the luxury brand shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s fair to say that these successful sales stats are buoyed up by the brand’s success in China. The demand for top end cars in the world’s largest automotive market has helped boost sales, with Mercedes enjoying a 6.2% sales increase in China, with local customers flexing their spending power to the tune of an average of more than 700 Maybach Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles sold every month.
The brand’s more traditional markets, such as the US and Europe also enjoyed a degree of growth, this is thanks to an increasing demand for the automaker’s sports utility vehicles and high-end limousine cars. The growth is positive, but it may not last. Over the next few years, the economic environment may not be as kind to the US and European markets as higher automatic tariffs may be enforced, stalling growth. Fortunately, Mercedes has ambitious plans to keep creating more exciting and technologically advanced models to appeal to the driving public.
Electrification is obviously factored into the brand’s future. In fact, Mercedes-Benz plan to bring more than 10 purely electric vehicles to the market by 2022. Despite the brand’s electric ambitious, Mercedes will also stay true to gasoline engines, with Mercedes-Benz and Daimler executive Ola Källenius explaining that 75% of all vehicles sold in 2025 will still be manufactured and sold with internal combustion engines, complimented with hybrid powertrains where possible. Källenius also mentioned plans to include at least one electric vehicle to be included in every model series within the very near future.
2025 is still a long way off, so we’ve decided to take a look at what’s coming sooner rather than later. At the moment, the concrete details about the 2021 Mercedes-Benz range are still thin on the ground. However, we’ve scoured the internet and contacted our sources to give a rough guide about what vehicles we can expect from the world’s best-selling premium car maker for the 2021 model year.
What To Expect From The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Line-Up
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Thought they’re expected to appear in late-2020, the first models of the new C-Class line-up will be 2021 Mercedes-Benz models. The first model to be unveiled is expected to be the sedan, followed by the station wagon, with additional models like the coupe and convertible making an appearance later on in 2021. If you’re expecting to see a shooting-brake CLT model, then prepare to be disappointed because there will be no new additions to the range. It seems like this may be the last year of the C-Class as we know it. Mercedes has already set wheels in motion to combine all of their conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, new hybrid models, and all-electric machines into one solid line-up, ranging from the A-Class to the S-Class, with the GLA and GLS SUVs following the same trend. Big changes will be coming over the next few years, but not before 2021.
The C-Class hasn’t had much in the way of a serious update since 2014. In 2019 it got a bit of a refresh, and 2020 did see the addition of a blind-spot monitors, but these recent updates haven’t been significant enough for anyone to really care about. Luckily, it seems like 2021 is going to be a more important year for the C-Class.
Heavily camouflaged test prototypes have been spotted out and about, giving us a nice overview of what to expect in the near future. At first glance, we can already see that the new C-Class has a lower front that sits closer to the ground, giving the 2021 model a more aggressive and sportier look than the current edition. The overall size, shape, and proportions of the vehicle don’t look to have changed too much though.
On the inside, there are some huge changes. The most significant upgrade is the addition of a large infotainment screen located front and center that serves as the interface for the Mercedes MBUX system, which the outgoing C-Class models didn’t feature. This advanced infotainment system boasts voice operated natural speech controls that allows the driver to keep hands-free control over their driving modes and other vehicle functions. We can also see a sleeker HUD display, but that’s about it at the moment—everything else was artfully concealed by a sheet.
The new C-Class will also operate using the existing MRA rear-wheel-drive platform that the current C-Class uses, but there will be some differences. Since the current MRA platform is still fairly fresh, there’s no need for Mercedes to go for a full-on overhaul, but Mercedes has decided to give it the edge over the previous generation by making some serious weight savings. It’s understood that Mercedes has used a great deal of aluminum instead of steel for the fabrication of many components, and thanks to advances in new joining technologies, it’s easier to weld steel and aluminum together—all this makes for a lighter and more performance oriented package.
Unsurprisingly, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is expected to feature the usual turbocharged 2.0 liter inline-four engine for the base morel, but with the addition of a mild hybrid system. That’s for the base model. We’re also expecting to see a plug-in hybrid version, an AMG developed C43 or C53 with mild hybrid technology. At the top of the range, sources have told us that there will be an AMG tuned C63 with hybrid hardware.
There’s also talk of an electric C-Class sedan getting thrown into the mix that’s expected to battle with the BWM i4 and Tesla Model 3, but we’ll have to wait and see for more solid information about that one.
2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Another exciting model is on the way for 2021, in the form of the new and improved S-Class. Days after the clock chimed in a new year and new decade, a rather interesting test vehicle was spotted out on the roads. While it’s still wearing quite a bit of camouflage, the new S-Class is also fitted out with quite a few final-product features, from the overall body to the new and improved lights. The test mule is even sporting a panoramic sunroof too. As you can see in these pictures and the excellent video, the new S-Class is almost production ready as it prowls the streets with its predecessor and CLS cousin.
As you can see, the camouflage is more of an affectation than a genuine attempt at keeping things concealed because we can see a lot of what the final production model is going to look like. From the start, it’s easy to see that the new bodywork isn’t a complete overhaul but a nice redesign that stays true to the old model in a lot of ways. The most obvious difference between the old and the new model would be the new door handles—or rather, the cleverly recessed pop-out door handles. These give the new model a nice streamlined look that make this luxury car look even more luxurious.
On the outside, there isn’t really that much to talk about, but spy shots of the interior suggest that the new S-Class models will have an overhauled interior. By the looks of things, there’s going to be a new dashboard arrangement, and that all of those fiddly buttons and dials are going to be digitalized and controlled by a huge touchscreen user interface that drivers can use to control all aspects of their drive. It won’t be dissimilar to the C-Class upgrades listed above. It means that Mercedes is following Tesla’s example by going for the big screen infotainment center across the board.
And what about the powertrain? Nothing is confirmed at the moment but it must be noted that Daimler’s Ola Källenius did say that the V12 engine isn’t as dead as many people have speculated. At the Guangzhou Auto Show in 2019 Källenius told journalists that the new S-Class would be getting a V12, while the Maybach GLS would not be. So, we know there’s a V12 option in there somewhere. On top of that, it’s expected that the S-Class will get a hybrid option that will probably be built on top of the current S560e, with a turbocharged V6 and electric motor pairing.
Any rumors about an upcoming all-electric S-Class can probably be nipped in the bud, since an all-electric model is probably a good few years away at the earliest. While we’re on the subject of telling hard truths, the new S-Class will only be available with long-wheel-base models—or extra-long for the Maybach—with no two-door coupe or cabriolet coming.
Lastly: when is the production model likely to break cover? We have a feeling that the Paris Motor Show in October would be the most obvious time for a grand unveiling, with the new S-Class badged up as 2021 models.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
Up next, we have the upcoming E-Class Coupe from the 2021 Mercedes-Benz line-up. Okay, so the E-Class is hardly the most exciting model being talked about for 2021, but Mercedes is working had to give the coupe a refresh that it truly deserves. The C 238 designated E-Class has been spied out testing, and despite the camouflage wrapper we can see that it’s going to have some interesting changes and upgrades for 2021.
The first obvious updates are the headlights, which have been upgraded and redesigned to bring the E-Class Coupe into line with the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s other vehicles like the CLS, GLC, and newer models listed above. The not-so-subtle coverings at the rear of the prototype also suggest that the rear lights will also be tweaked to match the front but not completely upgraded altogether. It also looks like the bumpers are getting a reshaping too. That’s about all we can see from the outside for now.
The outside has some interesting updates, but like with most things: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The interior looks to be getting some minor updates too, and like the models listed above, we can expect the E-Class to follow suit with scrapping the old COMAND infotainment suite in favor of the new and more technologically advanced MBUX infotainment system.
Talking of what’s on the inside: how about underneath? At the moment, there is absolutely no information available but it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that there won’t be any kind of upgrades to the standard powertrain options. However, we certainly think that Mercedes will be offering some kind of mild hybrid option as the whole of the industry slowly shifts towards the inevitable electrification of all vehicles in the not so distant future.
It’s too early to have a guess at what options will be available, but if we had to make a ballpark estimate then we could see the E450 scrapping the older 3.0 liter V6 powerplant in exchange for the smaller 3.0 liter inline-six but combined with the mild hybrid tech that you currently find on the AMG E53. Maybe. There’s also talk of a plug-in hybrid that could be using the AMG E63’s 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 but that sounds a little too fanciful for the time being. It would be very cool though.
As for costs, trim levels, and a potential release date or unveiling, we have absolutely no idea. The prices and trim levels will depend on what the final product is like. For the unveiling though? The Geneva Motor Show might be the earliest opportunity for Mercedes to pull the covers off the new E-Class, but they could drag it out all the way to Detroit or Paris. We will have to wait and see with this one.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA class has already been unveiled, and it looks excellent. The cool compact SUV is the missing link between hatchback and crossover, and has universal appeal—which is a rare thing in a market that’s saturated with options. The 2021 model has been redesigned from the ground up, and it looks to be an attractive option for drivers in need of compact practicality but with full-size crossover versatility.
For 2021, the GLA has had a fair few changes. For a start, the overall size of the vehicle has been reduced in length by a tiny fraction, with a 10 centimeter increase in height to help create more interior space and improve the vehicle’s overall usability. In fact, the updated dimensions actually improve back seat legroom by as much as 4.5 inches, with improved headroom too. The cargo area is bigger too, with an additional 3.3 inches to play with in the width. This is a spacious five-seater—have no doubt about that.
While it’s stacked with practical and versatile storage space, don’t confuse this compact SUV with a minivan, because it also packs some impressive performance too. Under the hood, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA has a brand new engine. It’s a new 2.0 liter inline-four motor that has a power output of 221 horsepower (which is up 13 horsepower from the previous model) and an impressive 2258 lb-ft of peak torque. The power is transferred to the wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission, delivered in either front wheel, or all-wheel drive flavors.
In terms of economy, this practical mover hasn’t been EPA tested yet, but it’s predicted that the new GLA will match or better the previous models statistics, which offer 24 mpg for city driving, and 33 mpg for highway driving.
But wait! There’s more.
Mercedes will also be releasing a top tier model in the form of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4Matic. This more powerful version of the compact SUV features the same engine but with additional performance tuning to really make it sing. The maximum power output is boosted to 302 horsepower, with an increased peak torque figure of 295 lb-ft. Unlike the standard GLA, the AMG-model features an 8-speed dual-clutch AMG gearbox and with all-wheel-drive as standard. According to Mercedes, the AMG-tuned GLA will be able to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5 seconds.
Unlike the other models listed above, we’re actually expecting to see these 2021 models much earlier. In fact, it’s expected that the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA and Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 will start going on sale as early as summer 2020. The AMG-spec GLA 35 will probably arrive a little bit later, but still in 2020. And the cost? Well, that’s not an easy one to predict, but since the actual upgrades for 2021 haven’t been that drastic, we can probably expect that the Mercedes-Benz GLA base model will at least retail for around the same price as the outgoing model, with prices starting from $34,250.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 will obviously be a little more expensive. AMG-tuned models demand a higher price tag, but there’s no word on exactly how much more you should expect to pay. A good guess would be something around $7,000 to $10,000 more than the base model. Expensive, but worth it.
And What About The Future?
Beyond 2021, Mercedes-Benz has big plans to release even more exciting and technologically advanced models. There will be a number of models built on top of the new Mercedes EVA2 electric vehicle platform such as the EQS, the EQE sedan, and EQG SUVs and crossovers. These advanced electric models are expected to arrive in 2022, alongside an updated A-Class series, and a gasoline-powered replacement for the GLC.
Beyond 2022, anything is possible. Most European manufacturers have fairly ambitious goals to phase out internal-combustion engine technology in the immediate foreseeable future, but rather than a blanket switch-over to pure electric vehicles, it will likely be a gradual process with improved hybrid models filling in the gap while all-electric technology evolves far enough to be a practical alternative to fossil fuels. What will Mercedes-Benz have to offer that far ahead? We will have to wait and see.