There is also something of a surprise lurking under the bonnet of the Mercedes E 400 model: a V8-eating twin-turbo V6 engine.
Base price: $131,000.
Powertrain and performance: 3.0-litre biturbo petrol V6, 245kW/480Nm, 7-speed automatic, rear-drive, Combined economy 7.5 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 5.2 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4624mm long, 1429mm high, 000mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 450 litres, fuel tank 66 litres, 19-inch alloy wheels on 235/35 tyres.
We like: Sensational performance from biturbo V6, a lot of equipment in Night Edition package.
We don’t like: Well behind design of new-generation Mercedes-Benz models.
How it rates: 7/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? With an influx of new-generation models in the Mercedes-Benz range, the E-class has become something of an elder statesman: highly respected for its abilities but very far from youthful.
That’s especially true of the E-class coupe. Luxury two-doors are quite traditional anyway, and on the surface the E-class errs more towards quiet dignity than dynamic appeal.
But that hasn’t prevented Mercedes-Benz New Zealand giving the big fella a bit of a stir. As with the E-class convertible, the coupe now has the Night Edition package fitted as standard: a blend of different styling elements and extra equipment. More about that in a minute.
There is also something of a surprise lurking under the bonnet of the flagship E 400 model: a V8-eating twin-turbo V6 engine.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Large the E 400 coupe may be, but it’s a very fast machine thanks to its new-generation 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. This is the powerplant that essentially replaced the V8 in the local E-class lineup when the updated model was launched; it’ll propel the coupe to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds in an effortless manner.
No, you don’t get the V8 soundtrack. But you do get Combined economy of 7.5 litres per 100km, which is astonishing when you consider the performance potential.
The chassis also gets a hurry-up with the addition of a firmer suspension setup, which comes with the AMG Sport package – which in itself is part of the Night Edition kit. Confusing/appealing.
It’s still very much a grand tourer, but in true Mercedes-Benz fashion the E 400 chassis has great reserves when you drive it hard. Ride remains comfortable but the composure is excellent.
The E 400 also comes with Mercedes-Benz’s suite of semi-autonomous driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping with steering assist and cross-traffic assist.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The E-class cabin is decidedly old-school compared with the much newer C-class and S-class models, with conservative shapes and large clusters of switchgear that you simply don’t see on the new-generation cars.
But it’s far from clumsy and the Night Edition does bring a wealth of extra equipment. The instrument panel is covered in Nappa leather, the front seats are heated and you get the Vision package as standard, which includes a panoramic glass roof, 360-degree parking camera and Harman Kardon sound system.
The aforementioned AMG Sport package is also included and a special steering wheel, black leather upholstery with red stitching (and red seatbelts if you so choose), sports pedals and an exterior body kit with 19-inch wheels.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? As with the E-class convertible, the coupe is still one styling step behind the sedan: while the four-door got new body panels all around at its last facelift, the two-door versions picked up the new face but retained the side panels, including the retro-roundy rear arches.
So there is plenty about the E-class that indicates advancing age when compared with other Mercedes-Benz models. That’s really the reason for the Night Edition package: to provide a fillip for an overly familiar model.
In that context, it works. There’s a huge amount of extra equipment in this E 400 and the Night Edition package is only available on the coupe and convertible.
- Blind spot warning: Yes
- Lane guidance: Yes
- Cruise control: Adaptive with stop/go and active steering assistance
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Parking radar: Yes with 360-degree camera
- Self-parking technology: No
- Head-up display: No
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Stop-start: Yes
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
- Leather upholstery: Yes
- Power boot or tailgate: No
- Split/folding rear seats: 60/40
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