2018 MERCEDES E400 IS THE DEBBIE HARRY OF COUPES
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
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
ABOUT THE WRITER
Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. Readers may send him email at TheDrivingPrintz@gmail.com.