|Positives: Buttery smooth inline-six engine, excellent power delivery, subtlely sophisticated exterior styling, beautifully executed technology.|
|Negatives: Horrible steering column-mounted gearshift, some cheap interior bits, styling could be more dramatic.|
|Bottom Line: Swift and luxurious, the E450 4MATIC Coupe is well-executed in almost every way. It's just too bad the exterior styling doesn't match the drama of the price, and the technology is a bit overwrought. Its strength lies in its positively wonderful powertrain.|
The new engine is a marvel of smoothness and power. We also love the way it rides over just about any surface. Our only issues are the overly light steering, which could use more effort, and the annoying lane keeping assist that tries way too hard to keep you exactly in the center.
Ride Quality: The ride is just the right balance of sport and comfort. It doesn't feel disconnected from the road, but it's also amply cushy when it needs to be. The Air Body Control Air Suspension is marvelous.
Acceleration: The inline-six engine pulls really hard. It's never jarring, but you can feel its power at virtually all points in the powerband. It'll get to 60 mph in a little over four seconds, which is pretty quick. Transmission shifts are responsive, as well.
Braking: Braking is very good, and pedal feel is, as well. We had no trouble bringing the 4,200-lb E450 Coupe to a stop.
Steering: The steering is on center and precise, but it is on the light side.
Handling: The E450 Coupe manages body roll very well. Otherwise, the car corners fairly flat and there's only minimal understeer.
Mercedes' in-car tech really does look incredible. The screens, the buttons, the layout... it's all very elegant. It's just too bad it's not easier to use. Controls could be much improved to favor function over form. Everyone who rides in your car will love looking at it, but they'll hate watching you try to use it.
Infotainment System: The huge twin 10.25" screens are glorious to behold. It's too bad the operation is less than excellent. The touchpad is finicky, and the swiping control needs work.
Controls: This is what undid the score below a 9. The gearshift on the steering column made us shift to neutral more than a couple of times when we mistook it for a wiper stalk. The haptic feedback steering wheel controls are hard to decipher and use. Merc needs to take a page from the Genesis playbook in this department.
For all its elegance, the E450 Coupe could be a bit more dramatic with its styling. The whole E-Class lineup is on the conservative side. In some ways, that's very good, but for this kind of coin it should be more noticeable. At least the optional Night Package adds some nice dark bits to the exterior.
Front: Most of the car is handsome but not distinct. The front fascia really lacks any major styling focus, even though the large grille and headlights are tastefully done. We would liked to have seen a more aggressively creased hood, as well, to match the character of the sweet engine.
Rear: This is the best view of the E450 Coupe thanks to its S-Class Coupe-like taillights and integrated trunk spoiler.
Profile: The side view needs something because it's a bit too vanilla for our tastes. There are no strong creases or contours to draw the eye. Even the wheels are a bit boring.
Cabin: The interior is rife with beautiful styling. The round HVAC vents are stunning, the rubber nubbed sport pedals look convincing, and the matte wood trim is beautiful to behold.
It makes for a convincing grand touring coupe with its large front row and cosseting seats. The excellent view out the front and sides also aid in the comfort level.
Front Seats: The leather seats are soft and supportive with great bolstering and adjustability.
Rear Seats: Two passengers will be comfortable for shorter trips, especially if taller occupants are in front. There's no disclosed legroom dimension. At least the outboard seats are nicely contoured. The sloping roofline does compromise a bit of headroom (about 1.5 inches less than the sedan).
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The E450 is very quiet and well built. At highway speeds, it was hushed and very well dampened.
Visibility: The C-pillar obscures side rear sightlines, as expected, but the front and side views are very good.
Climate: The huge vents move tons of air, and the heated/ventilated seats work wonderfully.
Although the E-Class Coupe has not been tested by the IIHS, it did well with the federal government. It also has a fusillade of safety features, both standard and optional. We expect the E450 Coupe will do very well in additional testing.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: It earned the top score from the feds, a full five stars in crash and rollover tests.
Standard Tech: It came with Attention Assist, Pre-Safe Predictive Occupant Protection System, Crosswind Stabilization, Blind Spot Assist, Surround View System, and the unique Pre-Safe Sound that emits a sound during crashes to cancel out the impact noise and protects your hearing.
Optional Tech: Our tester was outfitted with the $1,700 Driver Assistance Package that came with Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Steering Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Emergency, Stop Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Brake Assist w/Cross-Traffic Function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Pre-Safe Plus (Rear-End Collision Protection), and Route-Based Speed Adaptation.
Luxury coupes aren't exactly known for cargo and storage space, but the E450 Coupe manages to do decently in both areas. It's more about style that practicality, but for daily usability it's pretty good.
Storage Space: The small armrest and door pockets are decent, but we do love the large binnacle in the center console that has a retractable door to keep items out of sight.
Cargo Room: 10 cubes in the back gives up 3 cubic feet to the E-Class sedan, but you can hold a golf bag or several bags of groceries.
We were able to extract less than the EPA estimates for combined driving, but we drove it in Dynamic mode for the majority of the the time. We expect it should be able to attain its numbers under more conservative driving.
Observed: 17.6 mpg.
Distance Driven: 29 miles.
The awesome Burmester Surround Sound System comes standard on the E450 Coupe. It's one of the better systems we've experienced, and its beautiful door speaker covers are matched by its superb sound. There was no distortion, and music came through full and rich.