By: Jag Dhatt
Whistler, BC: My family tells me every so often that I’m impulsive. Not in a bad way of course – but certain things draw my attention. I remember driving back home from UBC and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a beautiful black coupe at a Vancouver auto dealership. I turned around my Jeep YJ and within a couple of hours, I had bought the black beauty. Like me, most people are drawn to items based on initial impressions and feelings.
Earlier this summer, I was invited to beautiful Whistler, BC to drive the new 2018 Mercedes Benz E400 Coupe. One look at the new dash and interior, and I was hooked. Impulse aside (I had to be objective, right), I knew right off the bat that this car was going to be amazing and I would not be disappointed.
Mercedes-Benz has always been a coupe specialist, and much of that comes from a long tradition of crafting some of the world’s most comfortable, chic and stylish personal luxury machines. Like the new S-Class Coupe, the E Coupe is stunning.
“We pride ourselves on having the broadest product offering in the luxury market. That’s true for the core segments, but I think that’s true for the relevant niches like coupes, too,” says Bernie Glaser, general manager of product management. “And the coupe market is an attractive one because the buyers are loyal. They don’t buy SUVs — they want their stylish coupe.”
As the seventh-generation E-Class Coupe, this all-new classy two-door is built on a completely different platform than its predecessor, and, as a result, is longer, wider and taller. Mercedes is adamant that this is not a 2+2 coupe — this is a full-blown four-seat car with enough headroom and legroom to comfortably host four adults, and enough cargo capacity to fit all their stuff. The icing on the cake: all passengers are treated to the world above through a gargantuan panoramic glass roof.
Besides having fewer doors, the coupe is clearly different from its sedan, wagon, and upcoming convertible siblings. Starting with a lower, more aggressive sport grille and longer hood accentuated by a strong power dome, the bodylines of the coupe are more streamlined with no hard creases on its side profile. Frameless windows, no B-pillar, and a gorgeously sloping roofline help gives the coupe a more muscular stance compared to the other E-Classes in the lineup. Make sure you get the optional AMG package as it makes the coupe look even wider, lower, and more athletic.
The average person will spend between one and two hours in their cars in a day, including breaks. We, on the other hand, spent close to seven hours behind the wheel, really testing all aspects of the vehicle. Inside, the leather heated and massage seats were exemplary, providing great support and comfort throughout the entire drive. Mercedes dedication to world-class craftsmanship, fit and finish, and superb design cues are prevalent everywhere. Everything was perfect, including the technology.
News flash! The optional dual (yes, that means TWO) 12.3” digital screens are spectacular and can be customized to individual needs. We’ve seen the setup before in another Mercedes model and we’re going to see them in more as well. You really have to experience the new setup to appreciate all it has to offer.
The routes through BC’s west coast aren’t only breath-taking, but they allow drivers to test their cars through twists, turns, straightaways, and some extreme elevation changes – the perfect home for this coupe. For now, the only available power plant is a 3.0-liter BiTurbo V6 that gives 329 HP and 354 lb-ft. of torque, sending it to either the rear axle or all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission (4Matic is standard in Canada). MB Canada says the 4Matic setup will propel the coupe from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. Although Mercedes executives said an AMG 63 version isn’t likely, a more powerful AMG 43 will definitely be made available.
An Mercedes E400 riding on steel springs and the adaptive dampers does an excellent job of pampering the driver and providing enough body control to hustle it along these mountain roads. However, spend the money and get the air suspension option. It provides a wider breadth of both cushiness and capability. Click over to comfort mode and the ride is creamy and luxurious, really pairing well with this car’s mission. Sport mode is probably the one most E400 owners will select, sharpening the car’s responses and waking up that nine-speed transmission without making the suspension harsh. Sport Plus is a little harsh, but aggressive with its instantaneous throttle response, gear selection and suspension firmness.
Mercedes-Benz has done wonders with the electric power steering. There’s never a moment of mistrust between the driver and the car – you feel confident in almost all road conditions. Add Air Body Control and you’ll be amazed by how well this heavy, all-wheel drive coupe can maintain its composure just as well as a handful of today’s newest sports car.
Many manufacturers are moving towards assisted driving (self driving is a word not applicable yet) and I’ll be honest, Mercedes’ improved Distronic adaptive cruise control system is one of the most advanced ones I’ve seen. Not only does it work in stop-and-go traffic and on the highway, but it’s also remarkably easy to use and feels incredibly natural when activated. With the Distronic system fully engaged, the vehicle automatically steers you through gentle curves in the highway, is able to change lanes for you and keep an eye on your blind spots, follow the car in front of you at a safe distance, keep you in your lane, and even slow down automatically if it detects that the speed limit has been lowered, all without needing clear lane markings. It’s no replacement for driving, but takes the pressure off and honestly, it’s really cool!
The new Mercedes Benz E400 Coupe is now truly worthy of the E badge. After spending two days with this beautiful vehicle, impulses aside, I can truly say it’s a remarkable piece of machinery. Starting at $72, 700 this vehicle is priced higher than the outgoing model; but Mercedes brass says that the new standard options are worthy of the price, and I agree!
By: Jag Dhatt