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Driven: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

A new week brings a new Mercedes-Benz. Or, at least, so it seems. Fresh from the launch of the E220d All Terrain and AMG E63 earlier this month, the German luxury giant has added another variant to its showrooms in the E-Class Coupe.

It’s part of the brand’s push to cover off more areas of the market while, at the same time, creating a clearer model structure. It joins the C-Class Coupe and S-Class Coupe in a refined two-door range that better aligns with the brand’s sedan/wagon structure.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe. Photo: Supplied

Somewhat confusingly, the previous generation E-Class Coupe was actually based on the underpinnings of the previous C-Class. While the new model uses the same scalable architecture (dubbed MRA in Mercedes-speak), as both the smaller and larger coupes that bookend it, the E-Class Coupe more closely mirrors the sedan in size and equipment.

While it’s a big change from the predecessor it now shares a lot in common with the new E-Class sedan launched in 2016 – and that’s a good thing because that car was one of the best new models to arrive in local showrooms last year, highlighted by its victory as the Best Luxury Car over £80,000 in Drive’s Car of the Year and finishing as runner-up to the Volkswagen Tiguan as one of four finalists. Mercedes Australia is offering a similar line-up of Coupe variants to the sedan with an entry-level E220d and two petrol models, the E300 and E400 4Matic.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.

That means this new E-Class Coupe is significantly bigger than the old model in every dimension – longer by 123mm, wider by 74mm, taller by 33mm and the wheelbase is 113mm longer – liberating more space within its four-seater cabin. As the names imply, the E220d is powered by a 143kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel and priced from £96,000 (plus on-road costs).

The E300 gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine under its bonnet, good for 180kW and 370Nm. It’s priced from £110,900. And the E400 4Matic packs a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 that produces 245kW and 480Nm.

It is priced from £145,900. All three are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and while the E220d and E300 send power to the rear wheels the E400 get’s Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system. Mercedes had both the E300 and E400 on hand for us to test for the first time in Australia.

With the E220d expected to make up a smaller percentage of sales, we spent most of our drive in the higher specification model. Standard equipment on the E400 includes 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, multibeam LED headlights, genuine leather upholstery, fully digital dashboard, head-up display, heated front seats, panoramic glass sunroof and a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound stereo. It also gets a full suite of safety systems including a surround view parking camera, nine airbags and Mercedes’ Drive Pilot that brings autonomous vehicle functionality.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.

That’s the same level of advanced driving assistance as the E-Class sedan, and driving the E400 Coupe certainly brings a close connection to its four-door sibling.

The ride on the standard Air Body Control air suspension set-up is smooth and comfortable but still offers good body control. However, if you think the Coupe is a sports car think again. It is still a big machine – at 4.8m long after all – and you can feel its size (and sizeable weight) when you start throwing it at some corners.

The steering is nicely weighted but even with the suspension in its sportiest, stiffest settings there is still noticeable body lean as the Benz fights the laws of physics. If what you want is a comfortable coupe to cosset you on long drives then this fits the bill perfectly. Not only is it a pleasant car to drive but the Drive Pilot system offers the kind of assistance that makes it even more convenient, either at cruising speeds or in heavy traffic.

On a well marked freeway, for example, it can safely maintain the speed set on the cruise control and stay inside the lane. It can also change lanes by itself if you just hit the indicator. It is some very clever technology but still requires the driver to remain alert and ready to take control at any moment.

Performance from the turbocharged V6 is good, but not overwhelming. There’s respectable pulling power off the mark but the size of the E400 means it doesn’t launch with the ferocity you expect from its dramatic looks. If you want to overtake don’t expect a sudden burst of acceleration, as the V6 gradually builds boost to get the job done.

The nine-speed automatic is once again well calibrated by the Mercedes team, seamlessly swapping between the ratios without any fuss to keep the engine bubbling in its sweet spot.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.

Inside the E-Class Coupe, it is a similar experience to the sedan. The same huge double digital screen dominates the dashboard, offering up a virtual instrument display on one side and the infotainment details on the other. The only noticeable difference in the cabin is the air-conditioning vents.

Instead of the horizontal bars in the sedan, the round vents have a turbine-like finish that gives the interior a unique Coupe touch. Of course, the other unique element is the back seats, which is where the E-Class really shines. Mercedes claims there is more space in the back of the E-Class Coupe than there is in the S-Class Coupe.

On paper there’s 74mm more legroom as well as more head, shoulder and elbow room. Climbing into the rear behind my own driving position demonstrated that there is indeed plenty of space in the back, even for adults. Sure, you wouldn’t want to sit in the back on a cross-country trip but at 180cm I felt comfortable enough.

Our drive through the open roads north-west of Melbourne showcased the E400 as an incredibly comfortable long-distance cruiser. This is a perfect car to take on that weekend getaway to the country. And the best part is, thanks to its new larger size, you can even take the rest of the family or your friends in the back.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe price and specifications

On sale: Now

Price: From £145,900 plus on-road costs Engine: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol Power: 245kW

Torque: 480Nm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Fuel use: 8.5L/100km

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