The Mercedes-Benz E450 Coupe Electrifies Your Weekends
Updated appearance and added mild-hybrid power make this Benz coupe damn good.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class got a whole slate of revisions for 2021, including refreshed looks, updated tech, and the addition of the EQ Boost mild hybrid setup found in the AMG lineup. As a pillarless coupe, the E-Class looks great, and catches a few second looks, but in a world of crossovers everywhere, this coupe doesn't get enough love.
While a more tame setup than the AMG E 63 S sedan I tested and loved recently, the E450 coupe gets a reasonable amount of power and a big list of features to spoil its driver. To see how it measured up, I gave it a good test around Austin.
The Good Specs
Mercedes is making good use of its popular 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, but with the new E450, the powerplant gets the added benefit of electrified boost in the form of the EQ Boost system. With 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque from the base engine, the 48-volt mild hybrid setup adds a good shove of electrified power, while eliminating all the accessory belts under the hood and smoothing out the stop/start sensation.
Through a nine-speed automatic and optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, the E450 coupe sprints from 0-60 MPH in 4.9 seconds, and has an electronically-limited top speed of 130 MPH. EPA fuel economy estimates are 23/30/25 (city/highway/combined), paired with a 17.4-gallon tank, giving the E450 coupe great range for longer treks.
As a usable mid-sized coupe, the Mercedes-Benz E450 is in a niche segment, as it's bigger than the C-Class that competes with the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5, but doesn't have any direct competition. Base price for the 2021 E450 4MATIC Coupe starts at $67,450, and with a big stack of options to up the luxury inside and give it sportier styling--thanks to the AMG-line--outside, this designo Patagonia Red tester racked up an MSRP of $85,849 after destination.
Spelled it out.
A Refined Daily Driver
Mercedes models always offer a nice balance of luxury and sportiness, and the 2021 E-Class has no trouble upholding that reputation. The cabin received noticeable updates this year, and now boasts cooler materials. Two 12.3-inch screens serve up the new customizable instrument cluster and MBUX infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You're also treated to wireless mobile device charging just ahead of the cupholders. The new E-Class steering wheel now utilizes haptic feedback controls rather than buttons.
Sliding into the sporty adaptive seats, you're supported nicely with a great cool factor. The two-tone white and black leather trim is great, but wearing blue jeans might compromise the white seat centers over time. Buzzing around town, the E450 coupe is splendid. The turbocharged straight-six delivers smooth power, while not being too punchy, and the EQ Boost system not only provides a nice torque-fill in the middle of the rev range, but its function within the start/stop system makes things seamless when you accelerate away from a stoplight. I also love how the electric coasting feature allows you to hum along silently at highway speeds while conserving fuel.
If you get in a playful mood, the E450 is nimble and composed, and 362 base horsepower is plenty. Especially when the electric boost hits. Optional air suspension keeps the car nicely in check while providing just enough response, and makes covering highway miles buttery. Electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion steering is a bit lighter than I love in normal driving conditions, but my tester had the optional drive select system that lets you tune things to your liking, so I tightened things up appropriately.
Not Quite A Performance Grand Tourer, But That's Fine
When you want to escape for a weekend drive on a twisty road, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Coupe is sporty enough for most drivers. The inline-six has great torque across the rev range, and the EQ Boost kicks in a nice chunk of torque at nearly any RPM. If you don't want to drop a ton of cash on the super fast AMG E 63 S sedan or wagon, you'll want to tick a few option boxes to highten the experience and appearance of your E450.
Set up your individual dynamic mode in the sportiest settings, and you'll be rewarded with sharper handling, more potent throttle response, while not having a suspension rattle you to death. I definitely suggest opting for some summer performance tires, as the Pirelli P7 all-season rubber wrapped around 19-inch AMG wheels on my tester aren't so great for enthusiast drivers. 14.2-inch brakes both front and rear provide great pedal feel, and are more than up to the task of slowing down the 4,300-pound coupe.
The E450 coupe is confident around the bends, even if its figures don't stand out on paper. You may not surge from corner to corner with supercar speed, but the E-Class is still fun to toss around. All-wheel-drive provides a hint more stability up front, which isn't a terrible thing when you want to dance around a winding road. I'd consider the E450 coupe as more of a momentum car, which isn't a bad thing in this segment.
The Truly Good Bits
Mercedes happens to have one of my favorite interior design languages at present, and the E-Class is sporty but not overly done inside. Ambient cabin lighting and metallic trim around the belt line and climate control vents add a space age look. I appreciate all the options to make things more comfortable inside the E450 coupe. The airscarf heating option is fantastic on cooler days, and are great when you want to cruise with the windows down. Multicontour massaging seats are a nice option to spring for too.
As a smart-sized coupe, the 2021 E-Class is great. The revised headlights are met with a sharper fascia, and the lines of the aluminum body flow wonderfully. The total package is great. I love a pillarless coupe, and appreciate that Mercedes continues to offer this feature with the E450, giving you the sense of a more spacious cabin with a massive panoramic sunroof. Rear seat space is actually usable for adults, and getting in and out of the back is easy, thanks to front seats that move forward substantially.
Not So Wonderful Parts
As a preproduction test car, I'll cut Mercedes some slack, but my tester's front badge was crooked. Makes for bad photos of a manufacturer with a tagline "The Best or Nothing." The optional black piano lacquer flowing lines option seemed cool when I got the spec sheet, but I didn't end up loving the pinstripes that wrapped around the interior belt line trim. I'd prefer the more fitting black wood or optional carbon fiber instead, as these stripes just didn't look sorted and tidy like I'd expect in a Mercedes.
A new steering wheel design was welcome in the E450 Coupe, but the update incorporates haptic panels rather than physical buttons, and using them takes some sensitivity adjustment on your part. You'll also easily tap them by accident if you don't keep your hands perfectly in place on the wheel. Having to adjust the volume by smoothly sliding my thumb didn't feel natural, and I didn't love how the panels needed the perfectly light swipe to control the screens from the steering wheel. These are tiny gripes though.
Still A Good Luxury Coupe
As a total package, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 Coupe is a good car. At just under $70,000 to start, and inching toward $85,000 with a bunch of options, you're not pricing yourself too far under the more performance-focused AMG E53 that adds another 60 horsepower, has sharper handling, and gets a hint more sporty style outside.
For my money, I'd spend a little more to get the proper AMG upgrade, but for those who aren't motivated by performance will be more than satisfied to put the E450 coupe in their garage. The looks are great, the interior is cool and refined, and the performance is up to snuff.