Mercedes-Benz's E400 Coupé receives a powerful injection
Could there be anything classier than a Mercedes-Benz coupé? A traditional mainstay of the luxury market, the Mercedes coupé is an evergreen classic. Hewn from a block of solid status, mined in the German industrial heartland, and then chiselled, sculpted, bolted and stitched into a perennial all-rounder, these cars have been the default mode of transport for generations of the well-informed and blissfully ignorant alike.
The current E-Class Coupé was launched in 2009, nipped and tucked in 2012 and has now been given a new lease of life with a chunky V6 engine. The result is the flagship E400, with 'AMG Line' styling lending an aggressive edge to lines that flow cohesively and seductively across the two-door body shape.
The family resemblance to the more sober saloon model is there, of course, but there's a more pronounced curve on the rear wheel arch and an especially pleasing rear three-quarter view that compresses the car's overall size (it's not small) and gives it a wieldy, svelte stance.
Refinement is first class. The angry bark that issues from the exhaust when starting from cold is slightly unnecessary - this coupé's core market are not the type to wake the neighbours. The dashboard is a paragon of ergonomic efficiency, featuring systems that have been honed to perfection over decades of refinement.
Mercedes' COMAND entertainment and navigation system, Active Parking and cluster of dedicated safety systems really do work seamlessly and intuitively. Of particular significance is the new Active Light System, LED headlights that not only dip automatically but also reconfigure their beams to 'block out' surrounding traffic, adjusting the shape on the fly.
A dedicated 'Sport' mode makes the most of the V6 but lets you drift around in a more docile fashion at all other times. After all, gentle cruising is what the classic Mercedes coupé is all about, safe in the knowledge that performance is there, cloaked in style, comfort and convenience.