2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe first drive review: a grand touring value


When you have an obscene amount of money, you should be driving a grand tourer. I recommend the Aston Martin DB11 or a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso. But what if you're not a sultan, an oligarch, or a tech innovator and still want what a GT can provide? You buy the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe.

Priced from $59,895, including a mandatory $995 destination charge, the redesigned E-Class Coupe takes all the important elements that make grand tourers so desirable—a spacious, opulent cabin; high-speed stability, comfort and agility; a stunning body, and straight-line speed—and lowers the cost of entry to something average people could at the very least aspire to.

Rule one of a grand tourer declares that it should be big in the cabin, big in the body, and big in the trunk. The 2018 E400 Coupe covers those bases.

Gone are the old model's C-Class-based underpinnings and in its place is a variant of the current E-Class sedan's underpinnings. At 190 inches long, 73.2 inches wide, 56.3 inches high, and riding on a 113.1-inch wheelbase, the E-Class Coupe is 4.8 inches longer—4.4 of those inches are between the axles—than last year's model. And yes, it's wider and lower, too, for an improved center of gravity and a more stylish stance.

The increase in size yields a larger cabin that can legitimately seat four adults without a shoehorn or much complaining—we saw a six-foot, four-inch colleague clamber in back with headroom to spare. While we doubt most E-Class Coupe customers will cram abnormally tall humans in back, they should feel comfortable using this two-door Mercedes to haul kiddies to and fro. The trunk, meanwhile, has space for a weekend's worth of bags and then some.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

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2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

Enlarge Photo
2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

Enlarge Photo
2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

Enlarge Photo

The E-Class Coupe's space is surprising—its interior style isn't. Aside from true exotics like Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Mercedes has built the best cabins in the business for several straight years and the E-Class sedan is no exception. While the Coupe carries over a mostly identical design, it does it with sportier materials.

A gorgeous Yacht Blue and Macchiato Beige leather scheme adds nautical flair and a distinct variety to the black, tan, and beige palette. There are also two new light wood trims, “Natural Grain” Ash or Elm, and neat turbine-shaped HVAC vents. These are very tiny changes, but they give the E-Class Coupe cabin more emotion than the occasionally cold cabin in the sedan.

The cabin's size and style define the E-Class Coupe almost as much as its open, airy nature. Like the S-Class Coupe, frameless front windows, lowerable rear windows, and a conspicuously absent B-pillar help create an amazingly open cabin, a trait the standard panoramic sunroof complements. While the weather during my test in Whistler, British Columbia didn't allow it, I expect the E-Class Coupe will give wind-in-your-hair thrills that are nearly as impressive as the upcoming E-Class Cabriolet. But the design does present problems.


 
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