Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan / Mercedes-Benz
Published: June 22, 2017
WHISTLER, British Columbia - The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe sits at its own table. There isn’t anything quite like it on the market, as it offers something quite unique. This mid-size four-seater luxury coupe fits right in between the C-Class and S-Class Coupes. It’s not compact enough to be considered competitive with the BMW 4 Series, yet it’s not large enough to fall in line with the 6 Series either.
Furthermore, anything remotely similar to the E-Class Coupe like the new Lexus LC 500 has a price disparity of more than five digits. So what does this two-door Mercedes compete against? Nothing. Some call it the sweet spot on the personal luxury spectrum, and I agree.
Mercedes-Benz invited us to Whistler to test drive their latest model, the 2018 E 400 4MATIC Coupe, and it’s out here in the beautiful west coast that the E 400 feels right at home, surrounded by forestry, mountains, and wildlife. Without peers, you could even call it a lone wolf.
Longer by 123 mm and wider by 74 mm, the new E-Class Coupe has been beefed up considerably, adding most of that stretch to rear seat leg-room and shoulder-room. The overall sheetmetal may look similar to the C-Class Coupe, and from afar I wouldn’t blame you for mistaking one for the other. Squint your eyes though, and you’d notice that the E-Class has larger proportions, a longer and more creased front hood, and a cleaner roofline.
It is softer on the eyes than the outgoing model, the latter of which had a sharp and aggressive presence. This new 2018 model shows off a more laidback approach to driving, one that I think, falls more in line with the luxury coupe mojo. Every curve has been massaged to give the Coupe a softer and more relaxed demeanor. It reminds me of the outgoing CL.
AMG styling comes standard on all models, adding a bit of an edge to its overly fluid shape with pillarless doors. Get a load of those wraparound taillights too, which have LEDs embedded in a granular, almost crystal-like fashion.
The interior is nearly identical to the Sedan save for the turbine-shaped air vents that look like the mouth of a piranha. Perched in the center is Mercedes’ expansive dual-screen setup that connects the driver’s instrument panel with the infotainment system (optional via Premium Package). The screens aren’t seamless as there is a physical black bar that separates the two, but the illusion it creates of an alarmingly wide dashboard is nothing short of eye opening.
The system is incredibly easy to use, with a rotary dial and touchpad to serve your every command. There’s a bit of a learning curve as you scroll through the countless menus, but it doesn’t take long to get a hang of its large icons and scroll-and-click format. The outgoing interface was a little more simplistic and grandpa-friendly, but you have to admit that the new layout looks beautiful, like a widescreen Plasma TV situated right on the dashboard.
I wasn’t a big fan of the C-Class Coupe’s vertical center stack. Though grand as it was, it looked forced and protrusive, but the E-Class molds and integrates the swooping stack into the dashboard much more elegantly, and is accentuated even more when the 64 available tones of ambient lighting turn on at night. This makes the cabin feel wider and larger than it really is - the visual trickery pays off.
The Yacht Blue with Macchiato Beige leather combination in our test car (pictured above) is mouth watering. Never have I seen blue leather pulled off so well. Interestingly enough, your choice of coloured leather also changes the shape of the steering wheel. Light upholstery will grant you a fully round steering wheel, while dark upholstery will give you a flat bottom one. Personally, I feel the light colours and round bottom give off a classier and grander feeling.
Coupes, especially two-seaters, are known to have incredibly poor outward visibility, with monstrous B-pillars obstructing the view. With four-seater coupes however, it’s a different story. The E 400 doesn’t have a B-pillar, meaning the front and rear windows can roll down exposing an expansive moon-shaped opening. There really are no blind spots.
The E-Class Coupe is one of the few two-doors on the market that actually has usable rear seats, and I’m not talking about for baby seats or small children. I mean six-foot adults. Though we didn’t spend much time in the rear seats on the road, they are much more spacious than the outgoing model, which says a lot because it was fairly spacious and inviting to begin with. My hair still brushes up on the headliner if I sit up very straight (I’m six-feet tall), but I have much more wiggle room with my legs this time around. It might as well be called a sedan with its rear doors sealed shut.
The only downside is ingress and egress, which takes a bit of choreography to slip in and out without ripping a hole in your pants. What I do appreciate though is the ability to adjust the passenger seat from the driver’s side, and the heated armrests are a nice addition as well, something that used to only be found in vehicles costing well over $100,000.
There are but a few minor gripes that might bug some buyers: you cannot open the rear window from the passenger seat, the massage function, seat bolsters, and lumbar support can only be accessed through the display menu, and there is no option of a heated steering wheel, which is regarded by some Canadians as a must-have creature comfort.
Nevertheless, the E 400 stands out in other ways and I’d argue that its real gem is how it wafts from A to B in such a composed manner. Out on the undulating mountain roads, there’s a feeling of serenity to it, and the vast horizon filled with tall trees and snowy caps only add to its beauty. Whistler is somewhat of a Bob Ross painting, but the E 400 is the painter.
Currently, the E-Class Coupe only comes in one flavour, the E 400 4MATIC with a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 under the hood that delivers 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque via a 9-speed automatic gearbox. 0-100 km/h comes in 5.3 seconds, but what makes it unique is that all-wheel drive comes standard.
While we suspect a juiced-up E 43 AMG model to come further down the pipeline, we’re just as content with the E 400. Speed comes effortlessly, and the V6 has verve and vigour but it’s never brash or in your face. Power delivery is calm and relaxed (maybe a little too relaxed), and doesn’t show much urgency. It leaves a lot of room for a more powerful E 43 Coupe. The exhaust is fairly subdued as well, though if you’re in Sport or Sport+ mode, the E 400 will emit exhaust burbles on hard downshifts or when letting off the throttle at high RPMs.
We heavily praised the outgoing E 550 Coupe with its healthy V8 and pure rear-wheel drive characteristics but after driving the new E 400, it’s all but a distant memory. Steering is communicative with a clear phone line between gas pedal and forward motion, and the amount of effort that builds on turns feels natural and organic. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system kept the E 400 in check around the many hairpin turns on the twisty Highway 99, but unfortunately reverted more to understeer than oversteer at the limits.
But we never expected the E 400 to perform like a sports car. Instead, the E 400 impresses with the opposite: driver assistance technology. As part of the Intelligent Drive Package, the E 400 can waft about the streets semi-autonomously, as long as the lane markings are clear. The systems will prompt for driver input every now and then, but we’ve gone a whopping fourty-four seconds without touching a thing. Meanwhile Mercedes-Benz strays away from terminology like “pilot” or “autonomous”, but we have to admit that these features make us positive of a future of self-driving vehicles.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4MATIC Coupe will go on sale in July of this year with a starting price of $72,700. Those with keen eyes will notice that it’s quite the price hike from the outgoing model, which used to be priced in the low $60,000s. Mercedes says that with the amount of standard features in the E 400 like blind spot monitoring, heated seats, rear view camera, and panoramic sunroof, they had to mark up the price point to match. Our test vehicles rang up in the low $90,000s, mainly due to the expensive Burmester 3D Surround Sound System, which will set you back a cool $6,900.
With the ability to comfortably seat four adults while being swathed in leather and autonomous technology, the new E 400 Coupe is an appealing proposition. The matured exterior design and wider interior cockpit are just the cherry on top. It’s one measure of luxury and another of effortless power, the fitting and perfect formula that keeps this lone wolf alive and howling in the west coast wilderness.
Photo Gallery (Mercedes-Benz):
型号 Model: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4MATIC Coupe
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $72,700
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,873
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,826 / 1,860 / 1,430
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 329 hp @ 5,250 - 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 354 lb-ft @ 1,600 - 4,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.8 (mostly highway)
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Michelin Primacy 3