2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 Coupe
2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 Coupe

First Drive: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 Coupe

If you’ve been thinking of rewarding yourself for all your hard work with the purchase of a higher-end sporty kind of car, you might take a look at the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.

A coupe, you ask? Yes, a coupe and a car that puts the “class” in EEEEEEEEEE Class. It might look at first glance to all but the most dyed-in-the-wool Benz boosters, but the coupe is completely new.  Peer about a bit and you’ll note exterior modifications like pillar-less side windows with no frame to block the view, the front and rear fascias are new as are the hood and side sills. In fact, AMG styling is standard for Canada says product manager Mike Maduro, as is LED lighting and crystal-look LED tail lights.

“The design is more rounded,” he points out. “The angles are gone.”

In a refreshing bit of candor, the company points out that there is “room for four” (not five as many other coupes claim) and the lack of a B-pillar makes it a bit easier to access the rear perches.

Over all, the 2018 coupe is 123 mm longer, 74 mm wider and 32 mm higher than the previous model.

It’s on the inside that the changes become crystal clear. While the entry level coupe has a fairly typical instrument layout with two round dials in a seven-inch colour display and an 8.4-inch central display, the premium package brings two high-resolution 12.3 inch displays which merge to form a single 24.6-inch display that’s perfectly clear and directly in the driver’s view.

The “virtual instruments” can be chosen in three styles: Classic, Sport and Progressive, depending on your priority.

It’s a cool setup which can be controlled with touch control buttons on the steering wheel which also has controls for the audio/visual system. A touchpad with centre console controller provides additional control. The system can even recognize handwriting and respond to the “Linguatronic” voice control.

The high-class interior features heated leather seating, power everything, real wood accents, multi-adjustable ambient lighting and very cool turbine-look HVAC vents.

I get my first look at the new model five minutes after getting off my flight in Vancouver. Five minutes after that, my driving partner for this tour, Jeremy Cato, has us under way, headed for lunch before setting course for Whistler. There’s nothing like local knowledge when navigating the streets of the coastal city well-known for its anti-car attitudes, not to mention constant construction.

He gets us out of town and on the Sea To Sky Highway in quick time, the E-Class zipping nimbly and confidently through traffic. Once on the highway, the E Class Coupe is truly in its element. We are only going to be on the road for a couple of hours this day, but I get the feeling I could spend many more hours in this beauty. The seats are supportive and comfortable and the audio system is killer. I’d love to have this kind of audio reproduction in my house.

When it’s my turn to take the wheel, I quickly discover that, while being a passenger is enjoyable, piloting this car is terrific.

Under the hood is a 3.0L bi-turbo V6 engine rated at 329 hp and 354 lb. ft. of torque which delivers enthusiastic response to throttle inputs while the nine-speed automatic transmission moves smoothly through its gear sets. It’s the only powertrain combination available but, really, who needs more? It’s quiet, quick and fairly economical.

All too soon we arrive at the Four Seasons Hotel in Whistler and, frankly, I’m looking forward to the next leg of our journey which takes us north through Pemberton on the scenic Duffey Lake Road to Lillooet and then on through Harrison Hot Springs back to Vancouver – 435 km of varying road surfaces with plenty of twisty bits to play on and, though this is a luxury coupe, this is a tourer that loves to play.

Starting life at $72,700, the E-Class Coupe which only comes with 4MATIC, has enough options to run the cost to around the $95,000 mark, says Maduro.

Our test cars have the premium package with that stunning digital instrument display, foot-activated release for the power trunk, Keyless Go, enhanced heated front seats and armrests and illuminated sill panels.

Also available is a Sport Package with dynamic body control, 19-in. AMG wheels and multi- contour front seats with massage. The technology package adds head-up display, 360-degree camera, active multi-beam LED lighting and adaptive high-beam assist. Intelligent Drive brings key semi-autonomous features like active blind spot assist, active lane-keeping, Pre-Safe Plus, active distance assist (Distronic) and active steering assist.

Stand -alone options Include Burmester 3D high-end surround sound with 23 speakers and system output up to 1,450 watts. You can also get an air balance package, wireless phone charging, heated rear seats and climate comfort seats.

We’re all aware of the electronic nannies listed, but there’s a new wrinkle in the safety systems: Pre-Safe Sound, an acoustic pre-conditioning system which can reduce the effects of accident noises on hearing. When certain dangerous situations are recognized, the on-board sound system emits a brief rushing sound to enable the inner ear to rapidly prepare for accident-induced high sound pressures. Seems odd considering sound pressures the optional Burmester system can produce.

Ah well, when all is said and done, the new E-Class 4MATIC coupe is a terrific combination of class, luxury, comfort, technology and fun. Something for everybody.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E 400 Coupe
Trim level: 4 MATIC Coupe
Price before taxes: $72,700.00 (base)
Freight: TBA
Configuration: front engine, AWD
Engine/transmission: 3.0 L bi-turbo V6/ 9-speed automatic
Power/torque: 329 hp/354 lb-ft
Fuel economy ratings: 10.2 L/100 km combined (estimated)
Warranties: four years, 80,000 km comprehensive
Competitors: Audi A5 coupe, BMW 4-Series coupe, Cadillac CTS, Lexus RC F

Related links:
Mercedes-Benz Canada

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