The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet come as redesigned models in the wake of the 2014 E-Class sedan. Despite sharing a bigger grille, with a large 3-pointed star the dominant feature, LED-rich headlights (now single units rather than the outgoing model’s double units) and maw-like air intakes bookending a front air splitter, the amount of shared sheet metal between the sedan and its 2-door counterparts is negligible.
These cars also have a far more rakish angle to their windshields. As much as the sedan is sensible, the coupe and cabrio are showy. It’s a pretty enjoyable show, too.
Both body styles have two models: the E550 and the E350. The 550 deploys a twin-turbo, 4.6-liter V8 to send 402 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. The sprint from standstill to 60 miles per hour is 4.9 seconds.
The 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 hp and 273 lb-ft, using the same transmission as its more powerful sibling. It powers the car from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds.
However, don’t think the less impressive numbers of the E350 mean it’s less of a car. For all the E550’s amazing ability to gather speed, the E350 certainly has all the thrust most people would ever need. And the E350 steals some thunder in the handling. Having two fewer cylinders up front results in a little less weight — just enough to make the nose feel a touch more willing to transition from one corner to the next and give the steering a touch more precision.
Although you may think such agility would lead to a bone-jarring ride, a comfort/sport switch brings two settings to the suspension. Comfort mode is exactly what it should be but never approaches sloppiness.
Touching on the practical may seem beside the point with these cars, but each has sufficient rear legroom for an adult of average height — provided there’s an average-sized adult sitting in front. The only time dignity may be at risk is when trying to access or exit the coupe’s rear quarters. Ditto for when the cabrio’s roof is in place.
The multi-layered fabric cabrio roof does a great job of insulating occupants from tire and wind noises. Mercedes-Benz calls it the “quietest cabriolet in its class,” and there’s no reason to disagree.
Body-specific equipment options also add interest. AIRCAP is a kind of front wing that comes out of the top of the windshield and deflects air over the car. And AIRSCARF (seen on other soft-top models from M-B) sends warm air to the neck from vents set into the car’s seats. Even on crisp, clear, cold days, the roof can come down — a push-button operation that takes about 25 seconds and can be executed at speeds of up to 25 mph. An additional wind deflector between the two rear seats also makes the open cabin remarkably free of turbulence. Conversations may be carried out at freeway speeds using everyday voice levels.