2018 Mercedes E-Class Coupe

VANCOUVER, B.C. — As American drivers persist in their unquenchable thirst for luxury SUVs and crossovers, the popularity of coupes, in particular, continues to decline; they make up less than 2.5 percent of all new vehicles sold. Yet, auto manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz see an opportunity in a market segment being abandoned by others.

Last year, sales of the Mercedes E-Class coupe declined over 40 percent from the previous year, with just over 2,200 units sold. Some of that decline could be loyal owners delaying their purchase, waiting for the seventh generation 2018 Mercedes-Benz mid-sized E-Class Coupe to debut this summer. Not surprisingly, the E-Class coupe is a class of one, with no real direct competitors.

With the exception of the carryover 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, the E-Class coupe is all new. After spending a day and several hundred miles behind the wheel, customers will be more than pleased they decided to wait.

Previously built on the smaller C-Class platform, the new coupe rides on its own chassis with a 4.4-inch longer wheelbase. It’s also nearly three inches wider and an inch taller, with all that growth expanding passenger space in an interior that’s significantly larger and genuinely roomy enough for four adult occupants.

What’s immediately noticeable is a new design theme that’s smooth, with a sweeping, arched pillar-less roofline flowing to the short rear end with slim LED taillights housed in their “stardust” casings, an integrated spoiler, dual exhaust and the license plate relocated below the bumper. Overall low, wide, smooth and rakish, Mercedes calls the new design “Sensual Purity” and declared the clean design as state of the art. We think it’s more sensuously graceful rather than aggressive. It is in a word — lovely.

The stunning luxurious interior is more than comfortable with supple top-stitching quilted Nappa leather interior upholstering the seats, dashboard, and upper door trim. Also trimming the interior is glossy designo black piano lacquer flowing lines wood (you can also choose designo magnolia flowing lines wood). We especially like the brushed-aluminum turbine styled air vents and the enhanced ambient lighting with 64 color options. Need more? Inside the glove compartment is a perfume dispenser to keep the cabin smelling like a high-end boutique. Our test car’s scent was called Freeside Mood.

Mercedes claims the new E-Class is the most intelligent car in the world and they could be right. Mercedes’ Comandinfotainment is at the center of the vehicle’s operation and it’s loaded with a dizzying amount of advanced technology. Most of it is displayed on the standard 12.3-inch high-resolution cluster. It can also be combined with an additional 12.3-inch screen with the ability to customize what you want to see and use to your individual liking.

The screen information and controls — and trust me when I say there are lots and lots of controls — are displayed via a console controller knob, dual touch-sensitive capacitive pads on the steering wheel, a trackpad, and buttons on the lower center stack, console, steering wheel, center and lower dash, armrests, and upper trim on the doors for seat adjustment, heating and cooling.

With all these controls we found the system overwrought, confusing, difficult to use and more cumbersome than convenient, often taking up your attention.

Conversely, we were impressed with the amount of life-saving technology Mercedes that can both help completely avoid or mitigate a crash and assist the driver. Our highly optioned test car included Drive Pilot, which combines active cruise control, lane-keeping technology and the ability to have the vehicle change lanes when the turn signal is activated. This isn’t a “self-driving car” and Mercedes tells you to keep your hands on the steering wheel; you can take them off for as long as 30 seconds before a display warning. It’s part of the $9350 premium 3 package that includes numerous safety, conveni
ence and entertainment extras.

The E-Class coupe is initially offered in one model, the E400 with a starting price of $58,900 or the E400 4MATIC all-wheel drive variant at $61,400. There’s an extra $995 for destination and handling charges. The only engine is the carry-over 3.0-liter V6 Bi-turbo producing 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torqu
e and paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The E400 coupe will accelerate to 60 mph in a quick 5.5 seconds, with more than ample power for passing and getting up to highway speeds. The slick aerodynamic exterior, of course, affords a hushed cabin and minimal wind noise. In fact, you hear almost nothing. The ride is smooth, handling precise and brakes superb. 

The new E400 coupe is an outstanding vehicle that is sure to strike an emotional and compelling chord for loyal Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe owners and those who prefer to drive a luxury coupe versus a four-door sedan. It’s sleek, smooth and gorgeous and in a class of its own with no real competition.

It all comes together in the all-new 2018 E400 in a way that truly excites the indulgences in all of us. 

Vital Stats

Base Price: $58,900 - $61,400
Price as Tested: $89,595
Engine: 3.0-Liter Bi-Turbo V6
Horsepower: 329
Fuel Economy: Not Available
Crash Test Safety Ratings: Not yet tested

Competes With

No direct competitors

What Stands Out

Clean, new “Sensual Purity” design
Gorgeous interior
Latest M-B technology and active/passive safety features

— Jim Prueter