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Auto review: E400 is a stylish coupe cruiser

Charles Fleming, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

Mercedes-Benz makes so many different cars that I pity the buyer who has decided on the brand but not on the model.

The German car company currently offers 27 different vehicles through its U.S. dealerships. That's not counting the different trim lines, the high-performance AMG and Maybach variations, the different drivetrain options for each model or the plug-in hybrids.

From the CLA Coupe and the GLA sport utility vehicle, in the $32,000 range, to the S-Class Coupe and the G-Class SUV, in the $123,000 neighborhood, Benz seems to have something for everyone.

Like its countrymen at BMW, who also offer a staggering array of vehicle choices, Mercedes seems to be saying there's no way the car you want isn't in its lineup -- no matter what that car is.

Priced from $59,895 for the standard model, and $62,395 for the all-wheel-drive 4Matic version, the E400 Coupe sits in the high middle of the Mercedes menagerie in terms of comfort, performance and price.

With two body-hugging bucket seats up front and two sumptuous passenger seats in the rear, matched with generous trunk space, it's a compelling combination of sports car and grand tourer.

I thoroughly enjoyed zipping it around town, on roads both straight and winding.

Part of the pleasure is under the hood. The E400 comes standard with a 3-liter V-6 engine that's turbocharged and mated to a nine-speed transmission.

That engine puts out 329 horsepower and a whopping 354 pound-feet of torque and, in the case of the 4Matic model I was driving, puts that power to all four wheels.

Power is managed by drive modes that start with the anemic but adequate Eco and climb through Comfort, Sport, Sport-plus and Individual.

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