Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe (2017 - ) review
The E-Class Coupe takes the essence of Mercedes’ mid-size saloon, ditches two doors and creates a coupe with more of a smooth and stylish look. It targets the likes of BMW’s 6 Series but at a lower price; one that puts it close to Audi’s smaller A5.
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From the bonnet to the doors, the E-Class Coupe is virtually identical to the E-Class saloon, but towards the back it has a smooth and shapely silhouette and a sportier demeanour, aided by a suspension set up that’s 15mm lower than the saloon. All E-Class Coupes come in just a single trim – AMG Line – which means a generous specification, including 19-inch alloy wheels, some eye-catching LED headlights that include cool blue elements, and LED tail lights, too. The E300 also gets a sports exhaust as standard.
All the test cars we’ve tried so far have been chock-full of options, but even standard cars get black leather upholstery and a choice of trims, including aluminium or several different types of wood. Build quality is very good and the design is distinctive and contemporary, although the feeling of solidity doesn’t quite match the benchmark set by Audi. The seating position is low and there’s lots of adjustability. Mercedes’ Comfort Package is standard which means plush, heated seats that, on the driver’s side, can be electrically adjusted. The infotainment system is controlled by a dial on the central. The controls are easy to use, although it takes a while to understand the complexities of Mercedes’ software and find your way around.
By its nature, a coupe will be less practical than a saloon, if only because it has fewer doors. But there’s a decent amount of space in the back for rear seat passengers, and longer trips shouldn’t be a problem, at least in terms of legroom. Taller occupants may find their hair getting messed up by the sloping roofline, though. This is, however, a strict four-seater; there’s no middle seat at all, just a pair of cupholders. Boot space is good for the segment; bigger than a BMW 6 Series and easily enough for one, and maybe two, sets of golf clubs. The rear seats fold in a 50:50 split to transport longer items; something that the 6 Series can’t offer at all.
Ride and handling
One expects a mid-sized Mercedes to offer a comfortable ride, and the E-Class Coupe doesn’t disappoint. On motorways and A-roads it wafts along beautifully, dispatching potholes and uneven surfaces with barely a ripple. Most coupes come with at least some expectation of a slightly sportier performance, and if you’re hoping for that from the E-Class Coupe, you might be rather disappointed. All cars come with adaptive suspension as standard, which can be stiffened or loosened depending on whether you want to cruise or attack some bends. But, even in Sport+ mode, the Coupe has an air of vagueness to the steering and a lack of agility. Yes, body roll is kept to a minimum and there’s a good amount of grip, but little about the experience excites. It’s a much more enjoyable car in which to cruise rather than to launch enthusiastic assaults on country B-roads. If that’s what you’re after, then look at the Audi A5 range instead.
We’ve spent the most time in what will likely be the most popular version of the E-Class Coupe; the E220d, powered by a 191bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. It has enough grunt to cope with most everyday motoring without you having to work it particularly hard, with impressive mid-range pull that makes overtakes on single lane roads nice and straightforward with minimal fuss or noise. It’s not worth working the engine to its limits, though, because you don’t ultimately get that much more speed out of it. For those that prefer petrol power, the E300 has a sprightly turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, with 245bhp, while the E400 has a 3.0-litre V6 with 328bhp, which exchanges fuel economy for added brawn. If you’re chasing thrills then, with its brisk acceleration, the E400 is the one to go for, although it’s not designed to blow your hair back. All engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, which – as it should – blends nicely into the background. Although manual shifter paddles are mounted behind the steering wheel, there’s little incentive to use them as the auto mode does a more-than-adequate job.
The E-Class Coupe is priced well below what Mercedes considers its main rival, the BMW 6 Series, which is a big attraction. It’s slightly more expensive than an Audi A5 Coupe, but then it’s also bigger, comes with an automatic gearbox as standard and is well equipped before you reach for the options list. The E220d’s low CO2 output of 106g/km make it attractive to company car drivers, putting it in a low benefit-in-kind tax bracket. Mercedes drivers can expect a more-expensive-than-average time at the dealer for servicing, but on the other hand, residual values are likely to be strong.
The latest generation E-Class is too new for detailed reliability data, but its predecessor had a good reputation. However, Mercedes as a brand has fared less well, sitting near the bottom of the Warranty Direct Reliability Index. Any repairs or attention are likely to be on the pricey side, although Mercedes offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty for new cars, matching BMW and bettering Audi. Our fingers are crossed that the latest E-Class range, including the Coupe, goes towards restoring the company’s reputation.
The E-Class Coupe hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the mechanically similar saloon version scored a maximum five stars and performed well in all areas. Similarly, the Coupe comes with an impressive level of standard safety equipment, including Active Safety Assist, which will warn the driver and apply the brakes automatically to avoid a collision with the car in front. Other standard systems include Attention Assist – which watches out for a sleepy driver – and Crosswind Assist, which helps vehicle stability when winds are high. Optional equipment includes a blind spot monitoring system and the clever Drive Pilot, which combines a speed limit monitoring system, adaptive cruise control and a steering assistance system to essentially drive the car automatically, staying in lane and keeping distance from other cars while adapting to changing speed limits. Of course, ultimate responsibility still rests with the driver, so don’t be tempted to hand over the reins entirely.
With the Coupe available only as the well-stocked AMG Line version, equipment levels are generous, although some of the cleverest kit is optional. Standard equipment includes an 8.4-inch infotainment screen, automatic parking and a reversing camera, as well as heated front seats and leather upholstery. You can upgrade to a bigger screen as part of the Comand Online package (standard in the E400), but we’re not convinced it’s worth the substantial cost. The Driving Assistance Pack, featuring Drive Pilot, adds some clever tech, but it’s expensive. However, we’d be tempted to order the Premium pack, which adds keyless entry and engine start, a memory package for the electric seats, and a panoramic glass sunroof that makes the cabin feel much roomier. Audiophiles may be further tempted by the Premium Plus pack, which includes an excellent Burmester sound system and some extra-clever headlights. Although those additions aren’t cheap, the E-Class Coupe still compares very well to the cost of the BMW 6 Series even after the ticking of several options boxes.
The E-Class Coupe sits somewhat on its own in the range of luxury coupes. If you want coupe style but need something bigger than an Audi A5, and don’t mind losing some sportiness, then this is right up your street. It offers a luxurious and refined cruise and will effortlessly munch up motorway miles at a price well below the equivalent BMW.