This is the latest in a long line of elegant and eye-catching coupes from Mercedes-Benz that stretches back over the decades. The E-class coupe replaces the CLK and is the two-door version of the medium-sized saloon from Stuttgart.
Stunning to see, especially in the lighter paint colours, this car stands out as something special. This is a piece of classic car design, clean cut and timeless. You enjoy a lovely open air effect with the side windows down as there is no pillar to block the view.
Such a streamlined silhouette has other benefits than the purely visual. The E-class coupe slips through the air better than most. With a drag coefficient of 0.24, it is simply the most aerodynamic car on the market. This, in turn, helps to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The E-class coupe comes with the choice of direct-injection petrol engines up to a barn storming V8 with 388bhp or more sensible diesels with four or six cylinders. In keeping with the mood of these times, I got to drive a modest E220 CDI with a 2.2-litre engine. A strange combination with such a sporty looking car – but it did not perform badly at all.
You tend to forget just how far diesel engines have come on over recent years. This one turns out 170bhp, almost as much as some V6 petrol engines produced just a decade ago. Even with a five-speed auto gearbox, it felt brisk on acceleration and remarkably subdued on the sound front.
The bonus of the diesel is to be found at the pumps. It returns 53mpg on the combined cycle and emissions are 142g/km. These compare well with some family hatchbacks and lead to lower company car tax bands. Again, this is a measure of the efficiency of the engineering.
As always, the precise and solid feel of this Mercedes are highly impressive The coupe has a confident poise on the road and is agile for its size. Ride comfort is surprisingly good in standard mode though you can specify an agility control system allowing you to switch to a more sporting springing and driving mode when you wish.
Inside, there is a cockpit ambience with the traditional Mercedes dials and controls. These include the foot-operated parking brake and the wipers operated by twisting a control stalk. Press the remote control as you approach the car at night and there is a welcoming glow of lights inside and beside each door handle
As you slip into your seat belt, it automatically tightens up – a reminder that safety features are high on the Mercedes priorities. Among the innovations on this car are sensors, radar and cameras. One standard item is a system that warns the driver if it senses that he or she is getting drowsy. You can also have adaptive headlights that dip automatically when you meet another car.
Yes, there’s a lot more than eye candy to the E-class coupe, though it is a stunner in that department. It is packed with clever engineering and advanced technology making it great to drive or be driven in.
ENGINE – 2.2-litre turbo diesel developing 170bhp
PERFORMANCE – 0-62 in 8.5 seconds, 145mph potential
ECONOMY – 48mpg on Combined Cycle
EMISSIONS – 158g/km
INSURANCE (1-50) – Group 35
PRICE – from £32,825