As the second-last model of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range, the E-Class coupe fits in alongside the coming convertible model, bringing a lifestyle option to the otherwise more practical sedan and wagon range.
Entirely unique styling compared to the four-door sets the new model apart, though the family resemblance is clear and unlike the previous E-Class coupe the new model isn’t based upon C-Class dimensions, instead running a longer wheelbase than the C-Class coupe for extra rear seat space.
Vehicle Style: Large prestige coupe
Price: $96,000 - 145,900 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 143kW/400Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo diesel, 180kW/370Nm 4cyl turbo petrol, 245kW/480Nm 3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol | 9sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 4.9 - 8.1 l/100km
Three versions will initially be offered in Australia, starting with the $96,000 (plus on-roads) E220d powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 143kW of power with performance in the range of 0-100km/h in a claimed 7.4 seconds.
The diesel might be the price leader, but Mercedes believes 80 per cent of buyers will opt for petrol-powered models of which there are two choices.
First up is the E300 which, at $110,900 (plus on-roads), comes with a 180kW, 2.0-litre turbo four cylinder that will propel it to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds.
The range topper is the E400 4Matic with its 245kW, twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 that will hit 100km/h in 5.3 seconds and costs $145,900 (plus on-roads).
- E 220 d: Leather seat trim, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, auto headlights and wipers, Keyless-Go entry and start, AMG styling, 19-inch alloy wheels
- E 300: (in addition to E 220 d) Heated front seats, Multibeam LED headlights, sports exhaust, 20-inch alloy wheels
- E 400: (in addition to E 300) Head-up display, privacy glass, panoramic glass sunroof, 13-speaker Burmester audio
- Infotainment: Dual 12.3-inch infotainment and instrument cluster displays, Comand Online connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring
- Cargo Volume: 425 litres
Although minor switchgear is minimal, the dashboard fascia is dominated by the so-called Widescreen Display that uses two 12.3-inch screens that project instruments and other information in front of the driver, and other functions such as navigation, audio and ventilation across the top of the centre console.
A new touch are the chrome-laden, turbine style vents below and beside that and of which there are six in all. They look bright and maybe a bit chintzy, and disappointingly feel light and plasticky too.
This is a car that is all about the way it looks, because even though the rear seat is relatively spacious it is obviously more difficult to access than a four door, and the boot, while commendably spacious with 425 litres capacity, is still a good 115 litres down on the sedan.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: E 220 d 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, 143kW/400Nm. E 300 four-cylinder turbo petrol, 180kW/370Nm. E 400 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol, 245kW/480Nm
- Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, rear wheel drive or all wheel drive (E 400)
- Suspension: Wishbone front, multi-link rear with air suspension on petrol models
- Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes
- Steering: Electrically assisted power steering
Driving either of the two petrol-powered versions is to learn the E-Class Coupe experience is more about ease, serenity and comfort rather than outright sportiness.
As you'd expect, the E400 feels quicker than the E300, and acceleration is more easily accessible thanks to the depth of its torque curve, peaking at 480Nm versus 370Nm.
The V6-powered car also has a more pleasant (but still distant and muted) engine note, compared with the four-cylinder's rather gruff and almost diesel-like rumble.
Both have Mercedes' treacle-smooth nine-speed automatic transmission that slurs up and down the ratios with more refinement than any twin-clutch unit could hope for.
Mercedes' semi-autonomous radar and camera-driven Driver Assist package is standard on all Australian cars, which basically means if the driver double-taps the cruise control the car will change lanes on the freeway if asked, obey the speed limits, avoid running into other cars and even steer by itself for a time. It's an interesting novelty but mainly for those who see driving as a chore rather than a thought process.
Ride comfort is mellow even on the low-profile 20-inch tyres and cornering ability, which doesn't feel particularly sporty thanks to the softish suspension setting, is deceptively fast thanks to the amount of available grip.
The E400 4Matic adds to that what would presumably be extra traction in wet or slippery conditions, and it's nice to imagine this car giving a C63 AMG driver the hurry-up on a snow-covered Alpine pass.
A centre console-mounted switch gives a number of different driving modes (comfort, sport and extra sporty) that stiffen the air suspension, alter gearshift points, lessen stability control intervention and add weight to the steering, but their calibration is relative to the Coupe's intended purpose and are far from race-ready.
In fact, in "Sport" mode the transmission's tendency to hold onto lower gears quickly becomes tiresome, and it's a better bet to set the system up in the "Individual" mode, or shift gears manually via the steering wheel paddles.
Mercedes has a long history of building coupes like this current E-Class and it seems remarkable that with car-buyers scattering into all kinds of other body styles - whether they be SUV, wagon, sedan or sports car in all their guises - that a car so conventionally solid in concept actually exists.
For those who reckon this is the perfect size and shape for a car, however, it probably hits the bulls eye.
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