The letter E can stand for many different things, for children it may symbolise a bad mark at school, for teenagers it may mean a party pill and for the middle-aged and over it could refer to a type of Mercedes-Benz. But is the new E-Class set to break away from the conservative image of previous models?
Well, by discontinuing the CLK in favour of the E-Class Coupe Mercedes is definitely showing confidence in its latest offering. Right now, E is for Evaluation as Car and SUV finds out just what makes the E-Class coupe special.
E for Erogenous
Its one hot piece of metal, from the flared rear fenders forward the E-Class coupe has inherited the signature Mercedes understated grace but can’t be accused of being dull. It’s chiselled up front with bold bonnet character lines and quad headlamps and the grille treatment is unique with two silver bars bracketing a large three-point star. What’s most distinctive is the raked roofline that is three inches lower than the sedan, pillar-less and with fully retractable rear windows for an unobstructed side view.
Our test model sported the AMG Sports package ($7,300) that included blinging 18-inch wheels a more pronounced body kit and upgraded suspension.
Retired Financial Director or successful drug dealer the new E-Class’ styling will work for a variety of lifestyles, and an impressive drag figure of just 0.25 makes it one slippery customer.
E for Elegance
The Coupe’s cabin has plenty to see and do but what’s immediately noticeable is the level of comfort on offer from the leather seats. Fully cosseting and with a multitude of adjustments the seats include bolstering air cushions and integrated headrests. The rear has room for two passengers who receive wide individual seats but headroom is compromised by the low coupe roofline. Buttons and switchgear is intuitively laid out, navigation is standard, and a five-circle instrument cluster features an analogue clock and a secondary display screen for vehicle information. The main multi-info screen is mounted centrally and is controlled by a circular jog dial located on the armrest.
Fit and finish in the interior is top class and all materials are pleasant to the eye and the touch. With the coupe’s low-mounted seats and relatively high waistline it’s a cocooning atmosphere but very spacious for the front occupants.
E for Exciting¦ almost
The E-Class coupe is available with three different powerplants from the E250 CDI 4-Cylinder diesel up to the E500 V8 petrol. Our test vehicle was the mid-spec E350 3.5-litre V6 putting out 200kW in power and 350Nm of torque. The direct injection unit is responsive and silky smooth throughout the rev range. Peak torque arrives just in time at 2400rpm and when pushed it responds with gusto hitting 100kph in 6.4 seconds. But for all the engine’s competency it could be accused of lacking in character. Acceleration and general behaviour never breaks from being linear and civilized even at the peak of its range.
The V6 mates up well with Mercedes’ 7G-TRONIC 7-Speed auto transmission. It’s a clever unit that changes seamlessly and predicts driver intention well, skipping gears if necessary to deliver the correct ratio. Paddles sit behind the steering wheel for manual changes. In auto two shifting modes are on offer, Comfort and Sport, remaining in Comfort mode helps return a fuel economy figure of 9.5l/100km for the E350.
E for Effortless
The engine may lack a little character but the chassis is a gem. The E-Class dynamics are excellent with superb stability and minimal body roll. The suspension set-up allows for spirited driving without compromising the maturity and comfort focus of the ride. There is plenty of grip and although the coupe feels most comfortable on motorway cruising duties it has no issues with twists and turns.
Steering is well-weighted and precise on turn-in but it can feel light and unconnected when straight-line driving.
E for Enduring
Safety systems are a clear focus for Mercedes and the new E-Class is set to be a class-leader in this regard. All the usual bases are well covered with an army of airbags including driver’s knee, an advanced Electronic Stability Program and a reinforced bodyshell design. Further standard electronic aids include Attention Assist which monitors 70 different factors to check driver alertness, and Distronic Plus (a proximity control that lets you know when you’re following too closely and will apply the brakes if a crash is evident). If you absolutely must crash your E-Class coupe then active head restraints, belt force limiters, and seatbelt pretensioners are ready to fire up.
E for Exclusive
Mercedes-Benz has created a worthy replacement for the CLK with the new E-Series Coupe. The styling is graceful, the cabin offers luxury-sedan comfort and the performance is delivered with stealth. What E doesn’t stand for is electrifying or extreme, but that’s almost irrelevant because Mercedes has created a vehicle that exists beyond its perceived competitors. It’s larger, of a higher quality and is more expensive than the BMW 3-Series coupe or Audi A5 and will appeal to a different buyer. Will this buyer be middle-aged and over? Probably. Will they be happy with their purchase? For sure.
Click through to the next page for a list of specifications
Price: from $119,900(E250 CDI) as tested $147,200
What we like:
- Smooth and slippery styling
- Comfort focussed interior
- Well balanced Chassis
What we don’t like:
- Rear headroom
- Lacking driver excitement
Mercedes-Benz E-Class E350 Coupe – Specifcations
Chassis (Standard) and Wheels
Front tyres 235/40
Rear tyres 255/35
Dimensions and Weights
Boot capacity (VDA) (I) 450
Kerb weight/payload capacity (kg) 1645/470
Maximum roof load (kg) 100
Perm. GVM (kg) 2115
Turning circle (m) 10.95
Engine and Performance
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 6.4
Compression ratio 10.7:1
Cylinder arrangement/number V6
Displacement (cc) 3498
Rated output (kW [hp] at rpm) 200  at 6000
Rated torque (Nm at rpm) 350 / 2400-5000
Top speed (km/h) 250
Fuel and Consumption Cd value 0.25
CO2 emissions combined (g/km) 222
Emission class EU5
Fuel consumption combined (l/100km) 9.5
Tank capacity incl. reserve 66/8
Drive system Rear drive
Words and Photos: Adam Mamo