Texarkana Gazette - - AUTO SUNDAY - By Larry Printz

I was sur­prised but not shocked ear­lier this week to see that new wave rock star Deb­bie Harry, 72, had strut­ted her stuff at a Lon­don fashion show. Af­ter all, van­ity dic­tates we main­tain an il­lu­sion of youth even as it slowly slips away.

Ag­ing is very much like sum­mer's fade into fall. An 80-de­gree Septem­ber day still feels warm, but the cool that comes overnight re­minds us of the months to come. And later, when the leaves put on their fi­nal Tech­ni­color dis­play, one yearns to keep the melan­choly at bay by try­ing to re­cap­ture the care­free na­ture of sum­mer. Or, if you're Harry, by mod­el­ing on run­ways de­spite be­ing a se­nior cit­i­zen.

So, if you're feel­ing a bit glum as sum­mer turns to fall, or if the can­dles on your birth­day cake are so nu­mer­ous they're threat­en­ing to melt the ic­ing, maybe it's time to buy a new car. Let me sug­gest the smile-in­duc­ing all-new 2018 MercedesBenz E400 Coupe.

There are cheaper ways to lift your spir­its but few will be as sat­is­fy­ing.

The new E-Class Coupe uses the same ve­hi­cle ar­chi­tec­ture as its sedan sib­ling, some­thing that wasn't true of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, which ac­tu­ally used the C-Class plat­form. As a re­sult, this year's model is 4.8 inches longer, 2.9 inches wider and 1.5 inches taller, im­part­ing the car with a pres­ence it pre­vi­ously lacked. That's good, be­cause true lux­ury cars are never com­pact.

Then again, some of the pres­ence is due its el­e­gant styling. While the coupe's arc­ing green­house will look fa­mil­iar, the rest of the wardrobe has thank­fully lost the chis­eled char­ac­ter of ear­lier it­er­a­tions for a softer sleek­ness that speaks of its sport­ing grand tour­ing in­ten­tions. The only dis-

ap­point­ment is the rear quar­ter win­dow, a holdover from the pre­vi­ous ver­sion and a de­sign com­pro­mise that ru­ins the pu­rity of this car's form.

For the time be­ing, the E400, start­ing at $58,900, comes with a choice of rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive for an ad­di­tional $2,500. Both mod­els are pow­ered by a twin-tur­bocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that gen­er­ates 329 horse­power and 354 pound-feet of torque through a nine-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. That's enough stim­uli to propel the E400 to 60 mph in 5.5 sec­onds in base form, or 5.2 sec­onds when all four wheels are em­ployed.

That's more than enough to get you in trou­ble with law en­force­ment.

Yet it can be driven with pre­ci­sion and com­fort, an es­sen­tial trait of any great Mercedes-Benz. The coupe's re­flexes prove in­cred­i­bly adept and re­spon­sive, es­pe­cially when the avail­able air sus­pen­sion is put in use. The mix­ture of bump ab­sorp­tion and well-con­trolled body mo­tions make this op­tion well worth or­der­ing.

Of course, you're buy­ing this car as an ex­trav­a­gance, so it's not sur­pris­ing there are some truly daz­zling in­te­rior trim choices. Those set the stage for the 12.3-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen and op­tional dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter, which, when paired, look like one solid flat screen. And the car pos­sesses the world's most note­wor­thy air vents—they re­sem­ble tur­bine en­gines.

But per­haps the big­gest rev­e­la­tion in­side the E400 is the rear seat. It's hab­it­able by adults, a rar­ity among lux­ury coupes. While some de­cry that rear seat legroom has no place in a coupe, it's no doubt help­ful in com­fort­ably trans­port­ing fam­ily and friends. Sure, you could so the same in the E-Class Sedan, but the E400 Coupe is bet­ter-look­ing and makes a state­ment to a world that takes it­self too se­ri­ously.

Just ask Deb­bie Harry how that feels.

Base prices: $58,900-$61,400 En­gine: 3.0-liter twin-tur­bocharged V-6

Horse­power: 329

Torque: 354 pound-feet

EPA fuel econ­omy (city/ high­way): 20/26

Wheel­base: 113.1 inches Length: 190 inches

Cargo ca­pac­ity: Not dis­closed

Curb weight: Not dis­closed NHTSA rat­ing: Not rated


Larry Printz is an au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ist based in South Florida. Read­ers may send him email at TheDriv­ingPrintz@gmail.com.

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