2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe: In a Class by Itself?
Mercedes-Benz's vehicle lineup has never been so diverse. From affordable models to supercars, from wagons to SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the manufacturer has something for everyone. After last year's introduction of the 10th generation of its E-Class sedans and wagons, this year sees the arrival of the third member of the family: the two-door coupe. This model injects a shot of sportiness into the German automaker's grand tourer.
The E-Class Coupe is more imposing than the previous generation to the tune of 123 mm longer and 74 mm wider. That translates mainly to a more spacious cabin, particularly for the passengers in the back seats. As a rule, coupes demand significant compromises in terms of comfort, but that is not the case here. You won’t be embarrassed to invite your friends for a long drive.
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Moreover, the E-Class Coupe has very few rivals. With the exception of the smaller A5, Audi has no real comparable model, and while BMW has the 6 Series, it doesn’t serve the same purpose. Surprisingly, that makes Mercedes-Benz the only similar manufacturer that offers a four-seat coupe of this size.
A higher-end vehicle
Working from the assumption that buyers in this category have a bigger budget and want a more posh vehicle, the E-Class Coupe was crafted as a slightly higher-end model. Unlike the sedan, there’s no basic engine and there’s no two-wheel drive version either. All-wheel drive comes standard, and that’s the reason why the E 400 4MATIC Coupe is the only available version. Its base price of a little over $72,000 says it all, and that’s not counting certain interesting options that will quickly drive the price upward.
Hidden under its long, slender hood is a twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 engine that generates 329 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s paired with the only available transmission, a nine-speed automatic. There’s no turbocharged four-cylinder for the coupe, unlike for the sedan, and although it has not yet been officially announced, the AMG versions should join the family in short order. Mercedes-Benz won’t let the chance to boost its coupe’s prestige slip away. We’ll soon find out if there will be two AMG versions, the E 43 and E 63, or just one.
Factory-standard AMG style
The main feature and main selling point of the E-Class Coupe is – of course – its more dynamic design borne of the elimination of the two back doors and the B-pillar, which is normally found in the middle of the car. The result is a distinguished coupe with an out-of-sight design, mainly due to its powerful rear shoulders and roofline that plunges toward the trunk.
The AMG Package found on all the Canadian versions – it’s not a freebie, the price just includes it – adds to the look with rocker panels, 18-inch rims, perforated discs and some additional chrome trim. It’s a good thing; you wouldn’t want it any other way. Whether it’s the fault of those in charge or the buyers themselves, the choice of colours isn’t exactly wild and crazy.
Luxury and technology on board
On board, the environment is practically identical to that of the sedan. The only significant difference is the air vents, which have a turbine-like design. As for the rest, the layout remains prestigious. The upper part of the dashboard is almost at a right angle and very square. This design helps accommodate the Comand system, which includes a large 12.3-inch screen that displays vehicle and infotainment system data. The instrumentation can be displayed in a classic style or, if you opt for the Premium Package, entirely digital. The two screens almost seem to blend into one to create a single screen that stretches across almost half of the dash.
The choice of materials and attention to detail are beyond reproach and the impression of quality is guaranteed. Mercedes knows a thing or two about that – it’s one of its strong suits. The feeling of quality and prestige is ubiquitous, mainly thanks to the Designo Packages that enhance the passenger compartment with leathers, trims and unique colour schemes. The result is even more majestic in the evening with the ambient lighting that includes a series of LED strips. Their colour can be modified to 64 different shades!
The E-Class is often criticized for being very comfortable but lacking the performance and agility of the C-Class. This new generation, and the coupe in particular, dispels that reputation. To emphasize the car’s sportiness, the engineers lowered the vehicle suspension 15 mm, not only adding to the vehicle’s style, but also increasing its poise in turns since the centre of gravity is now closer to the ground. You feel a little more connected to the road.
At the heart of the vehicle’s handling and dynamism is its Dynamic Select system that helps select a driving mode based on your preferences. Sport and Sport+ modes make the suspension firmer, the steering more precise and let the engine rev discretely. They represent a good compromise between the comfort of a big car and the sportiness and handling of the C-Class.
On the other hand, Eco mode favours fuel economy. They even added a system that reduces friction by momentarily disconnecting the transmission when you release the accelerator.
When you choose Comfort mode, the car transforms into a grand tourer whose settings all favour comfort. Travelling several hundred clicks? This is the mode for you. Back pain? No sweat, you can simply activate the seats’ “Massage” function, which includes several programs. It’s like being in a moving spa. Of course, this is only available on option.
The E-Class Coupe definitely won’t be one of the brand’s top sellers. It’s much more of a niche vehicle that targets a very limited market. However, Mercedes has spawned a vehicle that meets expectations and greatly reduces the compromises normally associated with this type of car.
|Test drive report|
|Test model||2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class|
|Trim level||400 Coupe 4Matic|
|Price range||$62,500 – $96,000|
|Price as tested||71 000 $|
|Warranty (basic)||4 years/80,000 km|
|Warranty (powertrain)||4 years/80,000 km|
|Fuel economy (city/highway/observed)||N/A|
|Competitive models||Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Equus, Infiniti Q70, Jaguar XF, Kia K900, Lexus GS, Maserati Ghibli, Volvo S80|
|Fuel economy||The six-cylinder remains frugal if you take it easy.|
|Comfort||Surprisingly good for a coupe.|
|Performance||AMG versions would earn it a couple more points.|
|Infotainment||Still efficient and easy to use. Apple Car Play and Android Auto added.|
|Driving||Superior to the old generation.|
|Overall||A car that offers the best of everything!|