Mercedes-Benz's makeover machine appears to be running at full-tilt, especially when it comes to its E-Class model range. Weeks after the German automaker unwrapped the 2014 E-Class sedan and wagon models, the company is now giving us a look at the updated 2014 E-Class coupe and cabriolet.
Same Bones, New Wrapper
Mechanically speaking, the new 2014 E-Class coupe and cabriolet are nearly identical to the outgoing 2013 models. As they have since late 2011, E350 coupes and cabriolets utilize a direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Eight-cylinder power is available in the 2014 E550, which boasts a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V-8 with 402 hp and 443 lb-ft on tap. A seven-speed automatic remains the lone gearbox on either model, and all-wheel-drive is once again optional on only the E350 coupe. One new addition: engine start/stop is now standard across the board.
Those carry-over drivelines and platform bits are wrapped in some spiffy new sheetmetal for the 2014 model year. Much like their four-door siblings, the two-door E models abandon the quad-lamp headlight arrangement for a pair of scalloped lamp assemblies. Each boasts dual projectors to retain that signature E-Class lighting look, but are jazzed up with elegant LED light pipes that dance from the forward fender edge towards the grille. That grille is again slightly lower than the sedan's, and this time boasts only one cross bar instead of the sedan/wagon's two or three. Meanwhile, the upper edges of the front fascia - which now boasts even larger lower air intakes, especially in Sport guise - sweep back in a manner that recalls Benz's SL and SLK roadsters.
Revisions aft of the A-pillars are limited; the roofline and pillarless daylight opening remain unchanged, as do the muscular character lines over the rear fenders. 2014 models gain new rear diffusers and revised taillamps.
New Look And Tech Within
The E-Class' mild makeover also permeates into the interior. Little tweaks scattered throughout the cabin - including the analog clock above the center stack, chrome-clad switchgear and HVAC vents, and accent stitching along the upper section of the instrupment panel - help inject a little flair and panache into what was previously a somewhat blase environment. 2014 models also utilize an electronic column mount shifter and shift paddles instead of the previous console shifter, freeing up additional storage space between the front seats.
Predictably, the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet follow in the footsteps of the 2014 E-Class sedan and wagon in terms of tech. Mercedes' signature Aircap wind deflector remains available, but now can rise from the windshield header automatically at speeds over 25 mph. A rear wind diffuser can also automatically deploy at speed, but only if the car senses no passengers are buckled into the rear passenger seats. For gallivanting in ultra-brisk weather, the vaunted Airscarf feature - which blows warmed air on the necks of front passengers - remains.
If that's not enough to geek out on, try this: a radar-based collision warning system is standard on all 2014 E-Class models, but a new, optional camera-based system can also detect pedestrians and can automatically brake the car from speeds up to 30 mph. A revised adaptive cruise control can also help automatically keep the car centered in a given lane. A revised active lane keeping system now alerts drivers if the adjacent lane is occupied by vehicles - even those approaching at a perpendicular angle.
Sedans First, Sexier Styles Later
Much like it was in 2009, the new 2014 E-Class coupe and cabriolet won't be the first of the new E models out of the gate. Mercedes-Benz hopes to have E-Class sedans and wagons stateside by this spring, but coupes and convertibles won't hit U.S. showrooms until the summer of 2013.