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Mercedes E-class coupe (2009): review

Published:31 October 2009

Mercedes E-class coupe
  • At a glance
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By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

Take a look at this new Mercedes E-class coupe. While it’s called the E-class coupe, and looks very much like an E-class, it actually sits on a C-class chassis. There’s a choice of four engines, two diesel and two petrol. For diesel power, there’s a V6 powerplant, and the smaller 2143cc unit. Alternatively there’s a petrol V6 and V8 too. With a starting price of over £33,000, the E-coupe has some serious competition – both the BMW 3-series coupe and Audi A5 have received plenty of praise – so the E-coupe had better be good.

Can the Mercedes E-coupe stand its ground against the BMW 3-coupe and Audi A5?

Yes, definitely. Look at the facts and it’s not too hard to see that Mercedes has set itself quite a challenge. The base E-class is £5500 more than a BMW 235i/325d, or an Audi A5 2.0TFSI/2.7TDI. That’s quite a chunk of money, but you can be assured that once you sit down in the E-class you’ll be rewarded.

If you’re looking for BMW 3-series-rivalling handling, you’re looking in the wrong place. The E-coupe offers a mechanical setup that matches the car’s refined appearance. It manages to offer a very comfortable ride without being spongy and dull. Here, Mercedes offers an emphasis on luxury and comfort rather than sportiness and dynamicity, and it’s done it well.

While it handles well, don’t think you can treat it like an SL65 AMG. If you try to conquer the E-class’s gentlemanly image by being a hooligan, the ESP will quickly bring an end to your tomfoolery. Even if you switch it off and continue with your antics, it’ll kick back into action and nullify your attempt to swing the back out.

The E-coupe is refined on the road, but what’s it like to be in?

There’s plenty of room up front for the driver and passenger, however rear passengers aren’t so well off. They have to slide past the front seats via an awkward entry angle. Once they’ve done that, they’ll find their rear seat space encroached on by a wide oddments cubicle in between the two seats.

If you like options, you’ll be delighted to see the E-coupe’s list. Amongst many other options, you can choose from an intelligent light system, heated and ventilated seats, digital TV and radio, parking aid with rear-view camera, radar-based cruise control, keyless go and a full-length glass sunroof. Just remember, this car weighs in at 1695kg, so the extra gadgetry and gizmos will only add to that.

 

What if I want to make the E-coupe that little bit sportier?

Your first choice is to tick the box for the dynamic driving package (standard only on the E500). This means you receive tweaks to the steering, damping and gearing, and includes a paddleshift gearchange.

Another choice is to opt for the AMG kit. This includes the dynamic driving package, mentioned above, but also gives you bigger front brake disks, wider tyres, a bodykit and finally some body-hugging seats. Unfortunately, no AMG E-coupe is currently available.

The E-coupe is fairly heavy, is it a bit slow?

Most definitely not. There may not be a huge range of powerplants, with only four to choose from, but there’s an engine to suit everyone.

The E250 CDI, which CAR tested, has two turbos, and propels itself to 62mph in 7.2 seconds. From 1600-1800rpm there’s 369lb ft of torque available under your right foot. And don’t think this power will empty your pocket when it comes to filling up either. On our test, not once did the average mpg figure drop below 40. It might not be the claimed 55.3mpg, but it’s still impressive. If you’re looking for a bit more pace, the V6 E350 CDI reaches 62mph in just 6.7 seconds.

But, if diesel isn’t your fuel of choice, then there are two petrols on offer. The V6 E350 CGI takes 6.3 seconds in the 0-62 sprint, but if you choose the E500, which has a V8, then you’ll see that time drop to a very respectable 5.4 seconds.

Verdict

The Mercedes E-coupe is a refined, comfortable and luxurious car, yet it also manages to offer a well-balanced set up; just right for this type of car.

Specs

Price when new: £35,000
On sale in the UK: June 2009
Engine: 2143c 16v four cylinder turbodiesel, 204bhp @4200rpm, 369lb ft@1600-1800rpm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 7.2 0-62mph, 155mph, 55.3mpg, 135g/km
Weight / material: 1695kg
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4698/1786/1393

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By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

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