2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Coupe Review
A stylish, but confined luxury cruiser
Mercedes-Benz full-size coupes have long been lustrous status symbols; a way to declare wealth to the world. For 2010, Mercedes-Benz wanted to cash in on the panache created by these large two-door luxury barges with the mid-size E-Class Coupe. As good as the car was, it didn’t quite have the visual flair that commands respect like its pricier brothers.
|1. A 3.5L direct injection V6 makes 302 hp and 273 lb-ft.
2. The only transmission available is a seven-speed automatic unit.
3. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, while our testing returned 21 mpg.
4. Pricing starts at $53,125. Our test vehicle rang in at $64,770.
SLEEKER AND MORE MENACING
For 2014, Mercedes-Benz hopes to have addressed this issue with a mid-cycle refresh that sees the E-Class coupe wearing reworked styling. For the first time since 1995, there no longer are four individual headlight housings. Each side of the E-Class now has a single pane covering the headlight cluster, but inside the "four-eye" look is retained thanks to creative use of LED strips sub-dividing the stock static LED headlights or, as found on our test vehicle, the fully adaptable LED units.
Between these lights is a pointier V-shape nose dominated by a massive three-prong logo on the grille to ensure all passersby know that this is, indeed, a Mercedes-Benz. More LEDs can be found in the tail lamps that wrap around from large flared out rear haunches. The E-Class Coupe retains a sleek, classic low-slung profile that looks great, but has a major drawback: headroom.
NO ROOM FOR HEADROOM
Front seat headroom is only 36.8 inches high, which is tight. For reference, that’s less headroom than a Corvette, Scion FR-S and even the Mazda Miata. At just over six feet tall, I found my cranium brushing against the headliner even with the seat reclined past personal comfort. In the rear, head space shrinks by another inch, but does offer decent-for-a-coupe 32.6 inches of rear legroom. So long legged, short-torso-having passengers should have no issues fitting back there.
Other than the skull crushing roofline, the front seat is very comfortable and highly customizable thanks to adjustable side bolsters and cushion length. The interior is the typical Mercedes-Benz setup with all functions controlled through the COMAND user interface. Our test vehicle was finished with “Dark Ash Wood” trim that looked great and fit the cars elegant nature.
To give the E 350 Coupe a ride worthy of the ginormous three-pointed star on the front, Mercedes outfitted the car with the brand’s “agility control suspension with strokedependent damping system.” We aren’t sure what all that means either, but in the real world it provides a more compliant than expected ride for a coupe. Yes this car is still stiffer sprung than the E-Class sedan, but only larger road imperfections will be transmitted into the cabin.
One odd issue we had with E 350 had to do with the parking brake. A couple of times after starting up the car, we would put it in drive and be presented with a warning on the dashboard stating we needed to disengage the parking brake before driving. The trouble was, we never depressed the mechanical foot brake, so there was no way the parking brake was on. In all instances, the warning did disappear after a few moments.
Sightlines in this Mercedes are great for a coupe thanks to a large rear window and a lack of B-pillar between the side windows. The car features electric power steering that feels overly soft at low speeds but stiffens up on the freeway. It never feels sporty though, a constant theme with this car. Despite having cross drilled brake rotors and low coupe profile, the E 350 is always more of a cruiser than a back road bruiser.
SAME OLD ENGINE
Power still comes from a 3.5-liter direct injection V6 that produces 302 hp and 273 lb-ft. Not terrible numbers, but the engine can feel overwhelmed by our all-wheel drive test vehicle’s 4,001-lb curb weight. It is strange to think a V6 that only makes 300 hp is getting to be perceived as under-powered, but that’s the case these days.
Paired to Mercedes 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, the E 350 4MATIC coupe does make the most of its modest power for driving around town while emitting a nice subdued V6 rumble. But, at higher speeds the unfavorable power to weight ratio begins to rear its ugly head and the E 350 feels tepid. Making things worse, the transmission frequently paused between gear changes and delivered jerky, unsophisticated-for-a-Mercedes-Benz shifts. In ECO mode, where efficiency is the name of the game, these issues were even more obvious.
See Also: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Wagon Review
Speaking of fuel savings, the E 350 4MATIC is officially rated at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. That is one mpg better than the 2013 model and during our week with the car we achieved an average of 21 mpg. Not a horrible result for a 4,000-lb vehicle, but with such an emphasis on fuel economy we hoped for better with the 3.5-liter V6.
The 2014 E 350 Coupe begins at a base price of $53,125 after destination charges and our test vehicle came in at $64,770 thanks to additional options like the sport package, premium package, LED light package and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. That is significantly cheaper than the E-Class coupe’s closest competitor, the BMW 640i xDrive coupe. Although the E 350 doesn’t measure up to the 640i in terms of performance, it does have more style and presence which is arguably more important for this class of vehicle, especially at this price point.
But more importantly, Mercedes-Benz has given the E-Class enough charisma now for even the base E 350 to look like something special on the road. This car looks more expensive than it really is and conveys a certain prestige that was missing from the previous coupe. Those wanting a CL 550, but can’t quite afford it, should be happy with the E-Class Coupe.