Mercedes-Benz E 400 Review – A Pearl in two shells

(Well ok, three if you add in the Cabriolet)

Mercedes-Benz E 400 Review New Zealand

Apparently, there are Saloon people and there are those that have a penchant for the styling of a Coupe, Mercedes-Benz New Zealand figured they’d let me decide what MY preference was by letting me review two E400 models, back to back.

As you are probably already well aware, the award-winning Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the brand’s pinnacle models, offering elegance, performance and often the first of the range to receive their new automotive smarts. The E400 takes in all the raft, and I mean RAFT, of Mercedes luxuries and equipment while adding in 1,000 extra cc’s under the bonnet, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, Burmester surround sound and a Panoramic glass sunroof. But I digress, we’re here to talk shape…

First off the Coupe, it seemed a great place to start. The model I had been given, came in designo Cashmere white magno clothing with two-tone (classic red and black) leather interior furnishing. The paintwork was so very tactile, almost matt like in feel and warm and absorbing to the eye. I guess you can tell I liked it.

The 2 door Coupe styling looks sporty and athletic, so very easy to like as in my mind, so do I. Its 4.83m length holds classic Coupe dimensions having a proportionally long nose and doors with a 1.43m roofline that tapers down towards the rear and a belt-line that rises up from the front wheels. Large gulping air scoops dominate the lower quarters of the nose, while the multi-beam LED headlights and distinctive Mercedes-Benz grille complete the vehicles masculinity.

Under the Coupe’s bonnet, its 3L/V6 cylinder bi-turbo engine delivers up 245kW and 480Nm, it has a 0-100 time of 5.3s and a reported 8.5L/100k efficiency, these are pretty substantial numbers to play with. And the 4MATIC, 9G-TRONIC transmission and Air suspension combination ensure that you get to use all this power to the fullest.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class refinement is ever present on the inside too. The sports seats are firm and ultra supportive, infotainment is exceptional (I’d expect nothing less from Burmester). The leather and wood adorned dash and surrounds feel luxurious and the huge electronic screens that include the various instrument cluster modes are all adjustable and individualised at the touch of a button or via thumb control on the steering wheel.

The seatbelts are ‘handed’ to you electronically (no need to reach around or struggle) and rear passengers gain entry via a quick handle pull that (again electronically) moves the seat back and base well clear. Admittedly I am not the tallest of fellows, but there’s plenty of room back there, with headroom specs boasting 0.92m and large, non-claustrophobic leg-room.

Needless to say, the Coupe really is a great looking car.

Now let’s talk about the Saloon (Sedan to you overseas folk). Mine came in polar white clothing with Saddle Brown AMG Nappa leather furnishing. The paintwork wasn’t as tactile as the Coupe’s but certainly no less striking, and although the Saddle brown interior won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I found it very inviting and quite a change from the normal black.

To me, the 4.92m long, 4-door Saloon shaping was a little more stately, slightly more formal. Less racetrack more boardroom. Don’t think by any means that it’s starchy though, especially when you move into Sports and Sports+ modes. It still has that masculine front and gaping air ducts as seen on the Coupe but has a more apparent crease to its shoulder line and a little less sloping in its 1.47m roofline. The E400 Saloon sits nicely on 20” rims and the 370 litres of boot space blended sweetly into the rear.

It too had a 3L/V6 cylinder bi-turbo engine that delivered 245kW and 480Nm, however, the 0-100 time is 5.2s and the reported efficiency was 8.4L/100k. Yes I know, they are more or less identical.

The slightly larger exterior does translate to the inside though. You do get the sensation of a bit more space, slightly less cocooned so to speak, however, the numbers (Saloon vs Coupe) aren’t massively different. Headroom in the front is but a mere 0.01 of a metre in favour of the Saloon, while legroom is essentially the same. But in the rear, the taller of you would probably favour the Saloon’s extra 0.05m of headspace (oh and getting in under your own volition).

Some would say that reviewing two Mercedes-Benz E400’s back to back is a little self-indulgent, but I say, that although both cars are absolute pearls, they each have their unique personalities and therefore both needed to be thoroughly investigated. I am still a little indecisive about which model I would opt for. My heart still yearns for the sportier, more athletic side of my persona, so there is a lean towards the Coupe, but the practicality of the four-door Saloon is very hard to overlook. Maybe I need to the comparison test again, probably for much longer, oh and probably add in the Cabriolet too, for good measure! What do you think Mercedes-Benz New Zealand? 

More Mercedes-AMG E reviews here

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