2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Cabrio: Motoramic Drives
A handy test can determine whether you’re the target buyer for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe or Cabriolet.
Like their sober sedan cousin, these more fun-loving E-Classes have receiving an unusually thorough “refreshing” for 2014. That’s industry shorthand for a makeover that occurs roughly halfway through a model’s life cycle, as opposed to the stem-to-stern redesign that happens roughly once every five or six years. At January’s Detroit auto show, journalists and janitors alike were struck by the E-Class' dramatized body – especially a black-mesh maw with the kind of gaping, jet-fighter air inlets usually associated with Italian exotics, not a demure Mercedes. Don’t forget the three-pointed star on the grille, roughly the size – and, some suggested, the tastefulness — of Flava Flav's clocks/necklaces.
The flamboyant styling may help the Mercedes lure a few buyers who would otherwise lean toward Audi, BMW, even Cadillac or Infiniti. But these two-door E-Classes, by emphasizing creamy thrust, a soothing ride, creature comforts and safety innovations, aren’t about to alienate their traditional audience. And that’s where the test comes in:
Do you have a stockbroker? More importantly, does he take your calls?
Can you find Laguna Beach, Hilton Head or Greenwich, Conn., on a map? Do you, your family or significant other own property in those areas?
What is your opinion of antique shopping? As necessary as breathing, or more?
Summertime knits, and their proper thickness: Discuss.
Your answers to those questions can determine your fitness for the boutique-friendly side of the E-class lineup.
Tongue removed from cheek, the Coupe and Cabrio are clearly aimed more at couples and empty nesters that have been freed from family duties. Both models trade a smaller back seat for extra style. And the Cabriolet subtracts trunk space to make room for its tight-fitting fabric top.
Those bodies flaunt sleek frameless doors – there’s no roof pillar bisecting front and rear windows — to emphasize the arched roof and muscular profile. Dual strands of LED daytime running lamps spider through LED headlamps, like silvery false eyelashes. Though that front end seems designed to bowl over onlookers, these Benzes also look good from the rear, with widespread flanks and a bright chrome bow that hovers atop a black air diffuser and burnished, trapezoidal exhaust outlets. An optional AMG Sport package, from Mercedes’ in-house high-performance division, boosts visual wattage with 19-inch light alloy wheels and other extras.
Built on the smaller C-Class platform, the Coupe and Cabrio stretch just over 185 inches, nearly seven inches shorter than the sedan. The sedan’s generous 15.9 cubic-foot trunk shrinks to 13.8 in the Cabriolet, which shrivels to a maximum 10.6 cubes when the top is down, leaving just enough for a pair of modest suitcases. Both models will just fit two six-foot polo players in the handsomely contoured rear buckets, but the longer the trip lasts, the more they'll ask for their horses instead.
Drivers and passengers had few complaints on a fast run from Hamburg, Germany to the North Sea island of Sylt, a resort destination for moneyed Germans whose landscape – all soaring dunes, windswept heather and grazing sheep – looks more like Scotland than Deutschland.