Mercedes-Benz 2021 Model Year Sees SUV Expansion

Ken Zino of on Mercedes-Benz 2021 Line

GLB: Tepid Mercedes German styling in one of the world’s hottest segments.

During the past year, Mercedes-Benz has revised its entire SUV lineup starting with its first compact GLB with an optional 3rd row. Then there was the much-hyped redesign of the best-selling midsize GLC. The next-gen GLE also debuted a new design and an optional 3rd row seat for the first time. The all-new full-sized GLS now offers Captain’s Chairs for six passengers, or a rear bench to seat up to seven. ( Daimler Q1 2020 Net Profit Down -92% at €168m from €2149, Daimler Reports Ugly Q2 2020 Results as Sales Drop -34%)

The all-new GLA now joins the range “as the attractive and sporty gateway” (translation – small and less expensive) to the Mercedes-Benz SUV line. SUV segments have never been more competitive with M-B facing stiff competition from BMW, Porsche, Lexus, Infiniti, Alfa Romeo and Cadillac, among others.

Ken Zino of on the Mercedes-Benz 2021 US Model Line

Audi, BMW and MB are masters at spinning off model variation after variation – an ominous problem facing Cadillac as it tries to regain share and reputation in the global luxury segments. Lincoln remains a non-starter. Click-to Enlarge.

The Mercedes GLA remains a compact SUV, but the new generation is now taller (+ 3.6″), wider (1.2″) and has a longer wheelbase (+ 1.1″) than its predecessor. This means more front headroom, more rear legroom and more cargo space than its predecessor.

The new GLA 35 is Mercedes-AMG’s latest performance entry to the brand. It has an AMG-tweaked 2.0-liter Inline-4 turbocharged engine rated at 302 horsepower. On paper, the GLA 35 should capable of a zero to 60 mph elapsed time in 5.0 seconds.

The AMG GLA 45 is motivated by the newly developed, M139 2.0-liter engine, claimed to be – as of this writing – the world’s most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder manufactured for series production. With 382 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque, it has more power than its predecessor and completes zero to 60 mph in a claimed 4.3 seconds.

An active, variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive distributes power to the rear axle selectively with AMG Torque Control, providing good traction in any driving condition.

The new AMG GLE 63 S and AMG GLS 63 SUV models represent the continued evolution of the marketing tagline of Intelligent Performance. The GLE 63 S joins the successful GLE family as the “muscular performance leader from Mercedes-AMG, while the GLS 63 represents the pinnacle of a large SUV with AMG Performance Luxury – combining the luxury of abundant space and day-to-day functionality with refined performance.”

These new models used what’s called a handcrafted Mercedes-AMG 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo engine that has been paired with an EQ Boost Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) — a first for a Mercedes-AMG SU. In both vehicles, the 4.0-liter V8 generates 603 horsepower and 627 lb.,-ft. of torque.

Augmenting the engine, the EQ Boost starter generator provides a momentary increase of 21 horsepower and up to 184 lb.-ft. of torque on acceleration, while charging the 48-volt battery and restarting the engine in conjunction with the ECO start/stop function.

These vehicles demonstrate intelligent performance with technical tidbits such as AMG Performance 4MATIC+ and AMG Cylinder Management. In combination with AMG Cylinder Management, the EQ Boost technology significantly optimizes the fuel efficiency it’s claimed without supporting EPA ratings. the ISG offers instant throttle response: zero to 60 mph is estimated at 4.1 seconds for the GLS 63 and 3.7 seconds for the GLE 63 S.

New technical tweaks on these vehicles – such as active roll stabilization, AMG active engine mounts and the new electronic rear differential – also claim to make them more agile and dynamic.

SUV Coupes

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe models are automotive oxymorons in that they “uniquely combine sporty design with exhilarating performance and high day-to-day usability.”

The AMG GLE 53 Coupe continues the growth of high-performance, highly versatile, sporty utility vehicles, while the new AMG GLE 63 S Coupe “raises that bar even higher with exhilarating performance capabilities.”

The GLE 53 Coupe is powered by an AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with an EQ Boost starter generator. Driving dynamics are further enhanced by the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive and AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension based on AIRMATIC. The progressive interior design features the latest MBUX infotainment system, including AMG-specific functions and displays.

Powered by a Handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo engine with an electrified EQ Boost starter generator, the GLE 63 S Coupe delivers 603 horsepower. An AMG Ride Control+ air suspension with AMG Active Ride Control roll stabilization, fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive and the AMG Speedshift TCT 9-speed automatic transmission.

The new generation of AMG SUV Coupes offer all the advantages of a Mercedes SUV, with ample space for passengers and luggage, extensive safety features and superior traction on a variety of surfaces and road conditions.

Luxury Ad Absurdum

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC represents a “new form of luxury” in the SUV segment. It extends the portfolio of the Mercedes-Maybach brand by combining the body design and technical basis of the GLS with the luxury of an expensive sedan.

The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach uses the large dimensions of the GLS to offer drivers and passengers comfortable and spacious seating. All seats are electrically adjustable, heated, ventilated and equipped with massage functions as standard equipment. The rear compartment especially, with seats 4.7 inches (120 mm) further back than they are in the Mercedes-Benz GLS, serves as both an office and a private area. The outer rear seats with footrests and the exceptionally wide backrest that can be inclined backwards up to 43.5° are ideal for deep relaxation on long journeys or even a nap.

The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS offers the high standard of comfort appointments has many of the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems as standard.

The Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC comes with the powerful electrified variant of the V8 gasoline engine with a 48-volt on-board electrical system and EQ Boost Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) providing more power. ISG is responsible for hybrid functions such as energy recovery, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. The engine produces an output of 550 horsepower and 538 lb.-ft. of torque, and an additional 184 lb.-ft. of torque and up to 21 horsepower output are available temporarily via EQ Boost.

Upgrades to the E-Class Family

E-Class and its predecessor models are the best-selling model series in the history of Mercedes-Benz. With its recent redesign, the E-Class family continues within the Mercedes-Benz lineup with high levels of comfort, luxury and safety. (First Look: Freshened Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz Joins the Driver Assist Software Recall Parade)

The model range introduces a refreshed design on the exterior and more comfort and technology in the interior with a completely newly developed steering wheel with capacitive sensor technology and hands-off detection that helps the operation of semi-autonomous driving. (BMW and Mercedes-Benz Stop Automated Driving JV)

The cabin for the driver and passengers has also been improved by the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system with enhanced Voice Control, along with optional features such as MBUX Interior Assistant, MBUX augmented video for navigation and the advanced driver assistance systems and safety technologies. The powertrain in the E 450 and E 450 4MATIC models has also been electrified with a 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine with a 48-volt onboard electrical system.

The new E-Class Coupe with room for four combines the virtues – it’s claimed – of a grand tourer with state-of-the-art technology, and the E-Class Cabriolet ensures all-season open-top driving and comfort for four with standard sun-reflecting leather, <marketing babble alert> AIRCAP wind-deflector and AIRSCARF neck-level heating. The new E-Class All-Terrain, available for the first time in the U.S., has an SUV-like design and character with its raised height, black matte body cladding, radiator grille and stylized skid plate that has a mirror chrome finish.

The updated Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan and Wagon also has a new design, improved aerodynamics and more comfort. The restyled front section features a larger central air-cooling inlet, while also newly incorporating AMG-specific radiator grille, with vertical slats and a larger central star. Newly redesigned, flatter, all-LED headlamps also enhance the more dynamic exterior appearance. The AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine remains, producing 603 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque.

Expansion of AMG GT 4-Door Coupe Line

New for model year 2021, the Mercedes-AMG GT 43 4-Door Coupe further expands the AMG GT family, combining AMG-developed dynamics with everyday usability and seating for four.

As the third model to be developed in-house by Mercedes-AMG, the new AMG GT 43 pairs an efficient powertrain with a uniquely developed AMG chassis. At the heart of the new GT 43 is the 3.0-liter Inline-6 Turbo engine with EQ Boost. EQ Boost uses stored electric power from the 48-volt battery through an Integrated Starter Generator, a powerful electric motor that combines the functions of a starter and an alternator. This EQ Boost unit assists the internal combustion engine with up to an additional 21 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque at low engine speeds.

With the new GT 43 Coupe, the AMG GT family has expanded even further The GT 43 4-Door Coupe has space for four passengers, the latest technology including MBUX, with the level of performance and luxury associated from Mercedes-AMG.


With an AMG-enhanced 2.0-liter Inline-4 Turbo engine with a rated – by Mercedes – output of 302 horsepower and 295 lb.ft., the new AMG GLA 35 and AMG GLB 35 offer an attractive entry into the world of SUV AMG driving performance.

These models come with the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive, an AMG 7-Speed dual clutch transmission, an AMG Sport Suspension and 3-Stage Electronic Stability Program.

Expanded Technologies

The new Mercedes-Benz dashcam is available for the 2021 model year. Using the camera in the windshield, the dashcam films and saves what’s happening on the road in front of the vehicle, including the time and speed. This, allegedly, helps to protect drivers in the event of an accident. The dashcam’s resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a frame rate of 30 Hz also allows for the driver to use the dashcam as a recording device, to film landscapes and routes for video documentation.

The 2021 E-Class has a newly developed steering wheel with capacitive hands-off detection. A two-zone sensor mat is in the rim of the steering wheel, which detects whether the hands are grasping the wheel. As a result, the driver no longer needs to make an active steering movement to signal to the assistance systems that he or she is in control of the vehicle. This increases the ease of operation during semi-automated driving in the E-Class models and, arguably, marks a further step towards autonomous driving.

New technologies appear throughout the Mercedes-Benz 2021 lineup including Active Brake Assist that is standard on all vehicles. Further Intelligent Drive functions are available with the Driver Assistance package including Active Distance Assist, DISTRONIC with route- based speed adjustment, Active Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning, Active Parking Assistant and a 360° camera. (Mercedes-Benz Trucks Replaces Mirrors with Cameras)

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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