The current W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class first made its debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), and in 2020, the executive sedan is set to receive its first facelift. Recently, the German carmaker provided some preliminary details about the rival to the BMW 5 Series, which is set to arrive first in European showrooms later this summer.

While the cars shown in these official photos still have some wrapping on them, we can still spot some of the styling changes that have been done. The E-Class will be available with a selection of exterior packages as before, including the Luxury Line, Avantgarde Line, Exclusive Line and AMG Line.

At the front, there’s now a wider and more horizontal front grille with different insert designs depending on the chosen exterior package – the AMG Line features a diamond pin grille, the Avantgarde gets a dual-slat arrangement, while the Exclusive and Luxury has three slats with only the middle one finished in chrome (the remaining two are finished in black).

The new grille design is necessary to match the redesigned headlamps, which are now more angular in shape and feature L-shaped daytime running lights at the top of each cluster, the DRLs being reminiscent of what you see on the latest CLS. LED headlamps are now standard for the E-Class, with a Multibeam setup available as an option.

Another change is the bonnet, which has been mildly tweaked due to the headlamps, and features power domes on Avantgarde and AMG Line models, which are absent with the remaining two packages (the Luxury option retains the bonnet ornament).

For cars with the Avantgarde, Exclusive and Luxury packages, the reprofiled bumper sees a slimmer lower apron, while the AMG Line package continues to be the aggressive option, with the “A-wing” dividing the centre lower intake from the corner inlets – the latter bearing horizontal slats on them.

At the rear, the facelifted E-Class comes with a new boot lid to accommodate the new taillights, which are now horizontal and slimmer, which again, appears to be influenced by the CLS. The design of the rear apron is dependant on the chosen exterior package, and can feature a diffuser-like element and different “beauty” exhaust tips.

Moving inside, the most prominent upgrade is the fitment of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, which comes standard with two 10.25-inch displays, and can be upgraded to 12.3-inch units. Just like other models with MBUX, you get a long list of functions, including a digital assistance, touchscreen input with additional controls on the centre console, access to connected service, along with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Aside from the MBUX system, there are also new steering wheel designs, with the AMG version being the sportiest option with four spokes and a flat bottom – other models get a normal steering wheel instead. Mercedes-Benz also offers new trim and upholstery options, while improving the NVH even further.

On the mechanical side of things, the new E-Class will be available with seven plug-in hybrid powertrains, which will be joined by petrol and diesel options as well – with all-wheel drive optional with some engines.

In terms of safety kit, Active Distance Assist Distronic can call upon live traffic information to adjust the vehicle’s speed accordingly as a precautionary measure, while Active Traffic Jam Assist helps the driver with lane-keeping and maintaining a safe distance at speeds of up to 60 km/h. Other systems include Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning (works when the car is at a standstill) and Parking Package with a 360-degree camera.

While exact details have yet to be revealed, Mercedes-Benz says that two new engines will join the mix, with the first being the M254 2.0 litre four-cylinder unit that serves up 268 hp, and replaces the previous M274 unit.

The other engine is the M256 3.0 litre straight-six that also boasts a mild hybrid system, providing an output of 362 hp. The M256 is already being used in the latest CLS, GLE and S-Class as well as the pre-facelift AMG E 53. Both petrol engines are equipped with mild hybrid technology operating on a 48-volt onboard network, with the integrated starter-generator capable of providing an additional 20 hp with EQ Boost.

We’ll only have full details about the E-Class facelift when it makes its debut, and these changes should trickle down to other versions like the Estate, Coupe and Cabriolet following the refreshed sedan.