The 2017 E-Class Coupe is actually the first Mercedes-Benz to truly deserve its moniker. The previous-generation E-Class Coupe might have carried the proportions of the E-Class sedan that sat alongside it in showrooms, but it rolled on the underpinnings of the C-Class.
For the new version though, the elegant two-door shares the DNA of the E-Class sedan.
The range kicks off with the $96,000 E220d Coupe diesel, an E300 Coupe looks after the middle of the range with a four-cylinder petrol, but our focus is on this – the E400 Coupe which costs $145,900 before on-road costs.
- Let’s start with the greatest strength of the E400 Coupe and the key element that sets it apart from the sedan – its looks. While the C-Class Coupe has slightly distorted aesthetics in the transformation from four-door to coupe, the E-Class equivalent has a muscular but restrained appearance that harks to its gorgeous S-Class Coupe big sister.
- While the current E-Class sedan flagship has traded ride quality in exchange for outlandish performance when wearing the esteemed AMG E63 S badge, the performance flagship in the E-Class Coupe range has done no such thing. Ride quality is exemplary and piloting it is like pulling a silk scarf over a putting green.
- It may not have been built by hand at the Affalterbach AMG factory, but the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 still has adequate punch to drag off most contenders at the lights while returning respectable fuel economy – 8.5L/100km on the combined cycle, says Mercedes.
- The nine-speed automatic transmission is snappy when it needs to be but secretive and smooth when cruising up through the cogs.
- Despite the E400’s cosseting ride, its careful suspension tune is also fun with responsive steering and a light nature. Flicking the drive modes into a sportier setting firms up the dampers, sharpens the steering and boosts the dynamic enjoyment.
- On the inside, the E400 Coupe has a minimalist but beautifully designed cabin with notable features including delightful mood lighting, four striking air-vents in the centre of the dash and the biggest digital display in its class.
- It’s more good news in the back, where two adults are comfortably accommodated by a pair of supportive seats that match the front row and provide enough headroom despite the diving roofline. Entry and egress is also surprisingly un-coupe-like – easy, in other words.
- A gorgeous profile comes at the cost of a shallow-raked rear window, which reduces rearward visibility to a letterbox-like slit.
- The elegant profile is best appreciated with all windows down to show off the absent B-pillars, but a small triangle of glass at the base of the C-pillar that does not roll down spoils the complete effect.
- Frustrating information and entertainment controls are still not intuitive. Four different buttons skip a music track which is deeply annoying when part way through a podcast. Protracted sub-menus and tabs are a maze.
- Even in sports driving settings, the V6 exhaust note cannot be made to bark. Other Mercedes models equipped with the same engine manage a more vocal soundtrack so why not for the E400 Coupe? We may have to wait for an E43 Coupe for that capability.
- Traction is bountiful thanks to the 4Matic all-wheel drive system but it might be overkill. In the case of pumped-up AMG variants the added grip is doubtless a bonus, but we think the combination of rear-drive and 245kW/480Nm as in the case of the E400 would be a lighter and sharper proposition.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
The E400 Coupe sits with a fair personal space around it. BMW’s 6 Series is similar in proportions and size but costs $179,500 for the equivalent turbocharged 3.0-litre version.
Beyond that, BMW’s smaller 440i and the Audi S5 offer turbocharged six-cylinder performance wrapped up in a suave coupe package but are smaller and play in a more affordable market place. The Lexus is also worth a look for another sexy coupe with a range of performance offerings.
Insisting on a Mercedes coupe? The C-Class Coupe can’t match the looks of the E-Class version but will save you some cash at the expense of space and comfort, or you could extend your budget to $327,000 and drive hone in a jaw-dropping S-Class Coupe.