CATALONIA, Spain – Some luxury cars will sell on styling or performance alone, while others boast an impressive amount of technology to attract buyers hell-bent on sophistication and innovation. A few cars are lucky enough to have all three, which is the case with this new coupe from Germany.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe has been thoroughly restyled, and although it inevitably shares many styling cues with the new-generation sedan and wagon variants of the family, it does set itself apart. Compared to the previous-gen coupe, the new car’s wheelbase has been stretched, while overall length and width are up as well. It also gets power bulges on its hood and keeps the pillarless doors while the rear windows can be lowered, a nice design touch.
Moreover, the E-Class Coupe’s suspension is 15 millimetres lower to the ground than the sedan, giving it a more muscular stance. Like every model Mercedes offers in Canada, an AMG styling package is included, which adds sportier bumpers, side sills, AMG 18-inch alloy wheels and a front grille speckled with chrome dots. The only flaw on the new coupe’s body, we think, is the additional rear bumper cladding that will surround the license plate on U.S. and Canadian-spec cars—not pictured here.
It also features new LED taillights that incorporate the “glow of a jet engine;” Mercedes’ words, not ours. The daytime running lights in the optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamp clusters flash a shade of blue before turning to white.
The German brand claims an increase in shoulder room up front, which is marginally better than in the old E-Class Coupe. However, rear-seat legroom has increased as well, and that’s a noticeable improvement. The two rear passengers will feel comfortable riding in the back, once they succeed in climbing aboard. Getting out is never a graceful moment, but that’s the case with just about any coupe. Up front, the seats offer multiple adjustment options and once the door is closed, an articulated arm hands us the seat belt, which is neat. However, we would’ve liked to be able to lower the seat cushion a little more.
The standard tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof provides a good amount of light into the cabin, which offsets the small side windows. The steeply raked windshield helps the coupe achieve a drag coefficient of 0.25—very aerodynamic for an automobile—but that means thicker A-pillars are required for stiffness. On the streets of Barcelona and on the winding mountainside roads leading us to Girona, they hampered visibility quite a bit. On a side note, the car’s trunk has shrunk from 450 to 425 litres.
Only one version of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe will be launched in Canada—at least for now. The E 400 4MATIC is equipped with a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre V6 engine that develops 329 silky-smooth horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, connected to a home-grown nine-speed automatic transmission. As its name suggests, all-wheel drive is standard.
Mercedes says the E 400 4MATIC can run from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds, and that feels about right after driving the coupe in Sport + mode, which also allows the engine to growl louder and prouder, while throttle response is sharper. Comfort mode, on the other hand, softens the ride perfectly.
That’s with the DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL suspension that’s bundled with the Sport Package. We can also choose the optional AIR BODY CONTROL suspension that uses an adaptive damping system with chambers of different sizes—three in the rear struts and two in the front ones—to vary ride firmness. The smooth roads of the beautiful Catalonia region didn’t convince us that this air suspension is worth the extra coin, but maybe the cracked and lumpy roads in Canada will. We’ll see when we drive the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 4MATIC in our country.
The elegantly crafted leather, Nappa leather or designo leather seats can be chosen in 14 different colours and stitching. The beautiful open-pore wood trim is standard, which blends nicely with the sharp-looking chrome air vents and speaker grilles. Alternately, buyers can go for varnished wood, aluminum, metal weave or designo trims with flowing lines. In short, the E-Class Coupe’s cabin will look fabulous, no matter what we choose.
Other standard interior features include a leatherette trimmed dashboard, COMAND infotainment system with 12.3-inch display as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, navigation, ambient lighting and MAGIC VISION CONTROL windshield wipers, which include heated blades and integrated washer fluid sprayers.
Many options can be added as well. The Sport Package brings multicontour front seats, 19-inch wheels and the more dynamic suspension. The Premium Package piles on, among other things, a 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster, heated front armrests, a power trunk closer and a 590-watt, 13-speaker Burmester sound system. Ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a 23-speaker Burmester 3D stereo are available, too.
The Technology Package adds head-up display, a 360-degree camera system and the MULTIBEAM LED headlights, while the Intelligent Drive Package features advanced electronic driving aids, DRIVE PILOT and DISTRONIC with Steering Pilot adaptive cruise control. This new-generation system can steer the car on its own, at least on the highway. We tried it and it kept us in our lane most of the time, but failed on its mission in very moderate curves. Better still keep our hands on the wheel for now.
There’s also a new keyfob design that’s introduced on the Coupe, but it’s best to hook it to a keychain because it’s slipperier than a bar of soap in the shower.
Canadian pricing has not yet been finalised for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe, but we’re estimating it at about $70,000. The E 400 4MATIC will go on sale in May, possibly June. Other trims should follow soon after, but like the outgoing-generation E-Class Coupe, we shouldn’t hold our breath on an AMG E 63 version. Not only will this new two-door E-Class draw attention with its looks, its performance and its brains, but it also benefits from being the only luxury midsize coupe currently on the market.