Mercedes-Benz E 350 Coupe 2021 Review (2023)

New mid-series model for Mercedes-Benz E-Class packs in more power, but at a higher price

Going up, and up

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a new mid-range model, the E 350, which starts from $127,100 plus on-road costs in sedan form, rising to $128,200 plus ORCs for the coupe tested on launch here and to $141,300 plus ORCs for the top-shelf convertible.

These prices represent an increase of between $9200 and $10,800 over the previous E 300, which is no longer available in Australia, and while there is no change to the basic equipment list, there’s an important upgrade to the powertrain brought with E 350 that we’ll detail below.

The other continuing models in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range have also risen in price since their launch in October last year (which, at the time, also ushered in higher prices for most variants).

So now we see the entry-level E 200 starting at $98,700 in sedan form – coupe adding $5000 (no cabrio) – and the higher-tier Mercedes-AMG E 53 kicking in at $162,300 for the sedan, with the two-door models adding $2500 (coupe) and $11,100 (cabrio) respectively.

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There’s also the sedan-only E 300e plug-in hybrid (now from $123,500) and, of course, the ballistic E 63 AMG (from $253,900).

Despite sitting $36,600 below the E 53, the new 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Coupe retains a very sporty, athletic demeanour, riding on big 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels as standard and carrying a dynamic exterior design, accentuated by the long bonnet and heavily-angled rear windscreen.

As we saw on the E 300 Coupe at launch last year, the latest facelift has ushered in new-look (and powerful) Multibeam LED headlights and appealing slim LED tail-lights.

Keyless entry and engine start make greeting the car nice and easy, and settling down into the plush leather seats is like relaxing in a luxurious business class seat. You’ve got power adjustability for every conceivable seat direction, and while the front seats are heated, there’s no standard cooling/ventilation.

In front of the driver is a high-quality dashboard with exposed-pore woodgrain trim, dominated by two large 12.3-inch screens that deliver class-leading levels of info and customisation.

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Overall, the cabin is beautifully presented, every material in use is of a superior quality and the design is appealing too, the curved dash almost wrapping around the front occupants.

Multi-coloured LED lights lining the doors and dashboard also create a chic VIP nightclub vibe at night.

Apart from the somewhat cheap-feeling column gear-shifter (mounted to the steering wheel column) and a lack of USB-A ports, there’s not a lot to complain about in the cabin.

Among the new features of the facelifted model is an updated steering wheel with double-decker spokes that carry a variety of major controls – including cruise control, which is no longer activated and adjusted via a separate stalk.

The steering wheel also has new sensors that work with the active lane keeping system, which means you don’t have to yank the tiller as much for it to maintain semi-autonomous steering.

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Benz has a reputation for advanced safety systems, and all the driving aids, including the adaptive cruise control, work seamlessly and effectively.

New Mercedes-Benz vehicles are backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is better than the coverage provided by Audi, BMW and Lexus. Scheduled service intervals are set at every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first.

More of everything

The entire 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe range comes with a smorgasbord of safety and tech features, including an impressive active lane keeping assistant, adaptive cruise control, adaptive brake with hill start assist, plus a stop-and-go traffic assist system.

Simply put, if you’re commuting or freeway cruising a lot, this car will take over most of the monotonous stuff for you, while advanced traction and stability control systems will keep you in your lane during spirited driving.

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Other ‘active’ systems include auto-dipping high beams and auto-swivelling cornering lights, while nine airbags are hidden behind the interior trim around the cabin, ready to protect occupants in the event of a collision.

The car has a speed sign recognition system and the aforementioned 12.3-inch twin-screen set-up delivers an impressive depth of information and entertainment. The latest version of the MBUX operating system that features Mercedes me Connect app functionality has excellent verbal commands too, arguably class-leading.

Compact but refined

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One can imagine a car as big, imposing and expensive as the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 carrying a powerful six-cylinder engine under the bonnet, but today only AMG-badged models in the Australian E-Class range extend beyond a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol powertrain.

There’s a variety of different takes on this turbo-four arrangement, however, with 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain technology in the E 350 now joining a plug-in hybrid arrangement (with the E 300e sedan) and conventional combustion in the entry-level E 200.

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We’ve seen Mercedes-Benz’s EQ-Boost system applied to good effect in a variety of other models and applications, including the six-cylinder turbo in the E 53, and there’s plenty to like here in the new E 350.

It delivers 220kW of power at 6100rpm and 400Nm of torque from 3000-4000rpm, providing a welcome burst of speed in sports mode.

The 0-100km/h sprint is completed in a claimed 5.9 seconds, on its way to a 210km/h top speed, while fuel efficiency on the official combined cycle is rated at 7.7L/100km – less than the 8.0L/100km quoted for the previous lower-output E 300.

Indeed, the E 350’s economy figure is seriously impressive for such a large, luxurious car, and after giving it a proper workout we recorded just over 9L/100km.

Acceleration is brisk and throttle response sharp when you goad the big rear-drive coupe into attack mode, but at the same time it’s a supremely refined powerplant when cruising and navigating the concrete jungle. The engine never feels overstressed, either.

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The nine-speed automatic transmission does a good job at both intense and relaxed velocities too, and while it cannot match the E 53 is terms of sheer pace, there’s enough power on tap here for almost everything except a track day session.

If there was one area that could be improved, we’d say exhaust acoustics would be it. For a ‘350’, this circa-$130K luxury coupe lacks growl.

The right balance

Apart from ultra-light steering that conceals any meaningful feedback through the wheel when you’re spearing your way through smooth, flowing corners, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Coupe is a solid performer.

The chassis has been expertly tuned to the point where the car doesn’t feel as long nor as heavy as it actually is.

Measuring 4835mm long and weighing just under 1.8 tonnes (1780kg), the E 350’s standard adaptive dampers and adjustable air suspension deliver excellent road-holding and keep the body flat through corners. This all conspires to create a satisfying drive experience on the open road.

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In everyday scenarios, in cities, suburbs, on freeways and arterial roads, the car is just as resolved, and despite the firm suspension and sporty tyres that aid enthusiastic driving, it offers impressive ride comfort when you dial back the ‘need for speed’ quotient.

Indeed, the Air Body Control air suspension does a great job of separating the passenger compartment from the road below, whether it’s speed bumps or pot holes.

The only time the E 350 felt a little flummoxed was on a section of pockmarked and seriously dystopian asphalt undergoing road works.

Easy does it

There is an effortlessness to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Coupe that makes it a compelling drive.

If you want to have some fun, you’ll find a capable large sports coupe here that also doubles as a luxurious grand tourer.

We couldn’t say that with the previous E 300.

The improved performance inherent in the E 350 makes a world of difference, and despite the higher price tag, Mercedes-Benz now has a mid-series variant that makes better sense and deserves its position in the E-Class hierarchy.

How much does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Coupe cost?
Price: $128,200 (plus on-road costs)
Available: Now
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol
Output: 220kW/400Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Fuel: 7.7L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 174g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety rating: Five-star (ANCAP 2016)

Related reading:
Mercedes-Benz E 300 Coupe 2020 Review
Mercedes-Benz E 300 Coupe 2020 Video Review
Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe 2021 Review
Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe 2021 Video Review
Upgraded Mercedes-Benz E-Class dumps diesel
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet upgraded
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