First ride: Mercedes E-Class Coupe prototype

First ride: Mercedes E-Class Coupe prototype
First ride: Mercedes E-Class Coupe prototype

We rate 2017 Mercedes E400 Coupe from the passenger seat

We’ve been lucky enough to be taken for an exclusive passenger ride in the all-new Mercedes E-Class Coupe prototype – a model that won’t even be publically shown until January’s Detroit Motor Show. Here’s what we thought of the brand new E400 over Austrian roads.

We immediately discovered that the two-door newcomer is a far more convincing prospect than the current and admittedly somewhat disappointing generation. That’s largely down to the highly refined yet very potent 328bhp twin-turbo petrol V6 engine, which in this guise is paired with a smooth-shifting nine-speed auto box and optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive. It’s supremely torquey and instantly, effortlessly responsive, delivering its 354lb/ft from a mere 1200rpm.

Our driver, the E-Class Coupe’s chief engineer, hinted at a 0-62mph time of around five seconds – and we were as easily convinced at this as we were by his assertions that the Mercedes’ handling has been much improved, too. This was apparently in direct response to customer demands that the traditionally rather stately E-Class be sharpened up. Of course, we won’t know for sure until we climb behind the wheel ourselves in the New Year, but we were struck by the E400’s more agile and better-poised feel and grip from the 18-inch wheels. The bite out of slow corners was especially crisp.

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We were even more impressed by the E-Class’s ride. Despite the Coupe sitting 15mm lower than the saloon, it handled even the nastier road surfaces we tackled with aplomb, aided by our prototype’s optional air-suspension. A regular system and a sport set-up with adaptive dampers will also be offered.

In the cabin, isolation from engine, wind and road noise was as impressive as we’d hoped it would be, at all speeds, while two adults will easily fit in the back seats.

We have high hopes that the new E-Class Coupe will find favour with many more buyers than its predecessor; roll on 2017, when we will find out for sure.

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