NEW CAR REVIEW: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4MATIC Coupe Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO
2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4MATIC Coupe Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
On a late-January weekend my wife and I would be driving from Chicago across lower Michigan to the suburbs of Detroit for a family birthday celebration. The well-timed arrival of the E400 Coupe would make for a comfortable and pleasant journey.
Two-door coupe offerings in the market today are in decline. Four-door cars often deliver the same good looks and performance with added rear-seat convenience. That said, with just the two of us the E400 Coupe would be plenty roomy.
The E-class coupe, as well as the convertible, is new for 2018 reflecting the design updates that came along in the E-class sedan last year. Now sitting on a longer wheelbase, overall length is increased. The coupe is a bit wider and taller too. The steel unibody uses an aluminum outer skin. The exterior proportions are very well balanced with smooth lines and an overall elegant look.
The E-class coupe is a true coupe with no B-pillar. The clear expanse of glass provides improved visibility both over the driver’s shoulders and for rear seat passengers. In mild weather lowering all four windows offers true open-air motoring.
Under the E400’s hood sits a 329-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic driving the rear wheels. My E400 media-loaner had Mercedes' 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive system, which provided a bit more assurance for our January drive.
The base price for this car is $61,400 plus a $995 destination charge. A long list of optional features brought the bottom line to $86,685. For comparison, the rear-drive E400 coupe is priced at $58,900.
We could debate the pros and cons of all-wheel versus rear-wheel drive. Which to choose depends a lot on where you live and the types of roads and weather you will most often experience.
An alternate approach is to use winter tires on all four wheels. The car I drove had the standard 19-inch performance tires swapped for winter tires. Traction in snow is improved not only for accelerating but also for steering and braking.
Often there’s a fuel economy penalty with all-wheel drive. That’s not the case with the E400. Both the 4MATIC and RWD models have the same EPA ratings of 22 mpg combined with 20 city mpg and 26 highway mpg.
I was pleasantly surprised on our road trip with my overall average in the range of 27-28 mpg, being above the EPA highway rating in spite of my spirited highway driving. Mercedes says the E400 4MATIC will hit 60 mph from stop in 5.2 seconds and top speed is electronically limited at 130mph.
The E400 is not only quick but it’s very comfortable to drive. There’s no harshness that might often come along with a performance car. The cabin is quiet making for easy conversation and audio listening. Overall craftsmanship is top class. This test car had optional multicontour front seats ($950) with a massage mode that my wife and I both enjoyed on the road trip. Power lumbar, side bolsters and seat-cushion length allow for perfect driving position adjustment and for easy mid-trip tweaks.
An optional warmth and comfort package ($800) provided heated armrests and rapid heating front seats. Curiously, a heated steering wheel was not on this car and would have come in handy. Rear seat access on the 4-passenger E400 is made easier with a power slide feature in the front seats that move forward and back when you fold the seatback. And, the rear seats are not just for the children. There’s decent legroom, thanks to the longer wheelbase, as well as headroom for two adults.
Mercedes uses a rotary-controller-based multimedia system to toggle between audio, navigation and to access Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as other vehicle functions.
All-important to a pleasant ride is the suspension tuning. Mercedes balances ride comfort with precise steering and compliant handling. The test car had the optional Air Body Control adaptive air suspension ($1,900) that didn’t detract at all from ride and handling nor make it too soft.
An optional Premium 3 Package ($9,350) added a lot of advanced safety features. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, evasive steering assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera system and a head-up display are all well worth having. The lane keep assist does a nice job of keeping you centered in the lane. The adaptive cruise worked well out on the open highway with no harsh slow-downs or re-accelerations.
Include in this package are convenience items including a power trunk lid, power rear sunshade, cabin air fragrance system, active park assist, wireless phone charging and more.
Have a look at www.mbusa.com for more details, specifications and information on the entire Mercedes line up.
When asked the proverbial question: What one car would you want to have if you could have only one for the foreseeable future? My answer is always the Mercedes E-class wagon. (by the way our European editor Henny Hemmes has an older Mercedes E-class wagon as her family car...). That said. Perhaps the E400 Coupe could be a consideration if I had two cars.
© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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