Class: Premium Midsize Car
Miles driven: 235
Fuel used: 13.0 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 18.1 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/26/22 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $61,400 (not including $995 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($720), designo black piano-lacquer wood trim ($1300), AMG 19-inch alloy wheels ($500), rear side airbags ($420), multi-contour front seats w/ massage feature ($950), heated and ventilated front seats ($450), Air Body Control air suspension ($1900), Burmester premium audio system ($5400), Premium 3 Package ($9350), Warmth and Comfort Package w/ heated steering wheel ($800), AMG Line trim package ($2500)
Price as tested: $86,685
The great: Lots of high-tech available features, more practical that you might expect for a luxury coupe
The good: Smooth performance, classy interior trim
The not so good: Steep prices get even steeper as pricey options are added
At Mercedes-Benz, 2018 is 2-door time.
M-B redid its E-Class 4-door sedan and station wagon for 2017, and now the coupe and convertible models in the same product line are catching up. There’s new styling inside and out, and a bunch of added technology—none of which should surprise anyone. What may be an eye-opener is that the coupe is a real 4-adult car, something that not every such car can claim.
The E-Class coupe grows for ’18, but at 190 inches long on a 113.1-inch wheelbase and 56.3 inches high, it’s still shorter and lower than the sedan. However, there’s just enough rear head- and legroom to fit folks of up to about 5’-11”—if the passengers ahead of them are no more than the same size. Front seats power forward to ease entries and exits, so getting in or out of the back seat isn’t the worst ordeal. Note, though, that the rear seats are fairly form fitting, so if you find yourself riding in one, here’s hoping that your form fits.
The roof may be somewhat low, but drivers will still find they can see out of the E-Class coupe pretty well. For starters, it is a genuine 2-door hardtop—a body style otherwise long abandoned—with four retractable windows and no fixed B-pillars to clutter the view to the sides. With fairly slender C-pillars, the outward view is good.
While the vistas may be unlimited, the selection is not. The coupe comes only as a V6 E400 model with either rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the latter at a $2500 premium. Consumer Guide® tested an extensively optioned AWD coupe with a starting tab of $61,400, but an as-delivered price of $86,685.
Significant new technology features—some of them standard—involve safety and autonomous-driving capability. If the car senses an impending side collision, it will inflate bolsters to move front-seat passengers away from the doors. Also in case of an imminent accident, the stereo will emit a sound to trigger a natural reflex in the ears to protect passengers’ hearing from the loud noises of a crash. “Car-to-X” communication uses cell-phone technology to exchange information about the road ahead and warn drivers of possible hazards. Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, an automatic system included in the extensive (and expensive) Premium 3 option package, is effective in avoiding accidents at speeds up to 43 mph, and can apply brakes to avoid accidents involving cross traffic at intersections.
Standard comfort and convenience items include leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless starting, 64-color LED ambient lighting, power-folding side mirrors, panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, “mbrace” telematics, voice control, and 12.3-inch display screen. Additional safety items include driver-monitoring Attention Assist, crosswind stabilization, LED exterior lighting, and a rearview camera.
Coupe power comes one way: a 329-horsepower twin-turbocharger 3.0-liter V6 driven through a 9-speed automatic transmission, a powerteam that is new to this generation of the E-Class. DYNAMIC SELECT modes impact throttle, shifting, and suspension operation. Possessed of 354 lb-ft of torque, the engine delivers exceptionally pleasing but not scorching performance, even in one of the two “Sport” modes. Out on the highway, the slinky transmission kicks down a gear or two quickly and with so little apparent fuss that you have to look at the indicator on the instrument panel to really know it happened. The coupe rides and handles very nicely in “Comfort” mode. Damping and steering firm up to a degree in “Sport” and “Sport+” modes (and the optional air suspension lowers vehicle height), but an “Individual” setting allows drivers to select the specific attributes they prefer.
EPA fuel-economy ratings are 20 mpg city/26 highway/22 combined, but after a 125.7-mile test encompassing 60 percent city-type driving, this reviewer averaged just 18.2 mpg. Gas-saving features include an “ECO” driving mode and a subtle automatic start/stop feature. (Curiously, the latter doesn’t automatically switch off in the Sport modes.)
If there was one thing yours truly could change about the test car—and by “change” he means rip it out with his bare hands and hurl it a great distance—it would be the audio system. The sound from the $5400 Burmester surround-sound system was faultless. The problem is with the inscrutable layering of functions operated through the COMAND control dial on the console. I tipped, tapped, twisted, and toggled in hopes of seeking and setting radio preferences, but could not penetrate this device’s defenses. In desperation, I threw up my hands (well, just the one that I didn’t keep on the steering wheel) and manually tuned for what I wanted to hear. Climate controls rely on toggle switches, with repetitive taps necessary to select temperature.
Otherwise, the interior was a nice place to be. The upholstery, in Saddle Brown and Black, was attractive and lush—and it was one of the standard choices. Especially welcome during an early January cold snap were the optional heated armrests on the doors and console to go with the extra-cost heated and ventilated front seats. A choice of six wood dash and door trims is offered, two of them standard, but the test car had striking piano-black lacquered wood with stripes of light-colored wood showing through.
Front passengers are served by a big glove box, a smaller console box with twin side-hinged doors, big door pockets, and covered cup holders in the console. Hard-sided pouches are attached to the backs of front seats, and net pouches are on the kick panel below the rear seat cushions. Exposed cup holders are found between the seats.
The trunk has a high lip, and the opening narrows above the bumper. The cargo area isn’t especially tall, but it will hold a week’s groceries for two, and there’s a large open space under the floor. The split rear seats fold but don’t lie exactly flat, there’s a small gap between trunk floor and seats, and a bulkhead narrows the passage.
Luxury coupes exaggerate the impracticality of 2-door cars by dint of their high prices, and this Mercedes is costly, especially if a desire for options goes unchecked. At least the E400 tempers that with better-than-expected passenger room.
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