Menacing Merc looks a little loud
E-Class coupe a vital part of Mercedes’s strategy to revamp itself and dominate
Model: E-Class Coupe
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2013
Mercedes is playing catch-up to its premium counterparts and they know it. BMW and Audi have raced ahead in the last decade with major expansions of their model line-ups and traction in lucrative emerging markets.
It’s time for Mercedes to kick into action. Last year chief executive Dieter Zetsche made his move, promising the brand would grow as much in the next decade as it has in the past century. The aim is to double sales to over two million cars. There will be 13 all-new models by the end of this decade, with major revamps of the current model range. It’s all part of a very ambitious target to make Mercedes the top-selling luxury car brand by 2020.
Time will tell for Mercedes if it can really keep pace with BMW or the premium marque from the Volkswagen Group behemoth. The new S-Class is vitally important, as is the new CLA entry-level coupe. So far the signs are good. Earlier this month, the July sales figures showed Mercedes sales jumped 20 per cent from a year earlier, outpacing growth at BMW and Audi.
Amid all the changes and revamped line-up, the E-Class coupe feeds into a more traditional market for Mercedes.
This is the territory where the CLK used to reside until the start of this decade. That is perhaps why the car retains a certain recognisable side profile. However the need to appeal to younger motorists is evident from the front nose, one of the most aggressive takes for a large Mercedes in a long time. This Merc has menace.
Mercedes desperately needs to shake off a rather staid image in the eyes of younger drivers. More models like this and the CLA can make that a reality. It needs to lose its conservative mantle if it wants to secure volume sales. That’s not an easy task, but help from the likes of its AMG division, and its small car unit, should push it over the line.
The test car hit €60,000 before the addition of beige leather trim, Parktronic parking assist, electronically adjustable heated front seats and a panoramic electric sunroof. All these added €7,913 to the forecourt price.
The styling is aggressive at the front and sleek to the side and rear, a strange mismatch that actually works quite well. There is a very distinctive coupe look, but there is a price to be paid: for a car of this length and stature on the road, the rear-seat legroom is surprisingly cramped. Given its ties to the E-Class saloon, we would have thought that it would cater for family motoring but no such luck. The rear seats are comfortable and the bucket format means they can cope with an adult but the legroom is barely sufficient for a small child.