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Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - E-class - coupe range

Our Opinion

We like
High-quality cabin, rear-seat comfort, standard gear, design, in-car tech, superb seats, overall comfort, ride quality
Room for improvement
Comand controller and connectivity system unnecessarily confusing, rear visibility, E400 too pricey

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Mercedes-Benz logo25 May 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

THE new E-Class Coupe slides into Mercedes’ line-up to sit above the smaller C-Class two door but below the massive and pricey S-Class Coupe.

This time around it shares its platform with the E-Class, rather than the C-Class, which means extra room for all occupants in what is overall a much larger package than the old version.

It also places Benz in an interesting position, as it technically has no direct rivals. Sure, BMW offers its 6 Series Coupe but it attracts a more performance-focused buyer. And Audi has the swoopy A7 but it is a five-door proposition.

So who will buy a large coupe like this? According to Benz, older folks, people who owned the previous version or others who will add it as their second, or possibly third, Mercedes.

Regardless of age, status or personal wealth, the E-Class Coupe holds appeal for a wide audience.

As mentioned it is dimensionally larger than the old version and is now considerably larger than the C-Class Coupe. Local Benz execs told us that the rear seat was given particular focus during development to ensure it offers actual useable space and comfort levels. More on that later.

You can make up your own mind as to whether the latest crop of Benz models looks too same same, but to our eye, the E-Class Coupe is a stunner.

It goes well beyond just being the C-Class Coupe’s bigger sibling.

The smooth panels, lack of any fussy design elements or lines, standard AMG bodykit including mesh grille, squat stance, perfect behind and strikingly intricate LED tail-lights make it one of Benz’s best-looking offerings. Kudos to those crafty German designers.

Its side profile is also a winner, especially when the windows are lowered to reveal the lack of a B-pillar.

Inside, Benz has carried over the exceptional dashboard from the E-Class sedan.

That means the huge and stylish tablet-like all-digital display that houses the instrument panel and all audio and connectivity functions, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the rather excellent 3D sat-nav.

We stepped into a top-spec $145,900 before on-roads E400 4Matic first up and were greeted with striking red leather upholstery contrasted with light and dark greys.

Up front the headroom is impacted slightly by the inclusion of the panoramic sunroof, but not enough to ruin the experience.

There are a number of touches throughout the cabin that help justify the pricetag of the E400. Beautifully designed air vents, soft touch everything, classy modern inserts and lashings of chrome make for a truly luxurious feel.

The sports seats on all variants are also a real highlight. They seem to wrap themselves around the occupant while still offering room to move around.

They offer the perfect balance of comfort and support and, along with the feeling of being ensconced in the cabin, give you a feeling that you could spend long journeys in the E-Class Coupe and have very little to complain about.

One of the only issues we could see with the cabin, and we have mentioned this before, is Benz’s Comand central control system. It looks like what someone on the 1980s thought a spaceship might look like in the future.

There are two ways, no three counting the buttons on the centre stack, to complete a number of functions but it is a confusing system and lacks the ease of use of rival systems, such as Audi’s.

Up the back, there is ample legroom and toe room in the second row, and while our head just scraped the roof, there is a surprising amount of headroom back there.

As mentioned, Benz was keen to ensure the back seat was functional and not just an afterthought. Folks of different heights and sizes would be fine back there for a decent trek.

The 425-litre boot is large enough and could easily swallow a pair of big suitcases, but the 40:20:20 split-fold rear seat can help accommodate even more luggage if required.

Back to the driver’s seat and thankfully the Coupe’s parking sensors and 360-degree camera work well because visibility out the tiny rear windscreen is limited. It is a big car, too, but it doesn’t take long to adjust to its size.

On the road, the E400’s 245kW/480Nm 3.0-litre bi-turbo six-cylinder petrol engine offers smooth power and torque delivery and matched with the nine-speed auto, gets about its business without any fuss.

The E400 does not offer break-neck performance, but nor should it. The E-Class Coupe is a cruiser not a bruiser.

You will get to the legal speed limit quickly enough and once there you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the plush cabin. Not a lot of noise gets in there, thanks to the work of the clever engineers at Stuttgart.

From the E300 up, the Coupe is offered with Air Body Control air suspension and it makes for a beautifully floaty ride.

Comfort mode does exactly what its name suggests, but Sport mode ensures a bit more communication between the car and the road, while maintaining a silky smooth ride.

Where the C-Class Coupe, depending on the variant, offers point and shoot performance, the E-Class is more relaxed in how it rides and handles. And we mean that in a very good way.

You can still point it into a sweeping bend and be confident that it will stick to the road without fuss, particularly in the E400 that has the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. There was, however, some skipping over imperfect surfaces and the steering is not as sharp as the C-Class, but again, it doesn’t need to be.

There were no E220d diesel variants on the launch, so we headed back to Melbourne in the mid-spec, and expected best seller, the $110,900 E300.

It drives its rear wheels only and uses a smaller 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot petrol unit.

It is not quite as quick in a straight line as the E400 (it is 1.0 second slower to 100km/h) but it is barely noticeable and offers up basically the same performance.

The jump from E300 to 400 is $35,000 which is quite a bit of coin considering the latter only adds a panoramic sunroof, a fancy Burmester stereo, metallic paint, tinted windows and a head-up display, and swaps the four-pot for a bigger six.

We think the E300 is the sweet spot and unless you are desperate for any of the aforementioned features, or are set on a six-cylinder Benz, then we reckon save your money and stick with the E300.

You can get the sunroof, head-up display and stereo in the $4990 Vision Package if you really can’t live without them.

The E-Class Coupe is the kind of car you could do a road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane in and be relaxed and comfortable and the end.

It has finally emerged from the shadows of the old C-Class Coupe and thanks to its overall packaging, comfort, ride quality, cabin ambience and general likeability, the big German cruiser has carved out its own wonderful niche.

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