Mercedes' new E-class Coupe is handsome, spacious, responsive

The new E-class Coupe offers a quieter and smoother ride.
The new E-class Coupe offers a quieter and smoother ride.PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ
The new E-class Coupe offers a quieter and smoother ride.
The new E-class Coupe offers a quieter and smoother ride.PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ

Unlike its predecessor, the new Mercedes-Benz E-class Coupe is a proper two-door luxury cruiser with the latest technology

The old E-class Coupe, introduced in 2009, is actually based on the smaller and even older C-class platform. So it was less luxurious than the equivalent E-class saloon.

The new E-class Coupe is based on the latest E-class, so it has the same set of advanced amenities and modern German conveniences required for luxurious cruising.

And the two-door newcomer looks handsome.

Its "arched roof" design formula follows that of the previous model, but the execution is more eye-catching and there are additional designer details, including LED tail-lamps which light up in a certain sequence as a form of greeting (when the car is unlocked) or goodbye (when the car is locked).

The exterior has grown - it is 123mm longer, 33mm higher and 74mm wider. The tracks, too, have been widened for improved stability and agility, while the wheelbase has been lengthened by 113mm.

  • SPECS / MERCEDES-BENZ E300 COUPE 2.0

  • Price: To be announced

    Engine: 1,991cc 16-valve inline-4 turbocharged

    Transmission: Nine-speed automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 245bhp at 5,500rpm

    Torque: 370Nm at 1,400-4,000rpm

    0-100kmh: 6.4 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh

    Fuel consumption: 6.4 litres/100km (combined cycle)

    Agent: Cycle & Carriage

Despite its bigger size, the car remains aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of 0.25 - slightly worse than its wind-cheating predecessor, but still one of the best in the segment.

The interior, too, has grown - not only in terms of space for the front and rear occupants, but also in terms of sophistication.

It is a welcoming interior. The welcome begins with front seats which motor forward and upward for easier access to the rear (the old model only moves its front seats forward).

Other interior improvements include the leather cushions (plusher), rear headrests (adjustable now) and decorative trim (nicer).

The nicest configuration in my opinion is the open-pore wood option coupled with the blue/beige cabin colour scheme.

For rear passengers, headroom has been increased by a little, while legroom has been expanded by a lot. For front occupants, the improved space for shoulders and elbows is most noticeable.

Stowage for odds and ends has also been improved. But boot space has mysteriously decreased by 25 litres to 425 litres.

Visibility from the front seats is excellent, particularly over one's shoulder towards the door. The driver also gets a pleasing sense of "windowy openness", especially with the available panoramic sunroof.

The dashboard offers the usual bells and whistles already seen in the E-class saloon, as well as unusual "turbine" air vents which are dramatically different from those in the saloon.

The bells and whistles (in the version tested with optional equipment) include the saloon's so-called Widescreen Cockpit with a conjoined pair of 12.3-inch high-resolution displays, along with a touchpad, thumb-swipe buttons and smartphone integration.

The instrument cluster shows virtual instruments which can adopt one of three styles - Classic, Sport or Progressive. Each choice has its own distinct arrangement of digital meters, graphics and alphanumerics.

With numerous features for the driver to play/work with, it takes time and practice to remember which switch activates which feature.

One of the most useful functions is Distance Pilot Distronic. It is a clever cruise-control system that automatically "follows" the vehicle in front, from standstill right up to 200kmh. And it operates naturally, like how I would control a cruise on my own without any intervention.

Cruising in the E300 Coupe is quieter than in the previous model. Even at 150kmh on a Spanish highway, there is so little wind noise from the front pillars and side windows that it sounds no faster than 100kmh.

The car also rides more smoothly than the old one. The standard suspension with adjustable dampers happily absorbs impact from broken or uneven tarmac. If the car is riding on air suspension, that impact is not only absorbed, but also completely ignored.

Best of all, the smooth ride does not mean slovenly handling. The E-class Coupe is less agile than the current C-class Coupe, but it does a good job of changing direction and tackling corners without feeling overexcited or overextended at any point.

The performance is prompt, with plenty of energy from the turbocharged 245bhp 2-litre engine and well-oiled responses from the nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The new E-class Coupe will be in Singapore in July.

•The writer is the editor of Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Classier cruiser'. Print Edition | Subscribe