- Published: Friday, 10 March 2017 07:02
How the Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe gets its mojo by a major break with history
Barcelona, Spain -
New two-door E-Class, same as the old two-door E-Class, right?
Actually, no and no. That response probably came about because the previous E coupe wasn't a particularly fun car to drive, being refined and almost sluggish. But the chief problem was, it wasn’t particularly 'E-Class-like' at all, instead sharing platform with the W204 C-Class saloon and coupe.
Even before that, the venerable CLK-Class did the same switcheroo with its bones. It wasn't a huge deal, but the case with the two-door E-Class was it failed to distinguish itself, and its higher price tag, well enough from its smaller brother.
So this new one is a big difference?
Um, no but...yes. The E-Class coupe still shares platform with the current C-Class - but this doesn’t suggest Mercedes hasn’t learnt from the past, rather quite the opposite. All the new Mercs, C-Class and above, run on the modular MRA platform. This time, the E coupe is exactly how it needs to, being much larger than before but still smaller than the sedan, growing in the right areas to improve its driving ability, while still being smaller than the sedan.
How does it look?
Pretty. If the latest C-Class coupe proved that Mercedes still knows how to do elegant two-doors, then the E coupe is a clear affirmation of that. Sure the front end looks almost indistinguishably like the sedan, but the muscular rear with its steep flanks, wider tail-lights and raked windscreen offer an almost tangible elegance that only really shines through when seeing the car in person, or even better, in movement.
So it does 'real' E-Class-type comfort?
That and with a bit more pizzazz too. Our test car had a distinctly nautical theme, the gold-silver paint is dubbed Aragonite Silver (aragonite is what coral skeletons are made of), while the interior upholstery rocks fetching seats in ‘Macchiato Beige’, deck-like matte wood trim, with much of the leather trim in contrasting ‘Yacht blue’. To us, the new air-con vents even look a little like anemone mouths or coral heads.
With the added interior space - Mercedes dubs the car the only proper four seater in its (small) segment - you won’t be emulating seamen who can’t wait for shore leave, as four adults will fit in comfort.
What's beneath the bonnet?
The coupe has been announced in four variants:194bhp E 220d (2.0-litre turbodiesel), 184bhp E 200 and 245bhp E 300 (both 2.0-litre turbocharged) and E 400 (333bhp V6 twin-turbo and all-wheel drive). Undoubtedly the E 200 will be the biggest seller for Singapore, but the E 300 tested here represents more excitement without the big cost jump the E 400 does.
A 2.0-litre for a big coupe might not be enough...
245bhp is no small number, even in this age, but you might be surprised to find out that the E 300 coupe feels…slow. It doesn’t help that the Mercedes 2.0 turbo four sounds workman, almost tractor like in its lack of aural flash.
So it IS slow huh...
It feels slow, then you peek at the active instruments (or full-colour HUD) and realise you’re bombing along at least 30-40km/h faster than you thought. It feels slow, but it isn’t a slowpoke, not by any measure, with the superb refinement and pillowy, indomitable ride quality insulating you from the outside world.
On wider roads, the E 300 Coupe simply whispers away the miles, tackling sweepers and undulations with unflappable assurance and plenty of speed should you wish it - and it’s only well into triple digits that the front end starts to give any clue of how fast you shouldn’t be going. Snaking up into the very tight mountain switchbacks is where the E coupe starts to feel its size, with the insulation that serves it so well as a fast tourer now highlighted as a shade less accuracy than a aggressive driver could want.
Like the saloon, the coupe packs a huge level of technology on-board, which brings us full circle back to the nature of the E Class coupe once more. Unlike its predecessors, it’s arguably the most in common with the actual E-Class sedan. So if you want the combination of E qualities (refinement, space, brand recognition, tech) but in more elegant package that delivers driving fun (at least when the roads are wide), then the new E coupe’s ‘purit-e’ should appeal to you.
Mercedes-Benz E 300 AMG Line
Engine 1,991cc, 16V, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 245bhp at 5500rpm
Torque 370Nm at 1300-4000rpm
Gearbox 9-speed automatic
Top Speed 225km/h
0-100km/h 6.4 seconds
Fuel efficiency 6.4L/100km
Availability Second half 2017