The E-Class Coupe is available with seven of the engines from the saloon. These include four-cylinder and V6 petrols and diesels, as well as a V8 petrol. The V6 diesel stand out for being flexible and strong, whereas the four-cylinder petrol in the E200 CGI is very weak, and the E250 CGI and E350 CGI petrols need to be worked hard.
There are three different chassis setups for the E-Class Coupe, which influence the suspension, the steering and, in some cases, the throttle response and automatic gearshift speed. In effect, you can have the car as a gentle grand tourer or as a more sporting coupe. The selectable Sport mode ruins ride comfort and does little for the handling, but otherwise, the suspension strikes a decent balance. SE models have slow steering, though.
The E-Class Coupe shuts out wind noise well, considering it has frameless side windows. However, its big wheels and tyres generate some road noise, and the four-cylinder engines are noisy. The diesels in the E220 and E250 CDI models are particularly disappointing, because they not only sounds gruff, but transmits a lot of vibration into the cabin. The automatic gearbox isn’t the smoothest, either.
The E-Class Coupe is competitively priced and it holds its value better than the saloon on which it’s based. What’s more, every model gets the company’s Blue Efficiency measures to trim fuel consumption and CO2 emissions; even the E350 CGI returns a very respectable 40.4mpg. Insurance groupings are also relatively low, but servicing is expensive.
The E-Class is supposed to be a premium product, but the car's interior doesn't quite give that impression. There are some nice touches, but too many surfaces are disappointingly unappealing. That said, the car did well in the 2012 JD Power survery, and scored particularly well for reliability.
The E-class Coupe has nine airbags, force-limiting seatbelts and the company's Pre-Safe system that puts you in the best position to survive a crash, but it also does more than most cars to help you prevent one in the first place. There's a driver drowsiness detection system as well as stability control and anti-lock brakes, while the options include a speed limit alert, blind-spot and lane-change warnings, and automatic braking if a collision is inevitable.
The seats are firm and supportive, and visibility is surprisingly good for a fastback Coupe. However, while the interior layout is orderly, it's not intuitive: the menu-style control system is complex, and its shortcut buttons are on the dashboard rather than grouped around the controller, where you’d expect them. The more options you specify, the more fiddly it gets, and there’s also the quirky Mercedes single-stalk indicator/wiper.
The distance between the Coupe's wheels is 115mm shorter than the saloon's and it has a steeply sloping roofline – two factors which limit who can ride comfortably in the back. Rear legroom is adequate, and the rear seats fold to form a shallow, but large and square, boot; the large, wide-opening doors make access to the rear relatively easy, if sometimes slightly undignified.
There are only two trim options with the Coupe – SE and Sport – and both are well specced. SE is the luxury model and features leather upholstery, climate control, heated front seats and a parking guidance system. Sport adds a bodykit from Merc's AMG tuning division, firmer suspension and more powerful brakes. The steering is also more direct, there are grippier seats and intelligent lights with five different beam patterns plus LED daytime running lamps.
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If you’re going to buy an E-Class Coupe, this is the engine to go for. We prefer the softer SE suspension, though.