A fine, fine modern luxo-coupe.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
The E-class coupe is one with a long history, but the all-new 2018 coupe doesn’t rest on those laurels. It looks to the future in terms of its design, inside and out.
While I found the previous generation of E-class coupe to be a bit stodgy and less than exciting, the new coupe’s styling is really well done. Following Mercedes’ current corporate signature lines, the coupe is a stunner with beautiful proportions (slightly longer and wider than before) and of course, there are those pillarless windows that we’ve come to expect from this model. They’re cool and nobody else does it in this class.
The details matter here too and many of them serve to make the coupe’s owners feel special. Like those chrome-tipped pins that seem to radiate out from the three-pointed star in the grille. Or the crazy multi-beam LED headlights which look great and are extraordinarily effective. Or those gorgeous and unique crystal-effect tail lights – you can’t help but love them. Or the dual 5-spoke 18-inch AMG rims. It all comes together to make a beautiful, cohesive, cleand and taut-looking coupe that gets a lot of looks, parked or driving.
Inside, the E-coupe greets you with a thoroughly modern cabin, complete with luxurious, high-end materials, stitching everywhere and, in my car’s case, black open-pore ash wood trim that looks fantastic. Although the stunning pinstriped designo interiors available in this car are, in my opinion, definitely the pinnacle of what’s available from Mercedes. Without exception, everyone loved the ambient lighting (although I got pretty sick of my kids changing the colour all the time).
Two 12.3-inch screens make up the coupe’s digital dash – the one in front of the driver can be customized with different themes and gauges. The right screen handles all the other stuff – phone, navigation and the Burmester sound system. You control it all using the COMAND system with a trackpad and rotary input knob – there’s definitely a learning curve required.
The seats are extremely comfortable, and while you’re sitting in them, your eyes will move from one nifty detail to the next. It’s unusual for me to mention air vents, but look at these ones. I mean LOOK AT THEM! They are a styling delight, and remind me of turbines. And those Burmester speaker grilles… oh my. It’s a luxurious interior through and through.
You’ve got room for two rear passengers, with a set of cupholders in the middle. Mercedes has made the back seats surprisingly roomy – at 5’10”, I had an inch to spare for head room and several inches extra legroom. I find this acceptable, particularly for a coupe with such a swoopy profile. Passengers back there get USB and 12V charging plugs.
Even the 425L trunk feels generous and is much bigger than one might expect. The rear seats fold down in a 40/20/40 split if you need more cargo space.
Under the Hood
The E400 gets a 329HP twin-turbocharged 3L V6, a 9-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. It’s even relatively efficient – Mercedes rates it at 11.8/8.9 L/100 km city/highway. We averaged 12.5 L/100 km driving with a fairly heavy foot in a couple of fresh snowfalls.
Everything the new E400 coupe does is smooth. Sure, it’s fast (it’ll sprint from 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds) but that never seems to be the point. The fact that it has tremendous power on tap seems like an afterthought.
You can choose from a number of drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual – these impact the powertrain’s responsiveness, the transmission programming, the steering and the suspension. The transmission is very intelligent, almost always being in the right gear, and performing its duties smoothly and efficiently. Gears can be shifted manually using the paddles.
The air suspension’s ride is incredibly smooth in Comfort mode, but can be dialed up to become significantly firmer as you get into the sportier modes. As you’d expect from a Mercedes-Benz coupe, the handling is very competent and the steering’s responsiveness surprised me. The car stays flat around corners and it tackles curves and corners with athletic ability, even in Comfort mode.
The car’s front parking sensors were easily fooled by even the smallest amount of accumulated snow, and that got really irritating while I was commuting – it constantly let me know I was about to bump into something. Which I wasn’t.
Mercedes-Benz seems to be on a very strong run in terms of its corporate styling. Their vehicles are all getting a very cohesive look, and they are all looking fantastic. It’s a bit unfortunate as it’s becoming difficult to tell some of them apart from a distance, but that’s a different conversation. The current coupes are the stars of the show, and the new 2018 E400 is no exception.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was very, VERY high. She’s a Mercedes-Benz fan as it is (she drives one every day) and so she’s a bit biased. She really liked some of the details on the coupe – those “diamond” tail lights, the ambient lighting, the beautiful materials – she said it all feels like a million bucks.
Mercedes has crafted a truly modern coupe here – it looks the part and once you drop into the cabin, it feels the part. And the driving experience is right on par, balancing luxury, comfort and performance perfectly. I can’t really think of a proper competitor to the E-class coupe – this is the one to buy if you’re shopping in this category.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Mercedes-Benz Canada.
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Pricing: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400
Base price (E400 4MATIC Coupe trim): $72,700
Options: $2,700 Intelligent Drive package; $4,000 Premium package; $2,700 Sport package; $2,600 Technology package; $900 AIRMATIC suspension
Price as tested: $85,600