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2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 and E53 coupe and convertible go hybrid, get MBUX

The updated Goldilocks E-Class Benz loses two doors and its top to become a seriously desirable ride.

It's hard to argue with a face like that.

Mercedes' E-Class sedan is (and arguably always has been) the company's sweet spot for most buyers, at least pre-SUV boom. It always packs Benz's latest and greatest technology and splits the difference between C-Class and S-Class in terms of driving dynamics. We're fans, in case you couldn't tell.

But what about those buyers who like what the E-Class is all about, yet need something with a little more sex appeal? Enter the E-Class coupes and convertibles, which are getting refreshed for 2021.

The big news with the refresh is that all of the E-Class coupes and 'verts are going mild hybrid. This means that they use a combination starter/generator and a 48-volt electrical system to add a bit of performance -- 21 horsepower and a whopping 184 pound-feet of torque (in short bursts, of course) for a total of 362 hp and 369 lb-ft in the E450. You're going to notice that, but you'll also see the mild hybrid system adding some fuel efficiency to your E-Class.

Aesthetically, there are several changes, including flatter housings on the all-LED headlights and the option of intelligently-controlled headlights. The taillights -- also LED, natch -- have been reworked internally, too. Most of the design touches of the coupe and convertible amount to a sleeker interpretation of the sedan, as you'd expect. For our money, though, the convertible is the better-looking of the two.

Plus, on the convertible, you get Mercedes' amazing Airscarf neck-warming system. It went away for a while, to everyone's chagrin, but it's been back for a couple of years, and it's generally among our favorite features in any Mercedes drop-top. 

The most significant interior change is the inclusion of Mercedes' MBUX (em-bee-yew-ecks, not em-bucks) infotainment system. It made its debut on the A-Class and has worked its way throughout the lineup, and if you've read our A-Class or new G-Wagen reviews, you'll know that it's a cleanly-designed, responsive and feature-rich system. One of the best out there right now, in fact.

The E-Class coupe and convertible models come standard with dual 12.3-inch screens -- one serves as a reconfigurable instrument panel and the other works with the infotainment system. The big screens make a serious statement and look great with the modern interior design language that Mercedes has adopted.

With the facelift comes some cool updates to the E-Class' already impressive list of available advanced driver assistance features. Our favorite is the move from a steering wheel torsion-based driver monitoring system to a capacity one. You're not going to fool your Benz by wedging a water bottle in the wheel. 

If the system detects that you're not playing by the rules and keeping your hands on the wheel, it will give you a warning. If you persist in being a real jerk, it will activate the standard automatic emergency braking system.

The E-Class coupe and convertible will be offered both as an E450 and as an E53 AMG model. The E53 -- as you might suspect -- is powered by AMG's excellent 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder, which produces a not-inconsiderable 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Other AMG-specific features include the Panamericana grille, bigger AMG brakes, a different AMG skin on the interior screens and an AMG-specific sport steering wheel.

Both the E53 and E450 coupe and convertible are slated to hit the market toward the end of 2020, with pricing and fuel economy figures to be released closer to the on-sale date.