- We like...Engine; seats
- We don't...Read seats only good for kids
Why buy a coupe? It’s quite a question when weighing up Mercedes’ E-class. For less money you could have the saloon ‘E’, which drives pretty much the same, has more cabin space, an extra pair of doors and five seats instead of four.
Going for a two-door car comes down to looks and to the fact that it’ll be rarer (and so more exclusive) than the four-door. And, true, the coupe has more about it to intrigue than the more workaday four-door. It’s no stunner but its lines are balanced and sufficiently different from the saloon’s. But the trade-off for its looks is that it’s less practical: access to the back seats is good but those huge doors make entering and exiting a struggle whenever you’re parked in a multi-storey. And in any case, leg- and head-room is only good enough for pre-teen kids.
Up front, though, driver and front passenger are looked after royally in seats that clench and relax around you via a series of adjust thumb-wheels. The cushions and bolsters adjust using air pressure, so the seats give a little ‘sigh’ as they release. You sit lower than in the saloon but the dash and switches are taken over from that car – they’re quality items and solid, if unadventurous. You can at least, when the weather is right, lower all four frameless windows. And there’s no door pillar to interfere with the air flow.
Ours is the E250 CDi BlueEfficiency. That’s a four-cylinder 204b hp diesel that, with the auto gearbox as fitted to ours, will return mid-40s mpg economy across a mix of trips. Tailpipe emissions are low, too – keeping road tax and company car costs sensible. It’s quick and quiet unless you stay with a middle gear and rev, when it’ll eventually clatter and growl. But, driven quick and relaxed, it is for us the best trade-off between power, smoothness and economy that you’ll find in this car.
It’s got that glued-to-the-road ride you expect only from a Mercedes – firm but absorbent. It will crash and thump, though when the surface is deeply pitted, behaviour that’s not helped by the 18in AMG wheels fitted to our Sport model. Turn in is accurate and assured but, as you’d perhaps guess this is more long-distance cruiser than back-roads speed machine.
Unlike Mercs of old, this car is well kitted out. Standard equipment includes a driver drowsiness sensor, a parking assistance set-up, a hill-holder foot brake, seven airbags and even a bonnet that pops up in a collision, the better to protect pedestrians. The boot's a big 'un and you can drop thew rear seat back easily to extend the space.
Should you buy one? Yes, and go for this model. Of the range, it’s the most sensible, the best value and the one where the engine best suits the car. It’s hard to go wrong, really.
To view and buy new and second-hand Mercedes E-classes on motors.co.uk, click here
* Note that the insurance group quoted below uses the new system of 1-50 categories
- Engines2.1 4-cylinder diesel
- 0-60 mph7.4secs
- Insurance groups40*
Motors.co.uk value verdict: