by Deiondre van der Merwe
Having endured for five generations, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range has had ample time to figure out how to be a leader in the market. While the coupe is relatively young in years, it's doubled down on improvements for the time it's been around. The sassy machine has the help of a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 to get its wheels turning, and it does a fine job of it. Power can be driven to the back wheels or all four depending on which trim you choose, and either one delivers exemplary performance. While it has its flaws in terms of lower fuel economy figures and some untoward handling on rougher surfaces, the E450 Coupe simply shines in terms of comfort and opulence from the inside. While it has no direct rivals in the midsize segment, it goes up against pricier offerings like the BMW 8 Series and even the ultra-luxurious Lexus LC500.
The 2020 E-Class is essentially a carryover model from 2019, but adds minor upgrades to keep the coupe in vogue. The most notable additions for this year's model would be the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the Premium Package that are newly standard. The latter adds SiriusXM functionality, a premium Burmester sound system, heated front seats, wireless charging, and blind-spot monitoring. The coupe is as keyless as it's ever been, with keyless entry, push-button start and an electric trunk closer now standard as well. Three new leather upholstery options are now available under the AMG-Line package, and a new metallic shade of Brilliant Blue has been added to the exterior paint options.
See trim levels and configurations:
The E-Class coupe is a fusion of the C-Class and the S-Class coupes, with more exterior resemblance to the C-Class, of course. Instead of going the traditional route by chucking two doors away and slapping a sloped roofline on the sedan version, Mercedes-Benz took the time to give the coupe some extra curves and a new rear end in comparison. Most of the coupe's face is dominated by the classic grille, set off perfectly by a set of full LED headlights. The rear end is complemented by slim, full-LED rear lights and contoured exhaust openings, while the bodies of both trims rest on 18-inch wheels. A panoramic sunroof is standard.
The E-Class Coupe is smaller than the four-door Audi A7, but bigger than the C-Class Coupe. The car measures 190 inches long and has a 113.1-inch wheelbase. It's almost as full as the sedan version, with a width of 80.9 inches, and it stands 56.3 inches from the ground up. When RWD-equipped, the E450 has a curb weight of 4,057 pounds, while the 4Matic E450 sees an increase in this figure to 4,200 lbs, thanks to the weighty all-wheel-drive system.
The same engine from the E-Class sedan drives the E450 coupe: a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 responsible for turning the wheels. As expected from a typically well-oiled Mercedes machine, the powerhouse produces impressive figures of 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Mated to the engine is a nine-speed automatic gearbox expertly navigating gears without a single moment of hesitation. Despite being slightly more powerful than the BMW 840i, the Merc manages a run from 0-60 mph in five seconds, both in RWD-guise and with 4Matic equipped - several tenths off the pace of the Bimmer. Numbers aside, however, the V6 succeeds in delivering swift and steady power, and although nothing in life is perfect, it doesn't have a whole lot of room left for improvement in terms of how it responds and eagerly delivers its power. It also sounds as nice as a V6 can manage. A maximum speed of 130 mph can be reached, but no more as Mercedes-Benz has electronically tamed the beast for the general public.
The E450 coupe does an excellent job of cushioning the posteriors of passengers on a civilized road. Still, it becomes less sure-footed when it has to venture onto rough and uncertain surfaces. This isn't particularly disappointing, as most shoppers who buy an upwards of $60,000 car aren't very likely to live in an area with potholes the size of a small apartment. Stick to the nicer roads, and you're unlikely to experience any jarring on account of the E450, especially with the optional air suspension equipped. While it may not be king of the corners, it manages to stay permanently fixed to the road beneath it and won't step out until you ask it to. Steering is always tricky, but the wheel is adequately weighted, though different drive modes play around with lightness. A solid feel and accuracy are both delivered from the wheel of the car, and the fact that it's clad in premium Nappa leather is an added bonus. Also eager to please, the brakes are responsive and stop the E450 in its tracks when the situation demands it.
Unsurprisingly, the RWD-equipped E450 is the more frugal of the two models, and boasts EPA estimates of 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The 4Matic-equipped E450 is only slightly less efficient and returns EPA estimates of 19/26/22 mpg. These figures are, however, significantly less economical than the BMW 840i's 23/30/25 mpg and the coupe manages to be a little greedier than the E450 4matic sedan. When at full capacity, the 17.4-gallon fuel tank in the RWD-equipped E450 will offer around 400 miles of range, while the 4Matic-equipped version drops this to 383 miles.
The E450 coupe is capable of accommodating four passengers, though only two of them will be able to enjoy real comfort. The front seats are comfortable, supportive, and offer multi-way power-adjustability with lumbar support. They are also clad in leather as standard, and can be equipped with ventilation and massage functionality to further enhance their luxury. The front of the car offers more than enough room, but only tiny adults and chihuahuas in bedazzled Gucci bags will find the rear real estate acceptable for a journey longer than ten minutes. Ingress and egress are easy tasks if you plan on sitting in the front, but getting into the back will demand a yoga class beforehand in order to limber up, with the coupe roofline and limited front seat movement hampering access for all but the most hobbit-sized occupants. Driver visibility is as good as a coupe can manage, thanks to its sloped roofline, but forward sightlines are clear at least.
Coupes aren't known for their practical trunks, and the E450 blends into the crowd in this regard. The ten cubic feet of space offered by the Mercedes can manage a few carry-on cases or around a week's worth of grocery shopping. If you find yourself in a pinch, the rear seats can be folded in a 40/20/40 split to carry larger items, while a hands-free trunk lid enables easy loading of said items.
In-cabin storage is on par for the segment, and the door pockets will manage a water bottle and a set of house keys. The glovebox is decently sized, and a center console can fit a pair of glasses and a wallet. Two cupholders can be found in front, and another two are located in the back.
Customary for Mercedes-Benz products with high asking prices, the E450 comes with a long list of standard indulgences. For starters, a panoramic sunroof is standard for the exterior, and keyless entry grants access to the inside of the car. Push-button start joins the list with a leather-clad multifunction steering wheel and multi-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support and heating. Also included are dual-zone climate control and 64-color ambient lighting and an electronic trunk closer with hands-free access. Traditional safety features include a rearview camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers, while the more modern suite is inclusive of attention assist, crosswind assist, active brake assist and blind-spot monitoring. Additional packages add some extra driver-assist features like lane keep assist and lane change assist, as well as semi-autonomous cruise control.
We still take a moment to appreciate Mercedes' seamless integration of the infotainment screen and digital instrument cluster found in its newer cars. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is newly standard for this year, along with an infotainment screen of the same size. The latter allows for the usual goodies like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as HD Radio, SiriusXM, and Bluetooth streaming. Two USB ports are standard, and the 13-speaker Burmester sound system is perfect for belting out Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams'. A navigation system comes standard, and a head-up display can be added for $1,100. Wireless charging is also mentioned on the standard features list, while the optional 23-speaker Burmester sound system is mindblowing in the small confines of the E Coupe.
For the 2020 model, one recall has been issued for an inaccurate GPS location being sent to emergency services, which could delay first responders. Mercedes-Benz offers a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and the corrosion and drivetrain warranty is standard for the same time period and mileage limit. Roadside assistance is also standard for four years or 50,000 miles.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the E450 Coupe, but both authorities tested the sedan version, with the later agency awarding it a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2019. Given that not much has changed for the coupe structurally, we assume the coupe will perform similarly. Its extensive list of safety features is also enough to quell concerns. Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, driver attention assist, Pre-Safe technology, active brake assist, crosswind assist, and blind-spot monitoring, in addition to a standard airbag package of seven airbags (including a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags). We'd recommend opting for the additional Driver Assistance Package for $2,250 - it adds features inclusive of active and evasive steering assist, lane keep assist, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, congestion emergency braking, and active speed limit assist.
It would be all too easy for the E-Class Coupe to rest on its laurels with no genuine competitors to keep it on its toes. Yet credit must be given to Mercedes-Benz for not sitting back and offering a subpar product. Instead, the E-Class Coupe is packed with standard features and tech, boasts comfortable yet capable driving dynamics, and the potent 3.0-liter bi-turbo V6 is relatively efficient, all things considered. While the rear seats may be cramped and the trunk might be small, these are the price you pay when it comes to purchasing a coupe, prioritizing style over practicality. Many might consider the S-Class Coupe to be the true rival to the BMW 8 Series, but the E450 Coupe is so good that we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it against the entry-level BMW 840i.
The RWD-equipped E450 has an MSRP of $64,350, which means that it's quite a bit more expensive than even the 4Matic-equipped sedan version's MSRP of $61,550. Opting for the E450 4Matic Coupe will hike the price up to $66,850, and this makes it more affordable than the BMW 840i ($87,900) by a substantial margin. A $995 destination fee applies to all E450 models.
Unless you live in a state prone to stormy weather or snow, there's no need to spend extra on buying the E450 4Matic. Instead, we'd spend the money saved on a few key extras. We'd steer clear of the harsher-riding AMG-spec 19-inch alloy wheels, but would instead opt for a set of 18s with the AMG Line exterior styling package and the $1,900 air suspension system. The standard interior is more than plush enough, but we'd be sure to spec the $950 massaging front seats and $1,100 head-up display. Lastly, throw in the $2,250 Driver Assistance Package for its inclusion of semi-autonomous driving, evasive steering assist, and more, and you've got a perfectly-specced E-Class Coupe for $73,050 - still nearly 15 grand short of a BMW 840i's asking price.
While exterior appearances make it clear that these two-doors are related, everything else about them is different. The C-Class employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the E-Class hosts a far more intimidating twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. While the 2.0-liter is underpowered, it ultimately offers better fuel economy. In terms of performance, they are worlds apart, but their price tags are also vastly different. The C-Class shows the price cut, though, and the interior is outdated and a little cut-rate in comparison to the E-Class. The C-Class is also smaller, with even front seat occupants feeling the pinch. These two coupes are likely to appeal to very different markets, and if you're after a relatively affordable daily commuter, the C-Class is for you. If you aren't willing to skimp on luxury and power, the E-Class wins.
While the C-Class Coupe is the E-Class' little brother, the S-Class takes pride of place on the family mantle as a full-on luxury grand tourer that's capable of rivaling the best from Bentley and Aston Martin. It's not so much about the size difference between the E- and S-Class, as both are unlikely to be used for their rear seats or trunk space, but more to do with how they drive. The E-Class is small and nimble, blending sportiness with luxury in an affordable package that will appeal to most buyers. But those in search of excellence will spring for the twin-turbocharged V8 in the S560 with 463 hp on tap, its luxurious cabin, and its sheer presence on the road. Here's the thing, though, at a base MSRP of $130,150, the S-Class Coupe is nearly double the price of the E450 Coupe. To the one-percenter, it's absolutely worth it, but for the rest of us, the E450 is more than good enough.
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