by Gabe Beita Kiser
For 2019, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe lineup receives two new model designations. While the E53 takes care of the AMG-tuned models, the E450 comes in to replace last year's E400. It's the latter we look at here, and while the headline fact may be more power for 2019, the E450 has a lot more going for it than merely an increase in power outputs. As the sole occupant of the midsize luxury coupe segment, the E-Class Coupe boasts usable levels of practicality and an abundance of style, while in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion the two-door body plays host to the latest and greatest technologies from the German brand. With a nameplate stretching back five generations and nearly 30 years, the E-Class has a penchant for luxury - three years into the current generation, the most recent updates to the Coupe continue the legacy in style.
The Mercedes-Benz E450 Coupe replaces last year's E400 Coupe, and cruises into 2019 with a refined version of the 3.0-liter V6 turbo engine which adds 33 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque to its spec sheet. It also receives some cosmetic updates, the most noticeable of which being a new three-spoke Nappa leather multifunction steering wheel. Adding an extra layer of safety, the Route-Based Speed Adaptation safety system is included within the optional Driver Assistance Package for 2019.
While most brands merely cut back on a pair of doors and slope the roofline when transitioning from sedan to coupe, the E-Class does things a little differently. With wider haunches and a remodelled rear end, the E-Class Coupe looks slender compared to the droopy design employed on the sedan. Both E coupes ride on standard 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and are fitted with a Mercedes chrome diamond-block grille, two chrome exhaust pipes, a pillarless hardtop design, and a tinted panoramic roof. Both variants are kitted with energy-efficient all-LED exterior lighting, featuring Stardust reflector technology and LED daytime running lights..
With bigger dimensions than the C-Class Coupe, the E450 stretches 190 inches in length, 80.9 inches in width, and 56.3 inches in height. Both models are set on a wheelbase of 113.1 inches. Riding low to the ground, the E-Class Coupe has a minimum ground clearance of 3.9 inches. In rear-wheel-drive guise, the E450 weighs in at 4,057 lbs while the 4MATIC has a curb weight of 4,200 lbs - 143 lbs heavier than the entry-level variant and 66 lbs heavier than a comparable E450 sedan.
With no E43 in the line-up, the E450 takes up the mantle of turbocharged V6-powered coupe, equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 developing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels on the standard E450 and to all corners in the AWD E450 4MATIC, with a nine-speed automatic gearbox acting as an intermediary between the engine and drivetrain. Acceleration off-the-line is impressive from the non-AMG V6 engine; power delivery is smooth and conferred without any substantial bouts of turbo-lag. The nine-speed automatic gearbox delivers slick and direct shifts suited to each drive mode, capable of hanging on to a gear when needed or shuffling up through the ratios for the sake of economy. It's a cohesive powertrain that does well to motivate the E Coupe's substantial mass, with a decent amount of mid-range punch a gearbox eager to make the most of the six-pot's potential. It sings a sweet tune, too, and whether pulling off from a standstill or overtaking, the soundtrack matches the more than ample performance.
Although the ride comfort from both E450 Coupes is soft and leisurely, the suspension is compromised when it comes to particularly broken pieces of road, where larger imperfections manage to break through the adaptive suspension's defenses and permeate the cabin with a significant jarring sensation. The coupe otherwise rides pleasantly on well-kept roads and handles road imperfections adequately in terms of daily drivability. The steering is weighted appreciably, with changes in driving mode bringing about lighter of heavier weighting - but all with the same amount of ample, but not exemplary feel. Additionally, the responses are accurate and the wheel itself feels impeccable in hand due to the high-quality Nappa leather trim. The brakes are responsive and deliver adequate stopping power. While the E450 coupe is no hallmark figure in terms of handling, it remains firmly planted to the tarmac and is readily composed around corners and at the limits, but there's always a sensation of wight that can't be escaped.
The rear-wheel-drive E450 Coupe is the more fuel-efficient model of the two available, returning EPA estimates of 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The 4MATIC version does only marginally worse, with estimates of 19/26/22 mpg. In comparison with the new, more powerful but electrically assisted E53, the E450 falls short to the 53's 21/28/23 mpg estimates. Premium unleaded gas is required for optimal performance, and with its 17.4-gallon gas tank topped-up, the rear-wheel-drive Coupe should manage around 400 miles before needing to refuel.
A total of four passengers can be accommodated in the 2019 E-Class Coupe. Seating throughout the cabin is comfortable as the seats are spacious and nicely contoured for ample support. Generous headroom and legroom is also available in the front, with the driver effortlessly able to find an ideal driving position due to an extensively adjustable seat and steering column. Ingress and egress to the rear are somewhat arduous, however, which is relatively standard on two-door models such as this, and once in the back, the rear two seats are best reserved for smaller occupants. Overall visibility is adequate and rear lines of sight are relatively unhindered by the coupe styling.
In coupe guise, the E-Class provides only ten cubic feet of trunk volume which is enough space for a few carry-on cases with smaller items on top. The rear seats are 40/20/40 split-folding and feature an independently folding center section that flips down to fit longer items from the trunk between the two rear passenger seats. The release handles for the back seat are located within the trunk for convenience.
Storage solutions within the cabin comprise moderately sized door side pockets that do fit bottles, a sizeable center armrest console, an average-sized glovebox, and a small center cubby with dual cupholders. Another two cupholders are featured between the two rear seats.
An illuminated entry system, SmartKey with Keyless Start and Go function, and Mercedes me connect Mobile app functions kick off the list of features on board the E450. Additionally, power-adjustable front sport seats with integrated head restraints and memory functionality, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a HomeLink garage door opener are also installed. Both models also feature power-folding side mirrors, a brake-hold feature, and leather upholstery. Building on the features from the rear-wheel-drive variant, the 4MATIC throws in 64-color LED ambient lighting with illuminated vents as well, with the option of a fragrance diffuser for added levels of luxury. As part of the standard safety configuration, both trims are equipped with Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Sound technology, a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers with magic vision control, and advanced tire pressure monitoring. Advanced driver aids that are fitted as standard, include crosswind assist, attention assist, and active brake assist, with the availability to add more by means of additional packages.
Both coupe models are given identical infotainment setups comprising a 12.3-inch high-resolution central display, connected to a standard 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system. The infotainment system is equipped with Mercedes' COMAND cockpit management and data software and can be controlled via either the steering wheel touch control buttons or the central touchpad controller. As standard, the system allows for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, navigation courtesy, voice control, and Bluetooth audio streaming. In keeping up with rivals, the E-Class Coupe also adds an SD card reader, dual USB ports and a hands-free Bluetooth interface to the onboard technology. No-charge online navigation map updates come with a three-year subscription along with live-traffic services provided by TomTom. Sound can further be upgraded with a 23-speaker, 1,450-watt Burmester high-end setup.
Since release, both E450 Coupes have been subject to several recalls and numerous driver complaints, varying in severity. Following on this, the 2019 model year E-Class receives a below-average predicted reliability rating of two-and-a-half out of five from J.D. Power. Mercedes covers all new vehicles with a standard four-year/50,000-mile New-Vehicle Limited Warranty with various extension options.
The NHTSA has not evaluated the E-Class at all for crashworthiness, while the IIHS has only tested the sedan. Mehcnaically similar and boasting the same advanced collision avoidance functions, we expect the E-Class Coupe to receive similar results to the Top Safety Pick + title awarded to the sedan. Standard safety features comprise seven airbags including a driver's knee airbag, a rearview camera, and blind-spot monitoring, while optional features include evasive steering assist, automatic emergency braking, lane change assist, and a surround-view camera system.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe is a relatively appealing car at its price point, offering a highly attractive price-to-performance ratio and adding in equal measures of style and luxury. While it has no direct rivals, it instead fights coupes both larger and smaller, holding its own as a solid value for money proposition against cheaper rivals, while being luxurious enough to lure buyers away from larger luxury coupes. Packed with class-leading technology, the only real technological flaw is the slightly awkward COMAND interface, but it makes up for it with a large display and crisp graphics. A potent V6 engine and refined suspension give the E Coupe the duality of performance and refinement, while the interior is one of the best to be accommodated in. Whether you're looking for a budget S-Class Coupe or a classier C Coupe, the E has you covered on both bases.
Coming into 2019 with a $900 increase in base price, the E450 has an MSRP of $59,800. The 4MATIC version is more costly, with a sticker price of $62,300; by equipping all the available packages, a fully-loaded version of either model can cost $11,890 more. These prices exclude tax, registration, and licensing, as well as Mercedes' delivery and destination charge of $995.
Superior fuel efficiency and value-for-money lead to us recommending the rear-wheel-drive E450 Coupe. Costing $2,500 less than the 4MATIC version, the base model ticks all of the boxes when it comes to refinement, comfort, and style while being dynamically talented as well. The 4MATIC model would only really prove beneficial to those living in colder climates, otherwise, the rear-wheel-drive is identical in every other aspect. We do suggest including the Premium Package to your purchase, however, which equips the E450 with some appealing comfort and convenience features like heated front seats and an electronic trunk closer. It also boosts the infotainment setup with SiriusXM Radio. The Driver Assistance Package will also be beneficial, adding a comprehensive selection of advanced driver assists and active safety features.
With 2019's reshuffle seeing the E53 replace the E43, and the E450 gaining an increase in power, the two coupes are natural in-house rivals. Based on the same architecture, the E53 is not only $10,000 more expensive than the E450, but it also benefits from upgraded mechanicals courtesy of Mercedes-AMG. It boasts a new turbo inline-six with electric augmentation granting it 67 horsepower more than the E450. But it also gets sportier suspension, bigger brakes, and importantly, more weight. The weight offsets much of the dynamic ability, and while it's quicker in a straight line, cornering doesn't see a vast improvement over the base model. However it is more stylish, with AMG embellishments inside and out, and it's more frugal too, meaning the initial outlay will be recovered in fuel savings in the long run, and with better performance. It's that last bit that swings the decision in favor of the AMG. More power, more performance, but cheaper running costs - how can it not win?
The E450 Coupe's smaller brother, the Mercedes-AMG C43, presents as yet another viable luxury coupe alternative. Powered by the same 3.0-liter bi-turbo V6 engine, the C43 generates an additional 23 horsepower, combining it with less weight and an AMG-tuned AWD system for better performance, both from a standstill and when the road starts winding. But in C43 guise the C Coupe rides a bit harshly, nowhere near as smooth as the E450 does. The E, by virtue of being larger, is also more spacious inside, while it lags half a cubic foot behind the C43 in trunk volume. With the E-Class being more expensive and occupying a higher segment it feels more refined, and the build quality and choice of materials feel better as well. It's more thoroughly equipped from a technological standpoint, too, and at only $2,400 more than the C43, it makes the most sense as the superior luxury coupe.