A revamp of the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet was inevitable once the 2014 E-Class Sedan received its mid-cycle facelift. As a result, both the two-door models wear the four-door’s larger grille, along with headlights that dispense with the earlier “four-eyed” look in favor of two rows of LED on either side. The gaping air intakes on each side of the front license plate also bring a sportier attitude to the handsome new appearance.
Although they’re card-carrying members of the E-Class family, the Coupe and Cabrio have almost no exterior parts in common with the sedan. The styling is sleeker, the windshields more raked, and optional 19" wheels fill their wells with purpose. They also have a shorter wheelbase: 108.7" compared with 113.2”.
For MY14, North American drivers will see the E350 and E550 in both hard- and soft-top form. The former packs a 3.5-liter V6 under its elongated hood, with 302hp and 273 lb-ft, which is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed transmission (the Coupe also comes with optional 4Matic all-wheel drive). The E550 brings a V8 snarl, developing 408hp and 443 lb-ft from 4.6 liters of turbocharged displacement.
Even though the E550 can reach triple-digit speeds in a ridiculously short time, it’s the E350’s output that will meet the demands of most drivers. The smaller engine also results in a lighter front-end, sharpening the steering and giving the nose a crisper turn-in to corners.
Select “Sport” mode for the two-stage adjustable suspension and things become even crisper. And yet “Comfort” never relinquishes body control, it simply soaks up irritating surface imperfections better. Think of them as two complementary flavors of the same dish.
Amidst its power and style, the E-Class is becoming legendary for its inventory of safety equipment. Front-facing stereoscopic cameras and various radar sensors around the car report to a central “brain” that constantly assesses road conditions, driver alertness and behavior of other road users. It’s then able to decide whether to brake a wheel or two, or four, to help you avoid a collision. It will also flash a warning light on the dash or in the side mirrors to alert you to what it perceives as a potential problem.
We reviewed several accident avoidance systems in our earlier E-Class Sedan reviews (EC 6/13 & 7/13), and Mercedes-Benz claims the Cabrio is the safest in its class as a result of the equipment that includes standard Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist and 11 airbags to put it beyond dispute.
If there’s a gripe, it’s that the large camera unit is set behind the rearview mirror and takes up lots of real estate. The rakishly sloped A-pillars already hamper visibility to an extent, and the two together mean you’ll sometimes crane your neck to see pedestrians or traffic lights properly.
However, the E-Class Coupe is a fine machine. There’s even a decent amount of space in the back for passengers. Getting into the rear quarters might present a challenge, but it’s not terrible.
The Cabriolet also seats four and is possibly the most interesting car of the two. The fabric roof has several layers to keep noise and weather out. It can be operated at speeds of up to 25mph and takes about 25sec to operate.
At the top of the windshield is an (optional) retractable flap called Aircap. It deflects wind over the car, not just over the front seats. There’s also a small deflector between the rear seats, which means you can conduct a conversation with the top down at freeway speeds.
The front seats house of one the Cabrio’s most popular options: Airscarf. Hot air blows from the vent in the seat at neck level. With the added comfort of heated lower cushions, the car can easily be driven with the top down even on winter days.
The E550 Coupe will probably tempt hardcore drivers. It’s a great choice and we recommend a test drive. But think for a second: since the decision has already been made to buy a two-door E-Class, why not go all the way and have the fun of the Cabrio? And although the E350’s engine is potent enough, those who don’t mind waiting until next year could get a new 333hp E400 Coupe or Cabriolet, which will replace the E350 versions as a 2015 model.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe
Layout Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive (optional E350 Coupe 4Matic)
Engine 3498cc V6 DOHC 24v, direct injection
Drivetrain seven-speed automatic, shift paddles
Suspension multi-link f&r, Agility Control, electro-mechanical, speed-sensitive steering
Brakes 12.7" discs f, 11.8" r
Wheels & Tires 17x7.5", 235/45 R17
Peak power 302hp at 6500rpm
Peak torque 273 lb-ft at 3500-5250rpm
Top Speed 130mph
Weight 3619 lb
Economy 20/28/23mpg (city/highway/combined)
MSRP from $52120