Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

E sedan gives Coupe a platform for grand-touring greatness

TOBY HAGON

Model Engine Max Power Max Torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale E400 4Matic coupe 2996cc V6 (60į), 24v, twin-turbo 245kW @ 5250-6000rpm 480Nm @ 1600-4000rpm 9-speed automatic 1770kg 5.3sec (claimed) 8.5L/100km $145,900 June

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

GOLDILOCKS would love the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe. Or, at least, the premise of the latest iteration of Benzís four-seat two-door.

four-seat two-door.

Slotting between the C and the S, the E Coupe dishes up more comfort and space than the former at half the price of the latter.

Perfect, then, for those who donít need rear doors but do need some semblance of space with their two-door style.

Thatís the theory, and itís one that gets more serious with the latest iteration of the E Coupe.

Riding on the W213 E-Class sedanís architecture (the previous car used a stretched C platform), space is a clear sales pitch Ė thereís a 74mm expanse of additional rear legroom and 34mm of extra shoulder room.

Accessing those twin rear pews Ė which have a 40/20/40 split-fold system to lengthen the already long boot Ė means scything past the sizeable rear quarter panel that ensures the front doors arenít as bulky as they can be on coupes of this stature. Cocooned in the sculpted seats thereís loads of knee space and ample head room for anyone under six foot.

Up front, the Eís broad cabin creates a feeling of openness, amplified by the panoramic sunroof and expansive dash.

On the road, too, thereís a stateliness to the Eís manners.

At 1610kg, the base Coupe is not particularly light, but precise steering and broad 20-inch Pirelli P Zero boots (standard on the E300 and E400) ensure it points sharply, only tending to understeer when chucked in hard.

The 4Matic of the E400 (with its twin-turbo V6) adds 160kg to the equation, taking the total to nearly 1.8 tonnes. Much of that extra weight is over the nose, although it still points assertively.

And the extra traction of the 4Matic system eliminates the occasional rear-end wiggle of the E300, upping confidence and pace out of hairpins.

As with the sedan thereís a relaxed, grand-touring nature to the Coupe, which brings a modest two-door price premium of between $3100 (for the $96,000 E220d) and $6000 (for the $145,900 E400). Our COTY experience with the sedan suggests the low- profile rubber may not be ideally suited to pockmarked Aussie roads, though weíll make that call on home soil.

But on smooth Spanish bitumen itís no issue. The comfort suspension setting suits the nature of the car, albeit without the sharper foot-flat upshifts of Sport+ (and its rather jumpy throttle response). Even in Sport+ the ride is unfazed by the welcome additional stiffness.

Sport adds alertness to the throttle and a hint more feel to the wheel, along with more eagerness to use the ninespeed autoís lower ratios, albeit with occasional abruptness.

The trio of E Coupe drivetrains is identical to that in the sedan.

The 300ís broad 370Nm spread makes for easy acceleration, but it lacks fizz when kicked. Then again, at $110,900 itís a lot of Merc coupe for the money.

Despite the extra kilos the 400ís more plentiful outputs deliver acceleration more in keeping with the sleek look. Aurally thereís more character, too, though a hint of high-rev burble in all driving modes would seal the V6 deal.

Depending on your viewpoint the E Coupeís competence may be diluted by the C and S coupes that bookend it within the range. Or, on the other hand, it might represent a Ďjust rightí combination of space and relaxed touring elegance for those who want some S-Class space at a more palatable price. If only it had more driving spice.

PLUS & MINUS

Lacks dynamic sizzle; semi-autonomous tech is overhyped Spacious cabin; beautiful detailing; grand-touring ability

A Class above

Unlike the previous E-Class Coupe, the new one actually rides on an E-Class platform (the previous one was built on the Cís architecture).

However, the Coupe gets a unique wheelbase of 2873mm, which is 66mm shorter than the sedanís.

The track is also slightly narrower (1609mm for the Coupe, 1619mm at the rear of the sedan). Despite the smaller dimensions the Coupe is fractionally heavier (about 20kg) than its four-door sibling.

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