LOS ANGELES, California—With more than 200 miles of driving planned for a recent weekend, I knew with near-perfect surety that I would encounter nearly every type of road and driving situation as, contrary to popular belief, not every stretch of road in Southern California is choked with traffic. I found the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe with which I carried out those driving plans to be a capable companion in bumper-to-bumper gridlock and while cruising on an empty highway in the early hours of the morning.
Our tester’s svelte bodywork was enhanced with the optional AMG Line package ($2,500), which adds more muscular yet elegant styling and twin-spoke sport wheels. Meanwhile, the Designo Cardinal Red Metallic paint ($1,080) adds to the vehicle’s visual presence, its quality and luster drawing plentiful comments from friends and onlookers.
Powering the stylish coupe is a smooth and refined 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that cranks out a respectable 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a nine-speed automatic sending power to all four wheels via Mercedes’ 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system. The combo is good for a run from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. That’s not bad for 4,305-pound luxury sled.
The driver can choose one of five drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and the customizable Individual mode. Steering is light when the car is in Comfort, but its weight increases in Sport and Sport+. Road feel through the wheel inspires confidence, and the coupe is a blast to pilot through on-ramps. Throttle response is superb and predictable. In my time with the E400, I found it very easy to wind through traffic or to open the taps when the road was clear. The exhaust will even let out a growl under full-throttle acceleration.
This being said, I found myself opting for Comfort most of the time. The relaxed powertrain and suspension settings make for a satisfying cruise that leaves driver and passenger feeling fresh even after a long drive. There’s no need to rush in the E400 4MATIC coupe—it’s enjoyable to just sink into the Designo seats, turn up the stereo, and feel the road smooth out under the pliable suspension.
The coupe has an impressive battery of standard features beyond the powertrain. The 12.3-inch widescreen display is legible and easy to read, as is the digital instrument cluster. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay join the roster for mobile compatibility, though these are more cumbersome to use via the COMAND interface than they would be via touchscreen.
Additionally, some functions are difficult to access. The massaging seats, a blessing during long slogs through L.A. traffic, require a slew of inputs to enable. The same goes for several other basic controls, whose presence as buttons has been sacrificed in the name of a more minimalistic interior than the likes of Porsche, Audi, and BMW.
This is a small complaint about an otherwise well-designed interior. Configurable lighting sets the mood in the cabin and the optional Burmester sound system ($5,400) delivers great quality for front- and back-seat passengers. Magnolia wood trim adds a familiarly traditional feel to an otherwise spaceship-like cabin. The heated and ventilated seats ($450) plus the heated armrests added by the Warmth and Comfort package ($800) were welcome after an outdoor concert.
As tested, the 2018 E400 4MATIC Coupe delivers an incredible package with loads of luxury and technology worthy of its $89,345 price. Well-optioned beyond its $62,395 base price, it delivers an experience comparable to an S-Class without the downside of full-size proportions.
2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe Specifications
|PRICE||62395/$89,345 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.0L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/329 hp @ 5,260-6,000 rpm, 354 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,000 rpm|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe|
|EPA MILEAGE||20/26 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||190.0 x 80.9 x 56.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||130 mph|