Hold on tight as Francois Gissy gives you the only lesson in physics you’ll ever need
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What’s this then?
Until Mercedes does a full-on, AMG version of the E-Class Coupe, this is the quickest and most expensive one you can buy.
Logic says that because it has a 3.0-litre, twin turbocharged V6 it should be called the E300. But that would be just too obvious. Mercedes has long-since given up giving its cars names that in any way relate to their engines, so the actual E300 has a 2.0-litre turbo – and because this car one-up from that, it’s called the E400. Easy.
I guess it’s based on the E-Class saloon?
Indeed it is, not like the old E-Class Coupe (which was actually based on the same platform as the old C-Class). The new car is thus bigger in basically every respect, and notably longer and wider than before.
There’s also more rear legroom, which means this thing is a genuine four-seater. Getting in and out isn’t too tricky either, because the doors are massive and when you tip the backrests forwards, the front seats automatically motor up and out of your way.
The dashboard is basically a straight lift from the saloon - so no problems there. If anything, with its pillar-less windows and sculpted seats, the E Coupe is an even nicer place in which to pass time than the saloon or estate.
But is it better to drive?
Well, for starters it’s not especially fast. ‘Effortless’ is probably a more appropriate way to describe the E400’s powertrain. Or ‘adequate’.
It completes 0-62mph in 5.3secs and it’s pegged at 155mph, with 328bhp and 354lb ft from its turbocharged V6, which is as quiet and refined as you’d like. It even sounds good, if a bit distant. It’s the same engine you get in a C43, E43 and GLC 43, minus the AMG calibration that gives it more power.
Drive is pushed to all four wheels through Mercedes’ familiar nine-speed automatic transmission, which is great 98 per cent of the time. The other two per cent it’s a bit clunky, occasionally offering up a noticeable thump as it swaps cogs. Usually after coasting into a clear roundabout, then getting on the gas again after spying your exit.
Stick it into Sport or Sport+ and things get a bit more purposeful, but for the most part this is a loping GT car that’s at its happiest in Comfort mode.
You can drive it fast if you really want to, and if you do it won’t fall to pieces – the steering’s pretty quick, AWD means you can carry decent speed, and it doesn’t heave about on its air suspension (standard on the E400) – but you can tell it would rather just be wafting along in ninth. Yeah, ‘ninth’ sounds odd, doesn’t it?
Not really. It attracts attention, weirdly, and everyone that asked us about it thought it was over £100k. In other words, they all thought it was an S-Class Coupe. Those start at about £101K in the UK, whereas a boggo E220d Coupe is £40,135.
The E400 starts at a touch over £50,000, and the car we tested was specced to £62K. Bit of a bargain, we reckon. The looks still irk a bit - it’s not as good-looking as it could be, mostly because of the split in the rear-window. Get the tinted glass and after a while you’ll barely notice it, though.
This engine even makes some sense. Anything with four cylinders seems a bit incongruous in a car like this. Ultimately, our money would probably go on the forthcoming six-cylinder diesel, which will hopefully still deliver the effortlessness the E-Class Coupe demands, but more frugally than the petrol. Not having to fill up so often it a bit of a luxury, as Bentley argues of the Bentayga diesel.