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By Jonathan Crouch
The sixth generation Mercedes E-Class Coupe became sleeker and more stylish than ever in this C238-series form, while dialling up the desirability, aiming to offer a slightly larger, more sophisticated and arguably more prestigious approach to Executive coupe motoring than obvious competitors. Launched in 2017, it did so with a more efficient engine for the volume version, plus astonishing technology and comfort that made original buyers question the need for a larger, more expensive full-Luxury segment coupe model.
2dr Coupe [E220d] / 3.0 diesel [E350d] / 2.0 petrol [E200] / 3.0 petrol [E400/E 53 AMG])
The E-Class Coupe. It's the kind of car that Mercedes does very well: a luxury coupe with a prestigious badge that rewards you for a lifetime's endeavour without necessarily needing a lottery win. Here, we're looking at the sixth generation version.
No other brand can replicate this recipe in quite the same way - and no other brand has a car quite like this one. Yes, the same kind of budget would buy you better versions of the BMW 4 Series Coupe or the Audi A5 Coupe from this period, but these cars don't have the GT grandeur of this E-Class. And anyway, they're separately targeted by Mercedes' C-Class Coupe model.
This slightly larger E-Class Coupe has a model history going back half a century. Its original ancestor, the Paul Bracq-designed W114 'Stroke 8' Coupe, was unveiled in 1968 and further model series followed, for a while using 'CLK' branding. The CLK variants were based on relatively compact Mercedes C-Class underpinnings, as was the direct predecessor to this design, the first modern-era E-Class Coupe, launched in 2009. This car though, the 'C238' version introduced in the Spring of 2017, shared its proper executive-sized platform with the tenth generation E-Class saloon - which made all the difference.
It proved to be significantly bigger than the previous model, both inside and out, and got a raft of fresh technology that the old car couldn't have dreamed of providing. Probably the most significant addition was the all-new 2.0-litre four cylinder diesel powerplant that the vast majority of customers for this variant chose. There was plenty else though, that was new to this model line; 4WD, air suspension, all-new infotainment technology, sophisticated safety systems and cutting-edge assistance features that allowed owners to take a step closer to fully autonomous driving. Plus with this C238 design, Mercedes put greater effort into giving this variant a sportier feel than the saloon it was based upon. This C238 model got a light update in 2020, then sold until mid-2023, after which it was replaced by the Mercedes CLE Coupe.
What You Get
For half a century, there's been a mid-range coupe in the Mercedes line-up and this stylish sixth generation E-Class Coupe is likely to remain longer in the memory than most. It was based on an E-Class saloon - which might sound like an obvious thing to say, but isn't. After all, both this model's direct predecessor and the CLK Coupe that preceded that were based on humbler C-Class underpinnings - as in fact, the rear section of this car still was. The front and middle segments though, used the more sophisticated MRA platform developed for the current tenth generation E-Class saloon. Which is why this car was so much longer, wider and higher than before.
The most elegant touch was one we particularly liked, the pillar-less side profile that referenced the Mercedes W114 'Stroke 8' of 1968, the coupe recognised as the originator of this model line. The absence of this central bar together with the frameless window design meant that with all the side windows opened up, you got a wonderful sense of airy freedom that on the move was further enhanced on models fitted with the optional panoramic glass sunroof.
When it's time to take a seat inside, Mercedes' now traditional 'belt butler' hands you your seatbelt over your shoulder on an extending arm, a nice little touch that really sets the tone for this car. Take a look around and you'll find that, as expected, apart from a few extra trimming panels, the basic architecture of the cabin is shared with the W213-era E-Class Saloon, the only really unique difference being more distinctive air vents - there are no fewer than four of them in the centre of the fascia, all with styling that was supposed to echo the look of a turbine engine. The other main cabin talking point is the double-screen instrument panel which was standard on six cylinder models but initially optional on four cylinder variants. It combines a 12.3-inch virtual instrument display with a second centre-dash 'COMMAND Online' monitor of the same size, both screens fitted into a single frame.
Once you're in the back, there are certainly signs of improvement over the previous generation model. The 113mm increase in wheelbase does indeed translate into extra stretching space - 74mm more knee room was added with this C238 model. Plus thanks to 74mm of body width, there was 34mm more space for shoulders. And boot space? Well, you'd expect that this sixth generation model's 123mm of extra body length would have provided for a larger boot. Actually, when you lift the lid - on some models it was fitted with optional power assistance - you find that the reverse is true, there being actually 25-litres less than the capacity of the previous generation model, the total with this C238 design being 425-litres. Should you want to carry longer items, the split-folding rear seat has two larger outer sections and a narrower middle portion that's ideal for pushing through skis or golf clubs.
What You Pay
Prices start at around £22,800 (around £25,750 retail) for a typical E220d coupe on a '17-plate with base 'AMG Line' trim, rising to around £37,800 (around £42,250 retail) for one of the last mid-2023 'AMG Line Premium'-spec cars. For the E300 coupe petrol version, prices start at around £25,350 (around £29,250 retail) for a typical E300 coupe on a '17-plate with base 'AMG Line' trim, rising to around £40,500 (around £46,000 retail) for one of the last mid-2023 'AMG Line Premium'-spec cars. Prices for the Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC coupe start at around £39,100 (around £43,750 retail), which gets you an '18-plate 'Premium'-trimmed model. If you'd prefer to stretch to the facelifted version, a '20-plate 'Premium'-trim E53 Coupe values from around £45,700 (around £52,250 retail), with a late '22-plate model valuing at around £55,100 (around £62,500 retail). Allow around £1,700 more for plusher 'Night Edition' trim. All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. Click here for a free valuation.
What to Look For
Most E-Class Coupe (C238-series) owners in our survey were satisfied, but inevitably, there were some who'd experienced problems. We came across a few owners who'd experienced failed NOx sensors - there are two that are a part of the selective catalytic reduction system. The cause is usually extreme exhaust heat and replacing the sensors isn't cheap. The OM654 2.0-litre diesel engine has exhibited very few problems except for excessive wear of the roller and roller rocker arms. This leads to rough idling and strange noises coming from the air intake system, so keep a look out for that. We also come across issues with brake judder and screeching, so look out for that on your test drive. And we've heard it reported that the body paint is rather thin and sensitive, so scratches and spots are common. Check the paintwork thoroughly.
Some owners have reported failing LED light bulbs that illuminate the floor under the side door mirrors. And if the car you're looking at has air suspension, we understand that the relay for the AIRMATIC system is prone to failure - that relay can get stuck in the off position, meaning that the compressor won't engage and the suspension won't drop the car towards the ground. Otherwise, it's the usual things here; interior trim and electrical issues were the most commonly afflicted things that came up. Check for uneven panel gaps and paint flaws. Inspect the electrics and the air conditioning functionality - it should blow our really chilled air. As usual, insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
(approx based on a 2021 E220d Coupe- Ex Vat) An air filter is around £26. An oil filter is around £13. A fuel filter is around £36. Front brake pads sit in the £42-£84 bracket for a set (for rears it's around £63). Front brake discs cost in the £112-£127 bracket. Rear brake discs can cost in the £146 bracket. A set of wiper blades is around £42.
On the Road
With this sixth generation E-Class Coupe, Mercedes made greater efforts to differentiate the driving experience from that of the Saloon. So the track is wider at the front and the rear than it was in the previous generation model and there's a 15mm lower ride height. Both were changes intended to make this car feel more planted through corners that might also see you noticing the slightly stiffer damping. In addition, the variable ratio steering was sharpened a little in comparison to the set-up used in the Saloon, in an attempt to make it feel more direct. It wasn't quite enough to make this car feel as responsive as pricier versions of slightly smaller coupe models like the BMW 4 Series and the Audi A5: there's more body lean and less steering feel than you'd get in cars of that kind. Still, specced correctly, this E-Class Coupe can still be quite rewarding to drive and through fast, flowing bends, has as fine a chassis balance as you could wish for. And of course for high speed motorway mileage, this car feels peerlessly refined and relaxed.
Under the bonnet, most buyers will choose the 2.0-litre 194bhp four cylinder diesel powerplant that features in the entry-level E220d variant. It's not quite as refined as we'd ideally like, but it's a responsive and efficient unit, capable of 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and 119g/km of CO2 (NEDC figures). 4MATIC 4WD was optional. Hardly anyone chose the petrol-powered four cylinder alternative, the 2.0-litre turbocharged 245bhp E300 model, only offered in standard rear-driven form. There may though, be quite a lot of interest in trading up to one of the V6 versions, both of which were only offered in 4MATIC guise. There were two options at this level, the 258bhp E350d diesel and the 333bhp E400 petrol model. In both cases, there's standard 'AIR BODY CONTROL' air suspension system (which was optional on the four cylinder derivatives). This set-up can be fine-tuned via the various settings of the 'DYNAMIC SELECT' driving modes system that influences throttle response, steering feedback and the reactions of the standard silky-smooth 9G-TRONIC PLUS nine-speed automatic gearbox that all E-Class Coupe models had to have.
The improvements made to this C238-series E-Class Coupe - the more efficient engines, the smarter looks, the extra technology - were certainly welcome but the essence of its appeal actually changed very little. It was launched to fully restore the powerful, luxurious, Grand Touring sports coupe brand values that Mercedes had unwisely compromised with the more cheaply underpinned models that directly preceded the introduction of this car. They didn't feel particularly special in the way that a larger, more luxurious Mercedes coupe always should. With this design, that was put right. It's certainly a package good enough to leave you questioning the need to spend double the amount on a larger S-Class Coupe model from this period.
True, there are rivals you could choose that'd be more dynamically rewarding to drive, but as Mercedes well knows, that kind of thing doesn't tend to be prioritised by many likely buyers. These people will probably attach much greater value to the way that this E-Class Coupe will rack up huge distances in exquisite comfort - and with impressive efficiency.
So, how to sum up? Well, in driving this car and in owning it, you feel another, more elegant level away from owners of the brand's less aspirational C-Class Coupe. And a cut above the sporting two-door models that car competes with, coupes like BMW's 4 Series and Audi's A5. There's a maturity and a class here that these sportier rivals lack. They could never be considered as a wise and cost-efficient alternative to spending considerably more on a Maserati GranTurismo or a BMW 8 Series. This Mercedes could be. And that about sums it up.
You should be able to rest easy that the E-Class Coupe should prove reliable. Mercedes-Benz has worked to improve its reputation in recent years, and its latest raft of models all feel very solidly built from plush materials and now-proven parts.Is Mercedes E-class easy to drive? ›
We got a brief go in an E-Class fitted with the steel coil suspension (four-arm fronts, five-link independent rears) that'll be bolted onto UK cars, and while there was little to trouble it on the motorway or town roads we tried it on, body roll was well controlled and undulations ironed out with ease.Is Mercedes E-Class A reliable car? ›
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a predicted reliability score of 81 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.What is the problem with the Mercedes C238? ›
In August 2023, recall campaign RC3170 was issued for 2021-22 Mercedes-Benz C238 E-Class Coupes. Due to a manufacturing defect, the fuel delivery unit may fail and this could cause the fuel pump to switch off. If this occurred, fuel supply to the engine would be impaired and the vehicle may experience a loss power.Are Mercedes E-class expensive to maintain? ›
Mercedes-Benz maintenance costs are pretty expensive compared to other brands. In one study by YourMechanic.com, it came in second place just behind BMW's maintenance costs. Drivers pay about $908 on average per year to maintain and repair their Mercedes vehicles, according to RepairPal.com.How long do Mercedes E-class engines last? ›
The Mercedes C-Class is considered to have the shortest lifespan of any Mercedes model, usually hovering closer to the 150,000-200,000 mile range. On the other hand, a Mercedes Benz E-Class can have a long lifespan, edging closer and even past the 250,000 mile range.Is Mercedes E class good for long drive? ›
Which is why it was perfect for the long and often heavily trafficked drive to Mahabaleshwar. Also, the massive 66-litre tank meant that you could do the round trip on a single tank with some diesel to spare.Is Mercedes good for long drives? ›
From luxurious comfort to top-notch performance, a Mercedes-Benz vehicle offers an exceptional experience perfect for long journeys. However, before you hit the open road, ensuring that your car is in tip-top shape for a seamless and enjoyable trip is crucial.Is E-Class better than C-class in Mercedes? ›
Generally, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a larger sedan than the 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. If you're looking for the most amount of room for your travels, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will likely be the better choice. With that being said, both options offer plenty of comfort for you and your passengers.What year E-Class is most reliable? ›
The 2012 E-Class tops the U.S. News & World Report “Most Reliable Used Cars Under $20,000” list for a luxury mid-size sedan. One look and it's easy to see why. The standard V6 is nothing to scoff at and the twin-turbocharged V8 has some major kick.
The S-class, SL, and E-Class are specified for 30 years / 400k miles.How many miles can Mercedes go on E? ›
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz E 350 should have more than 530 miles of max range on a single tank of gas. This comes from the estimated mileage numbers of the base E 350, which is expected to return 23 city mpg and 31 highway mpg, which makes for a combined 27mpg.What are the weaknesses of Mercedes-Benz? ›
High production costs: Mercedes-Benz vehicles are known for their high-quality materials, advanced technology, and precision engineering, contributing to increased production costs. These costs can make it challenging for the company to compete on price, especially in markets where affordability is a key factor.What is the problem with the Mercedes electric car? ›
Mercedes EVs Also Have Recalls
After hundreds of thousands of ICE vehicle recalls, Mercedes on June 9 notified dealers of a voluntary recall of 8,281 all-electric vehicles, including its EQE, EQS and EQS SUV models for a malfunction of the electrical drivetrain possibly causing a loss of propulsion.
The best-performing version is the E 220d AMG Line 4MATIC, while the worst is the E 300 petrol. Those numbers are reasonable, though, and the E-Class performs slightly better than the smaller C-Class Coupe in this regard.Is the Mercedes E350 coupe reliable? ›
These Are The Best Mercedes E350 Model Years To Buy Used
The 2008 E350 scored impressively in safety crash tests conducted by IIHS, bagging it an overall "Good" rating. The 2012 model is known for being notably reliable and has bagged a J.D. Power reliability rating of 5/5. It was also a Top Safety Pick by IIHS.
It's not the cheapest luxury coupe in the segment but the two-door E300 is a beautifully made and handsome car that mostly delivers on its promise. Interested in a Mercedes-Benz E300? Peerless cabin layout, quality, and tech.Is E-Class more reliable than C class? ›
Both the Mercedes C-Class and E-Class scored the maximum five-stars in their latest Euro NCAP safety tests, so both will look after you if the worst should happen. As for reliability, there are no horror stories to report with either of these cars, and both have proven to be reliable.