Can the Coupe build successfully on the saloon?

The E-Class saloon is indeed a class act. It’s a tremendous if slightly reserved car, almost self-effacing. Which is terrific, but there are those who want the E-Class but with a bit more of a fun factor to the driving and a bit more of a wow factor to the looks. The E-Class Coupe is for them.

In terms of looks, the Coupe has to be judged a success. There are echoes of the S-Class and that’s no bad thing, and overall this is a very stylish car to look at from any angle.

The big pair of passenger doors allow you in to what is a sumptuous cabin. It’s lavish, stylish, opulent. It’s just more special than say a BMW counterpart, and all the technology that goes with the design and materials is fairly intuitive to use, adding to the journey rather than adding complexity for the sake of it.

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Sitting very comfortably, you fire it up. If you’re sitting in the E300 then you’ll hear the four-pot diesel fire into life. It’s not loud or crude, but somehow the drone of a four-cylinder just doesn’t seem to match the character and looks of the car. Performance is entirely adequate, helped by the smooth-shifting nine-speed transmission, but there does seem a slight disconnect between engine and the rest of the vehicle.

Switch to the E400 4Matic, the £50,000 flagship, and you gain a pair of cylinders and a lot more. The 3.0-litre V6 petrol adds that sense of refinement as well as the power that more perfectly balances the package.

The car stays neatly balanced thanks to the Air Body Control, the optional air suspension, which sits 15mm lower than on the saloon. A slightly shorter wheelbase adds to the feeling that this is a more agile, more gainly car than the saloon.

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Crank up to sportier modes and any wayward tendencies are firmly dealt with, the car staying remarkably composed given its size and level of comfort. This is actually helped by the lighter weight in the bows of the four-cylinder E300, although it pains us to say so.

On the motorway this is a seriously relaxing mile-muncher, the driver cocooned in a sumptuous cabin, the car drifting along with minimal revs and the ride getting better as speeds rise. And that’s with the driver driving.

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The semi-autonomous technology works incredibly, reassuringly well. Distronic Plus can sit the car at the speed of your choice or the speed limit; it can steer, brake and keep a set distance from traffic; and it can change lanes to overtake if you flick the indicator and there is clear space. It’s the best system we’ve tried and can make the Coupe even more of a relaxing way to cover the miles. 

The E-Class Coupe works at what it needed to do, it adds driving enjoyment with or without the semi-autonomous modes, and it looks terrific. It’s really very good indeed with four cylinders but we’d be tempted by six if there was the budget. Oh and tempted by the air suspension option, and a load of other options as well. No, keep us away from the option boxes, we’ll take it as it is.

MERCEDES E400 4MATIC COUPE

Engine: 2,996cc, V6 turbocharged
Transmission: 9G-Tronic automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 333@5,200-6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 354@1,600-4,000rpm
​0-62mph: 5.3secs
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1,845kg (including 75kg driver)
MPG: 35 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 183g/km
Price: £50,775 (OTR)

MERCEDES E300 COUPE

Engine: 1,991cc, inline-four turbocharged
Transmission: 9G-Tronic automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 245@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 273@1,400 - 4,000rpm
0-62mph: 6.4secs
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1,655kg (including 75kg driver)
MPG: 44 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 147g/km
Price: £41,025 (OTR)

Graham Scott is a writer for PistonHeads.

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