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Behind the Wheel of the Mercedes-Benz E400

(Photo: © 2016 Mercedes-Benz)

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 coupe is one of only a few luxury coupes today. A coupe, by definition, has just two doors and because of that can be a bit of a compromise. The E400 Coupe is built from the slightly larger Mercedes-Benz E four-door platform, retaining the same characteristics – although in this case it seats just four adults. One visually appealing feature is the lack of a post between the front and rear windows. The 3.0-liter, V-6, twin-turbocharged engine develops 329 horsepower. Performance was good but hardly breathtaking – a timed trip to 60 mph took about 6 seconds. This translates into a vehicle that makes merging with fast-moving traffic effortless but not heart-stopping. The smooth-shifting transmission comes in several shift modes: Sport, Sport-Plus, Comfort and an Eco mode for those drivers trying to maximize fuel economy. I found myself staying in the Comfort mode. That setting seemed to have the best balance of ride, handling and overall comfort.  My test model happened to be all-wheel drive. Equipped with winter tires, the  E400 Coupe should be able to handle just about any weather. My test car had a $9,300 option package that included smart cruise control, automatic emergency braking, an LED intelligent light system and steering and lane-change assistance.

The interior of this coupe is typical Mercedes-Benz – quality throughout. The seats were comfortable and supportive with plenty of adjustments for drivers of just about any size. The controls were delightful and frustrating at the same time. The shifter was a small stalk on the right side of the steering wheel. Once you master the design it works well. The radio, navigation and other controls use a combination of a center rotary knob, swipe surface and touch screen. All of this demonstrates how technologically advanced the car is, but also how distracting the controls can be. The rear seating was a bit awkward to get into but was reasonably comfortable once you were there. The truck is smallish and there is no spare tire.

The stylish coupe turned heads wherever I drove it (the cardinal red metallic paint didn’t hurt!). In my opinion, this is more of a two-door luxury cruiser than a sports car. As some automakers are moving away from the luxury coupe, Mercedes-Benz stepped up its game with the E400.

My test model was priced at $77,400. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $58,900.

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