It's a constant battle for self-improvement.
If Mercedes has been keeping one thing consistent, it's a love for squeezing ever-more power out of its four-cylinder engines. 2019 has already seen the reveal of the M139, the powerplant slated to be installed into the Mercedes-AMG A 45 and GLB 45, which will make a wicked 416 horsepower despite having only 2.0-liters of displacement.
That's certainly an impressive improvement over the M139's predecessor, the M133 - a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that was stuffed into the AMG GLA 45 and CLA 45 - but it has the unfortunate side-effect of making the boost given to another one of Mercedes' four-cylinder engines seem much less impressive.
In this case, we're talking about the engine that lives inside the base E-Class. According to a report by Car and Driver, the Mercedes E-Class is about to see its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder upgraded to make 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. That's just 14 horsepower more than the previous version of the engine made and exactly the same amount of torque, but Mercedes thinks it's enough of an upgrade to earn the base E-Class a new name and starting price.
The new base E-Class, set to go on sale as a 2020 model, will be called the E350 rather than the E300. Mercedes is also charging an extra $550 for the tune, bringing the E350's starting price to $55,045.
Aside from that, pretty much everything else about the base E-Class remains the same. Power is still routed through a 9-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive comes standard unless buyers shell out an extra $2,500 for 4Matic all-wheel drive.
While Mercedes still offers a V6-powered E450 with 362 horsepower as a stepping stone between the new E350 and the 429 horsepower AMG E 53, E350 buyers will be happy to know that the increase in power will likely improve the base E-Class' acceleration time. C/D previously saw a half-second improvement in 0-60 mph time in the C300 4Matic after it got the same upgrade, from 6.0 seconds to 5.5 seconds, meaning the E350 could hit 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds if it sees the same improvement.