The E-Class Coupe can trace its routes back almost fifty-years now, with Mercedes-Benz first introducing an exclusive medium-class coupe to their line up in 1968.
Back in the 1960’s Mercedes-Benz released the 250C and 250CE, based on their 114 and 115 models. Featuring the same suspension, drive train and floor assembly as their 250 Saloon sister, the 250C and 250CE bodies where identical to the saloon back to the A-pillar. It was also the first time Mercedes-Benz used frameless front and rear side windows, a feature that can still be seen in the design philosophy today.
Fast forward to the Geneva Motor Show in March 1977, and Mercedes-Benz introduced the Coupe variant of the 123 series, a car that would go on to be highly successful over the next 8years. Again it was closely related to its Saloon sister in terms of styling and the technology it was packed with, but it did this time feature a 85mm shorter wheel base, which improved the cornering and driving characteristics of the coupe.
Mercedes-Benz would refresh the E-Coupe again in 1987, presenting it at the Geneva Motor Show once again. Now based on the 124 Series, the wheelbase was again shortened by 85mm when compared to the Saloon variant, but still with lots of the design features being carried over, like the protective stripes down the side. The biggest styling change for the E-Coupe came with the 1993 facelift, a redesigned radiator grille, now featuring the Mercedes Star mounted prominently in the centre of it, as it was on the S-Class.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 1997, Mercedes-Benz premiered the CLK. Billed as a completely new model, the CLK introduce numerous technical innovations that further improved safety, comfort and economy, whilst sharing the same floor assembly and major components as the C-Class.
The CLK continued until 2009, during which Mercedes-Benz did not produce an E-Coupe, finally bringing it back in at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show after a 13year break.
Now to look at the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Coupe, the fourth piece of the E-Class family, after the Saloon, Estate and All-Terrain. The main features of this new coupe are that it is considerably longer, wider and higher than its predecessor, 123mm, 74mm and 33mm to be precise. This larger footprint particularly improves the rear, with the knee, shoulder and headroom all benefiting, making the rear of the cabin a much more comfortable place to be over long-distance. At the front of the coupe there is a new washer/wiper system called Magic Vision Control, which achieves a cleaning effect that without obscuring the drivers view. At the rear, the taillights now have a welcoming light effort when the car is unlocked, and a new crystal look.
Additionally the E-Coupe features all the intelligent innovations that are present on the E-Class Saloon, including the Widescreen Cockpit, comprehensive smartphone integration, remote parking pilot and the air body control.
Under the hood the E-Coupe comes with four engine options, three petrol and one diesel. The diesel, E220d, is a 2ltr 4-cylinder inline engine producing 194hp and 400Nm of torque and a maximum speed of 242km/h. The petrol option E200 and E300 both come with 2ltr 4-cylinder engine, producing 184hp with 300Nm and 245hp with 370Nm respectively, with there being a 10km/h difference in their top speeds, 240km/h and 250/kmh. The E400 4MATIC, comes equipped with a 3ltr V6 that output 333hp and 480Nm, topping out a 250km/h.
As standard the E-Coupe comes with a Direct Control system suspension that sits 15 millimetres lower than its Saloon sister, and is tuned for comfort. The optional Dynamic Body Control system is also lowered by 15mm and features adjustable damping with three different modes available, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. The third suspension option is the Air Body Control, a multi-chambered air suspension, with roll, pitch and heave stabilisation. The main advantage of this system is that the different sized chambers in the spring struts allow for three different stages of hardness that are augmented by a continuous, electronically controlled damping system that can damping each individual wheel.
Dynamic Select is available with the Dynamic Body Control and the Air Body Control, enabling the driver to influence various other vehicle settings asides from the suspension, including throttle response, gear shift points and more.
As a member of the E-Class family, the new E-Coupe is packed full of intelligent systems. The first of which that stands out to us is the full smartphone integration. When equipped, Comand Online offers an integrated data hotspot, and it is possible to use Apple CarPlay and Google Android smartphones through the cars infotainment system. Alternatively there is the Audio 20 USB infotainment system, which connects via Bluetooth and also allows access to various features on the phone. Both these packages now feature Live Traffic Information, a system previously only available with Comand Online. This system allows the vehicle to receive up-to-date traffic information in real time, aiding the route guidance system to provide accurate arrival times. The Free Flow feature shows the driver, through green lines, where traffic is currently flowing freely, and can visually and audibly tell the traffic of any upcoming tailbacks or hazards.
Another service available in cars equipped with Mercedes me connect, is the new Concierge Service. This service, also available in the other E-Class models, enables subscribers to make restaurant reservations, see tourists routes, make event bookings and get navigation destinations sent directly to the vehicle. The service is available to registered users in twenty european countries, through either the iCall button or the Mercedes me app.
Other features that come as standard on the E-Coupe are Active Brake Assist, which is able to warn the driver of an imminent collision whilst also providing emergency braking if necessary. A feature that doesn’t just work with slow-moving or stationary traffic, but also pedestrians. Another E-Class staple is the Distance Pilot Distronic with Steering Pilot, which can not only keep the car at your desired speed whilst maintaining the correct distance to the car in front, but can also follow them at speeds up to 210km/h.
Another new feature on the E-Class Coupe is the ability to remotely park the car in tight spaces, or even in and out of garages, using a smartphone app!
To test the new E-Coupe, I headed to sunny Barcelona, Spain. Upon my arrival at Barcelona airport Mercedes-Benz had lined their fleet of E-Coupe’s up outside the terminal. Gleaming in the sun were E-Coupes finished in Hyacinth Red, Aragonite Silver, Diamond White and Cashmere White.
After a quick briefing and some refreshments, I was handed over the keys to my ride for the afternoon, a Aragonite Silver E300, with Macchiato Beige/Yacht Blue interior and the AMG line wheels. The first designation in the road book was a lunch stop at a villa in Calonge, about one-and-a-half hours away, with a route that would take us through Barcelona and out on to the Highway, before cutting back down to the coast and the Villa.
On the highway the E300 felt comfortable cruising along at 120kph, but a little sluggish under acceleration. That being said, the E300 ate up the miles without a lot of effort, gliding over the Spanish asphalt. The E-Coupe interior is arguably one of the best cabins in its market, the combinations of wood and leather available, coupled with plenty of natural light from the frameless windows and glass roof just add to the comfort. Whilst it also fully integrates with your smartphone using Comand Online, and is capable of wirelessly charging the said smartphone! Being packed full of safety features, we had to try out the Distronic and Drive Pilot, which just added to the comfort of driving this car by making everything feel more relaxed.
After around 30 mins on the highway we peeled off into the hills behind, switching the E300 from comfort into Sport+ and enjoyed the tight twist roads that wound their way back down to the coast and our lunch stop at the beautiful Villa Calonge. Here the E300 still felt calm and composed, a little more sporty, but over all it seemed to handle the ever tightening corners with ease and without flair.
We finished our drive in the E300 with a short 30-minute drive in comfort mode up to our hotel. We then arrived at the our hotel for the night, the Hotel Camiral at PGA Catalunya Resort, I nipped back down to the E-Coupe to have a look around the rear of the car. With Mercedes-Benz boasting about the new larger, improved rear cabin I thought I should give it a go and see how it compared to previous experiences in the rear of a coupe. I stand at 188 cm, and it’s rarely been a comfortable experience in the rear of a car, but Mercedes-Benz have increased the room in the back, giving 74 mm more legroom, 15 mm more headroom (this is great, no longer do I rest my head on the roof!), 34mm around the shoulders and 13 mm of elbow room. This bigger cabin vastly improves the comfort in the rear for someone my size, and I’m sure would make for a more pleasing place to be on longer journeys.
The evening program started with us being talked through the car by some of the prominent figures in the cars design and manufacture, before dinner and a night-cap Gin & Tonic.
The next morning saw us in the E400, finished in Cashmere White Magno with White/Black Nappa Leather and again with AMG Line wheels. Due to a tight schedule, we had to pass on the long route back to the final destination, the Ocean Club in Barcelona, for the more direct 1 hour long route. Still this route let us test the V6 twin-turbo powered E400 on some windy roads, as the highway. Again the first half of the drive saw us tearing down the E15 in comfort mode, where the Air Body Control suspension rode fantastically smooth, and with the engine pulling away nicely when we needed to pass slower vehicles. Once we turned off the highway, again on to some twisty A-roads, I switched the E400 into Sport+. Here you could feel the body tighten up and it felt well controlled on the twisting Catalan roads, and the throttle response becoming more of what you’d expect from sportier Mercedes-Benz model. By the time I arrived at the OneOcean Club in Barcelona, the E-Coupe, and particularly the E400, had grown on me a lot, and I can’t wait for an AMG!
In conclusion the Mercedes-Benz E-Coupe is a very good, luxurious Coupe, with the E400 being our choice. At least for the moment. It feels equally at home on the endless miles of highway, as it is in the fun tighter, twistier country roads. The E-Coupe will be perfectly suited to cross-continental jaunts, and then cruising around the Rivera. The base E200 starts at £49,051.80 and the E400 at £64,807.40 with deliveries expected to start in April this year.