You have to hand it to Mercedes and its impressive ability of growing its model range without it feeling diluted. It’s only just been a year since the all-new E-Class was launched but several variations have sprouted from the same platform as the saloon which sits, of course, between the C and S-Class. There’s the option of a convertible, estate, rugged All-Terrain, potent E 63 saloon (and estate) and this Coupé and it is the latter which is my favourite and not just because it bears a striking resemblance to the S Coupé which is one of the prettiest cars around. No, it’s because it also packs state-of-the-art technology along with a smooth and relaxing ride and, er... oh who am I kidding? Look at it! Now, wipe that drool from your chin.
What’s new about the E Coupé? First of all, it is bigger than the predecessor having grown 123mm longer, 74mm wider and 33mm taller and in spite of a slightly shorter wheelbase, it has 74mm more legroom in the second row. Adults relegated back there won’t mind one bit anymore but boot space has shrunk from 450 litres to 425 — not that you should care; who buys a two-door and then bemoans its lack of practicality? The styling is softer and all the better for it too; the edgy angles have been ditched for smoother curves and if you didn’t notice, the B-pillars have vanished. This gives the classy exterior, replete with a swooping roofline, an uninterrupted flow. The front end gets a distinctive lower-positioned grille and central star while the LED multibeam headlights illuminate in dramatic fashion as you approach the car. It has a revised powerdome bonnet, a more muscular-looking rear end featuring two-part flat LED taillights and it rides on 20in AMG multi-spoke alloys. Although the C and S-Class saloons look alike, the E-Class differentiates itself a little thanks to the character lines on the body — and the Coupé benefits in the same way.
The macchiato beige and yacht blue Nappa leather interior is just as attractive as the exterior and the same dash layout as the four-door is reproduced here; from the unique turbine air vents, twin 12.3in hi-res screens (the infotainment system is on your right while the driving info is displayed on your left), and yards of brushed wood and aluminium, it’s ever so chic and far more premium than anything else in this class.
It’s dripping with tech too; from the advanced sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, head-up display, ambient lighting (you get a choice of up to 64 colours) and an onboard WiFi hotspot, our Cavansite blue metallic tester has the lot including a banging 13-speaker Burmester surround sound stereo. It also has the Driving Assistance Package which contains Distance Pilot Distronic (it can keep the car at the correct distance behind vehicles but can also automatically follow them at a speed of up to 210kph — you’ll need to be on the autobahn to try this...) Active Braking Assist with Cross-Traffic Function and Congestion emergency braking function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Those are a lot of assists — and it begs the question if we really need all this fancy tech in our cars. Are we becoming overly reliant on the wizbangery? It’s a debate for another time, but what’s for certain is it isn’t about to go away anytime soon.
It can hit 100kph from rest in a respectable 7.8 seconds, has a top speed of 240kph and Merc claims a combined fuel efficiency of 6.7 litres per 100km.
You’d get a lot more bang for your buck with the E 300 and its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot which makes 245 horses and 370Nm of torque and more still if you were to opt for the E 400 4Matic with a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 (it has 333 horses and 480Nm) but the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-pot in this E 200 makes do with 184 horses and 300Nm of torque. It doesn’t feel terribly underpowered and has enough get up and go to make merging with traffic or overtaking a breeze. It can hit 100kph from rest in a respectable 7.8 seconds, has a top speed of 240kph and Merc claims a combined fuel efficiency of 6.7 litres per 100km which is pretty good — as is the nine-speed automatic. It shifts seamlessly and a tad more aggressively when you engage Sport Plus mode. In Comfort, the air suspension does a fine job of soaking up road imperfections and it handles very well with hardly any body roll to speak of when you show it a corner. The all-electric steering is quick, precise and light but it firms up when you’re in the sportier settings and in spite of the 1,580kg kerb weight, it feels quite agile and is happy to play along when you get that naughty glint in your eye.
If you feel the C Coupé is too small or the S Coupé is too big, well this is the solution. There’s no middle child syndrome here; this one has turned out to be the best in the family.