When it comes to German luxury convertibles, there is a pretty big jump in price from such long-time favorites as the entry-level BME 3-Series convertible and the more upmarket 6-Series convertible. Thankfully, Mercedes-Benz has found a way to split the difference, and made a very enjoyable car in the process. For all of the opulence of the S-Class, or performance of the SLS AMG, it is the E-Class where Mercedes makes the most money, and as such they devote quite a bit of attention to it. It’s not the roomiest convertible though, and size-wise is much closer to the 3-Series than the 6.
The last Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe was supposed to be a CLK, until mid-way through development when plans changed, and the E Coupe was born. But underneath sexy E-Class styling, the chassis was still that of a C-Class, complete with an inferior suspension setup, and carrying more weight than it was intended to. The new E-Class Coupe, however, is based entirely off the E-Class sedan. That makes it bigger, more complex, and more competent than ever before – perfect to rival the BMW 6 Series… or at least it would be if BMW hadn’t decided to cancel the 6 Series coupe…
The E-Class interior borrows heavily from the S-Class – going the way of avoiding standalone screens and instead featuring a dual 12.3-inch setup across the dash. The two screens almost meld into one another, with the central unit responsible for a newly updated COMAND infotainment system, and the screen in front of the driver handling instrumentation in a range of themes and configurations. The screens are surrounded by soft leather and high quality molded air-vents – six in total that play off the aviation theme hinted at by toggle-style switches.
In terms of space – front occupants have an abundance of it, with power adjustable seating making it easy to get comfy. The rear bench is positioned low, which minimizes the potential trouble with head room – though taller passengers might still suffer. Leg room is however cramped. The rear seat splits in a 60/4 ratio to allow the already impressive 13.1 cubic foot trunk to swallow even more.
The E Class Coupe features standard lowered suspension with automatically adaptive suspension. Based on driving style and road quality, the dampers adjust themselves to try and either offer maximum support, or a comfortable ride. In truth, it works a good deal of the time, but when sudden large bumps arrive the dampers can’t cope with the sudden change and the rear end is easily unsettled by the jarring motion. Under cornering, the suspension fails to adequately support the E Class Coupe, with even the rear-wheel drive model yielding to understeer when the vague front end gives out. The steering, though delightfully weighted, doesn’t offer much feedback to the driver, with the overall demeanor of the E Coupe being one of grace and class, but without much poise or performance bias. In this regard it’s more akin to a GT car than a sportier sibling to the E Class sedan.
Notwithstanding the AMG E63 that will eventually arrive, the Mercedes-Benz E Class Coupe is available exclusively with one engine in E400 guise. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 is not quite at the level of the AMG E43 sedan for performance, serving up just 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard, with the choice between two drivetrains – standard rear-wheel drive, or 4MATIC all-wheel drive. In rear-drive trim, claimed performance is quicker than it feels – 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds – while the 4MATIC version crops 0.3 seconds from that sprint time.
Available solely in one trim – the E400 Coupe – standard levels of equipment are decent. The E400 features power front seats with memory, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and a panoramic sunroof as standard. Options such as massaging seats and soft close doors are also available. Basic safety is standard without options, but the Premium 1 Package is needed to add blind spot assist and rear cross traffic alert. Meanwhile Premium 3 adds lane keeping assist, a heads up display, lane change assist, and autonomous emergency braking. The E Class Coupe has yet to be crash tested by local authorities.
If you’re looking for a sportier two-door alternative to the E-Class sedan, this isn’t it. But the E400 is a luxurious touring coupe with many available options and curvaceous styling. Now in a class of one, it’s not without its flaws, but it’s still an impressive drive – especially in 4MATIC trim with extra grip afforded by AWD.