E-Class coupe puts Mercedes-Benz ahead of the German pack

The two-door version of the car-maker’s bestseller offers style and practicality

 

As a litmus test for the economy, it’s worth noting the burgeoning sales of new cars in the €40,000 to €60,000 price bracket. At Mercedes, the new E-Class is the best-selling model in its range, greatly helped by a pricing offer that’s under way.

Another bellwether is always the sale of two-door coupes. Enter the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe with prices starting from €52,310. The German brand is eager to claim that you can have premium style and practicality in one package. In that regard the E-Class coupe sits in a segment all its own. It’s bigger than an Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series but less expensive than an Audi A7 or BMW 6 Series. The new coupe is 100mm shorter than the E-Class saloon but larger than the old coupe in length, height and width.

Capitalising on the critical success of the latest E-Class saloon with all of its clever technologies, the coupe manages to be elegant without being too flashy, something many premium car buyers are conscious of these days. Despite being a strict four-seater and losing 66cm from the saloon’s wheelbase, the coupe has enough room in the back for two adults of generous proportions; plus, there is a decent boot.

Talking points

As with the saloon, there are lots of talking points and of course semi-autonomous driving aids, but one optional party trick is the Magic Vision Control windscreen wipers, which feature an integrated heated water dispersal that barely leaves a drop of water on the screen when in use.

We had a limited range of test cars that included an E220d 4Matic (194hp) all-wheel drive on standard suspension, an E300 (245hp) on air suspension and a V6 E400 4Matic (333hp) on dynamic suspension.

The standard Direct Control suspension does a perfectly adequate job. Inside the cabin is hushed and well insulated from the road. The 220d 4Matic is a super grand tourer that covered kilometres effortlessly and in an indulgent fashion, helped along by Mercedes-Benz’s super smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox. The optional 4Matic all-wheel drive set-up provides a sure-footed driving experience.

With the active and air suspension options you get a Drive Select option that allows you choose from Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual. Each mode has an effect on variables such as engine response, steering weight, ride and so on.

Number one

When Mercedes-Benz announced its ambition to be the world’s number one premium brand several years ago, many thought it unattainable. In many markets, including Ireland, Mercedes was some way behind BMW and Audi in terms of sales. Yet thanks to some heavy sales promotion towards the end of last year and into early 2017, Mercedes-Benz found itself ranked in the top 10 brands for new car sales at the end of February – well ahead of its two German rivals. This two-door variant will add to its push for premium market leadership when it arrives in April. The market for big coupes in Ireland is small but MDL expects 80 sales this year and between 150 and 200 in 2018.

Ireland is getting a limited range of engines, with the 220d (€52,995) and 200 petrol expected to be the big sellers. Last year not a single petrol-powered E-Class coupe was sold in Ireland – every one was a diesel. An improved entry-point E200 petrol model should help change that.

Overall the E-Class coupe lacks the sort of driving excitement you get with fully-fledged sports cars (several of which are sold with Mercedes badges), but in its efforts to balance performance with practicality it is a very good grand tourer that makes an impressive statement.

The lowdown: Mercedes Benz E-Class coupe 220d

Price: €52,995

Power: 184hp

Torque: 400Nm

0-100km/h: 7.4 seconds

Top speed: 242km/h

Claimed fuel economy: 4.0l/100km (70mpg)

CO2 emissions: 106g/km.

Motor tax: €190 per annum.

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