Having already reviewed the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class saloon and E-Class cabriolet, we sent Andy Goodwin to a wet, soggy Hamburg to test the sportiest model in the bunch, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe.
The Mercedes E-Class Coupe appeals to those looking for a prestigious and sporting model, that doesn't sacrifice comfort and practicality. Priced between £35,095 and £46,265, it significantly undercuts the £59,870 you’ll need to save for a BMW 6 Series Coupe, or the whopping £65,465 starting price of a Jaguar XK. But, it’s pricier than the popular Audi A5, which starts at £28,670 for a 1.8 TFSI in SE spec. Comfort is the order of the day, with an automatic gearbox and smooth transmissions serenely whisking you to your destination as you enjoy its excellent sound system.
For its mid-life facelift, Mercedes has thankfully binned the ‘quad’ headlamp clusters, which gave the E-Class a slightly gawky stare, and replaced them with swept-back single lens units. The grille has been similarly decluttered, with a lone chrome bar spanning its grille, and an almost impossibly large Mercedes roundel. Its three lower grille intakes are now flared and uninterrupted, thanks to its LED lights being moved into the light clusters.
Wildlife had better watch out, as there’s also a chrome chin spoiler which looks like a stainless steel blade. The LED rear lights are wider, more attractive and also dim at night to avoid burning the retinas of following drivers. It’s a thorough overhaul which brings the Coupe up to speed with the A-Class and CLA and could even make it appeal to a younger audience, a task Mercedes has struggled with in the past.
While some four-seat coupes border on being in violation of the Trade Descriptions Act, there is some legroom in the back of this bruiser. For kids it’s certainly a fine place to sit, but adults just won’t want to be back there too long. They won’t want to get out of the front, which is comfortable and relaxing. The leather seats adjust in more ways than you knew a seat could, and never gave us cause for complaint over two days of driving. The 450-litre boot is a good size, but as with most coupes, there’s a high loading lip and small boot aperture to navigate.
Performance & handling
The range spans from the E220 CDI, which hits 62mph from rest in 8.3 seconds, to the new E400 which takes just 5.2 seconds. This latest engine replaces the E500 and makes its power from 3-litres of creamy V6, with two turbochargers. Its maximum 480Nm of torque comes in at a ridiculously low 1,400rpm, so it’s possible to surf a wave of acceleration with just a muted growl from the twin exhausts.
The most popular engine in the UK is traditionally the E350 CDI, a V6 diesel with 252bhp and 620Nm. It’s still the best all-rounder, with as much pace as you’ll ever need on the road and economy of 49.6mpg. It might not be hugely exciting, but it’s so competent you can’t help but love it. The only engine available with a manual gearbox is the entry-level diesel, so you’re unlikely to ever see a gearstick in an E-Class Coupe. Luckily the seven-speed automatic suits the car perfectly well, allowing for a characteristically smooth driving experience, even if the paddle shifts aren’t particularly responsive in manual mode.
Being rear-wheel drive, the steering remains lithe and uncorrupted through corners, and there’s lots of grip on offer. It feels its weight though, and at just shy of two tonnes, this isn’t a car you relish chucking into corners. It’s at its best on sweeping A-roads and the motorway, where it’s impressively refined.
Economy & environment
The impressive E-Class E350 CDI is also pretty clean, with CO2 emissions of 150g/km bringing an annual tax bill of £140. These are impressive figures, but the costlier BMW 640d does even better, delivering 313bhp, 52.3mpg and emissions of 145g/km. Even the 333bhp E400 emits just 177g/km of CO2, less than some warmed over hatchbacks. Come to a stop and the engine is quick to cut out, saving fuel until you start to ease back off the brake, when it chimes back into life quickly and smoothly. The E200 four-cylinder turbo petrol is likely to be popular, partly thanks to its 47.1mpg fuel economy.
Equipment & value
New E-Class trim levels have been given a makeover. Instead of the old SE and Sport, there’s now just Sport and AMG Sport. Sport gets 17-inch alloys, a new grille, adaptive suspension dampers, leather upholstery and heated seats. AMG Sport ups the wheel diameter by an inch and adds an AMG body kit, sports suspension, upgraded front brakes, an AMG steering wheel and partial LED headlights. Choose AMG Sport and it costs £2,435 more than the outgoing Sport model, but you do get £3,700 of added kit. As before, it represents impressive value.
The E-Class E350 Coupe is fitted as standard with Intelligent Drive, which uses a stereo camera mounted behind the windscreen to produce a 3D view of the road, up to 50-metres ahead. There are also front, side and rear facing radar sensors to detect other vehicles and objects and warn you or even brake itself, if an imminent collision is detected. This is one car that's going to be incredibly difficult to crash.
The E-Class Coupe has already found more than 18,500 customers, and the latest styling, trim and engine changes all hit the right notes. Not only is it even better value, and cheaper to run, it should also appeal to a younger audience. It has found a sweet spot in the market, being more exclusive than the popular Audi A5, but undercutting the BMW 6 Series and Jaguar XK by a margin which is hard to ignore. If you appreciate its comfortable and refined nature, over a more sporting drive, you’ll love this car.
Model tested: Mercedes E-Class Coupe
Engine: E350 BlueTEC 7G automatic AMG Sport
Acceleration: 0-62 in 6.4 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Emissions: 150g/km CO2