The Mayans (or at least their interpreters) were wrong, the holidays are over, the new year is upon us, and the 2013 Detroit Auto Show is just around the corner. Accordingly, Mercedes-Benz has some more of the E Class range to bring us, as a sort of belated holiday gift: the 2014 E Class Coupe and Cabriolet.
Joining the 2014 E Class Sedan and Wagon, previewed nearly a month ago, the two-door and drop-top versions of the E Class wear similar clothes and offer similar features and equipment. Though we get this information at the start of 2013 and we'll see the cars in the metal in less than two weeks in Detroit, the 2014 E Class Coupe and Cabriolet won't be on sale until the summer of 2013.
When they do arrive on dealer lots, under their hoods you'll find a choice between the E350 models, sporting a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated for 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque and the E550s, with a 402-horsepower, 443-pound-foot, 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8. Rear-wheel drive is standard for both Coupe and Cabriolet, but the E350 Coupe also offers all-wheel drive as an option. All models come with a seven-speed automatic transmission with the all-caps (as is Mercedes wont) DIRECT SELECT console-mounted shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Mercedes-Benz claims the latest evolution of its seven-speed automatic improves efficiency and ease of maintenance, though it doesn't exactly explain how or why. One thing drivers will notice, however, is the short-term "M" mode, which allows you to command an upshift of downshift on the fly, with the transmission automatically switching back to automatic mode after a short period--no having to manually switch between modes.
At the corners, the 2014 E Class Coupe and Cabriolet come with standard Agility Control suspension with selective damping, adapting to the road surface to improve the ride-handling balance. An Agility Control sports suspension is also available, with a bit tauter tune for those with a taste for crisper responses. The Advanced Agility package takes it a step further, with electronic damping control and sportier accelerator and transmission maps.
Electromechanical steering is also standard, as with the 2014 E Class Sedan and Wagon. The system is speed-sensitive in its assistance and variable in ratio throughout the range. Mercedes claims this results in more direct steering response and greater comfort. At the same time, it saves a few percentage points in fuel efficiency, while enabling the available Active Parking Assist feature.
Inside the 2014 E Class Coupe and Cabriolet, you'll find updated premium appointments, including a 7-inch high-res display for the COMAND infotainment system. The COMAND system is standard, and includes all the usual radio features, plus an in-dash DVD/CD player, memory card slot, auxiliary input, and Bluetooth hands-free calling.
Mercedes mbrace2 system is also standard in the Coupe and Cabriolet, offering a connected driving experience with apps like Facebook, Yelp, Google Local Search and more through the Mercedes-Benz Apps system.
On the safety tech front, Mercedes-Benz lives up to its marketing, offering Collision Prevention Assist and Attention Assist as standard equipment, and optional extras like Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, Pre-Safe Plus, Active Lane Keeping Assist, BAS Plus with Intersection Assist, Active Parking Assist, and a 360-degree camera system.
Differentiating the Coupe and Cabriolet is the obvious retractable top in the Cabrio, which also offers the optional AIRSCARF system, piping neck-level heating to the front-seat occupants for more comfortable cool-weather driving. The AIRCAP system from the previous E Cabriolet also carries forward, now deploying from the windshield frame at speeds over 25 mph to divert air over the cabin and reduce turbulence.
On top of all these features, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class Coupe and Cabriolet benefit from redesigned interiors and tweaked exteriors, offering refinements to the already proven look and feel of each.
For more details, stay tuned a week and a half from now, when we'll bring you live photos and video of the new 2014 E Class models straight from the floor of the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
(c) 2013, High Gear Media.