If you’ve decided that a coupé is for you, there aren’t really any real qualms with the E 400.
The luxury coupé market is an intriguing one. These elegantly designed two-doors from Germany come in a variety of sizes and are offered by all three of the big automakers. Mercedes-Benz currently offers them in three sizes, starting with the “compact” C 300 (reviewed here). The S-Class is the flagship coupé in the three-pointed star’s lineup, and it’s rounded out by this; the latest E-Class. Sitting on the same platform as the four-door version, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 Coupe 4MATIC is a mid-sizer that somewhat sits in a league of its own.
Presence is one area in which this new E-Class Coupé bests its rivals. The new Audi A5 is a little bit smaller, and the BMW 6-series (reviewed here) is larger and powered by a boosted V8. The two-door E-Class can only be had in E 400 guise in Canada, and is equipped with the AMG styling goodies as standard equipment in this market. This means AMG ground effects, more aesthetically pleasing wheel designs, and Mercedes-Benz’s beautiful diamond grille up front.
From a platform standpoint, it’s no secret that the outgoing E-Class Coupé (reviewed here) was based on the W204 C-Class chassis. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the new car sharing its platform with the E-Class sedan (reviewed here) means it’s slightly larger and more proportionate to its four-door sibling. It’s 12.3cm longer, which means rear passengers will be far more comfortable, and 7.4cm wider. Like the last car, there is no B-pillar, and all four windows go down, which makes for a stunning look when cruising the boulevard on a crisp fall evening.
A twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 sits under the hood of the E 400, which is a de-tuned version of the same motor seen in the punchier E 43. Its power numbers are 329 horsepower between 5,250 and 6,000RPM, and 354 lb-ft. of torque from 1,600 to 4,000RPM. But rather than raw unadulterated AMG force, the E 400 impresses with the serene effortlessness that Mercedes-Benz is known for. Don’t worry though – it will eagerly sprint to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds in an ideal setting, but golly, this is one divine coupé.
The E-Class in all trims gets a drive mode selector, which in this case will adjust the E 400’s personality between Comfort and two varying degrees of Sport. When starting the car, it defaults to Comfort, and in this setting the AIRMATIC air suspension system and nine-speed automatic transmission speak to the engine to deliver an opulent ride. Set the car to Sport or Sport Plus, and the E 400 tightens up, with the car’s personality becoming more urgent. Power delivery remains constant, but gears are held longer and speed quickly rises almost imperceptibly.
With regards to handling, the E 400 changes direction as asked, with a decent amount of firmness and overall determination. The power steering is electrically assisted and slightly over-boosted, but on-center feel is as perfect as it gets. The E-Class requires little to no overcorrection at highway speeds, meaning it’s a highway cruiser that’s far above average in every sense. Canadian vehicles only come in all-wheel-drive guise, making use of the latest 4MATIC system from Mercedes-Benz. The lack of a V8 option may initially deter, but the new platform and powertrain make for a car that’s just plain better in every way.
As we discussed in our recent road test of the E 43, one of the most consistently impressive conversation pieces with this car is the Intelligent Drive Package ($2,700). This system combines adaptive cruise control with the autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist systems to create a car that can essentially drive itself. Given that fully autonomous vehicles aren’t quite legal just yet, there is a reminder that senses if the driver’s hands aren’t on the wheel for more than a predefined amount of time, and prompts for steering input.
While other automakers offer similar setups (the Volvo S90 immediately comes to mind), the E-Class is unique in the sense that it uses the blind-spot information system to physically change lanes without any steering or pedal input from the driver. Using the indicator stalk while IDP is enabled prompts the E 400 to autonomously check your blind spot and smoothly dart into the next lane. It’s more than just a gimmick; this car is the future.
Just like the sedan, the two-door E-Class boasts an interior that is not only segment leading, but a modern work of art. The particular spec on our test vehicle was perhaps the most stunning available from Mercedes-Benz Canada. The upholstery is Saddle Brown with black leather accents, and contrasts beautifully with the Dark Ash Wood trim, open pore and as nice to the touch as it is visually. Matching brown stitching is prominent on the black leather bits, and the brushed aluminum of the buttons and the Burmester stereo speakers all just comes together perfectly.
It’s not just nice to look at; the E 400 Coupé is a rolling technology suite. Just like in the sedan, a dual-screen setup (12.3” each) sits in front of the driver, and provides a multitude of information and driving diagnostics. The colours are vivid and the screens are pleasant to look at. Apple CarPlay is offered, and wireless phone charging is optional. As with many other applications of the latest Mercedes-Benz infotainment system, it’s extremely capable but quite difficult to use at first. The learning curve is vast, but once used to it, the system is intuitive – just like a modern Android phone.
The E-Class Coupé starts at $72,700 in Canada, which is $2,900 more than the E 400 sedan. The Premium Package for $4,000 adds things like heated front armrests, power trunk closer, digital instrument cluster display, Burmester audio, keyless go, and a “Warmth Comfort Package”. The Technology Package costs $2,600, and adds heads-up display, LED headlights, and high-beam assist. Added options include the Multicontour Front Seats with Massage, ventilated front seats, and a few other small bits that bring the as-tested sticker to $89,000. Curiously, for this price, Mercedes-Benz does not equip a heated steering wheel onto the E 400 Coupe.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the E 400 Coupé will achieve fuel economy of 11.9L/100km city and 9.0L/100km highway, delivering a combined average of around 10.2L/100km. The nine-speed automatic is geared well to keep highway economy down, and over a longer run east of Toronto, we were able to squeeze 8.4L/100km out of the car. It requires 91-octane premium fuel, and we observed about 500km on one tank.
If you’ve already decided that a coupé is for you, there aren’t really any real qualms with the E 400. The price is right in line with the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s lineup, and there is a value there. The styling is undeniably pretty, and the car is one that will universally be considered attractive, if a little too conservative at times. The infotainment will be a challenge for the older generation, which means many buyers won’t be able to use all of the car’s features. The gear selector “stalk” shared with other Mercedes-Benz products does make for more usable space in the dashboard area, but sort of takes away from the rest of the car’s contemporary characteristics.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 Coupe 4MATIC is a serene and powerful cruiser that feels solid; like it was carved from a solid block of steel. There isn’t a creak, rattle or shake to be found on this car, and that’s one of the biggest appeals of a modern German car. It offers the teutonic and undetectable power of a boosted V6, the comfort of a much larger car thanks to its air suspension, and more technology than an Apple Store. This car is the perfect blend of classic and contemporary elegance, and you owe it to yourself to take a test drive if it’s on your shopping list.