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Entry-level diesel successfully balances power with economy

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

The E-Class is a refined and relaxing return to old Mercedes qualities

What is it?

This is the new Mercedes E-class E250 CDI BlueEfficiency Coupe SE, which replaces the CLK. It is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor and borrows much of its design from the E-class rather than the C-class, particularly the dashboard, switchgear and trim level equipment.

Mercedes says the emphasis has been put on comfort, safety and economy. As a result, you get padded front seats unique to the coupe, seven airbags, a drowsiness detector, a pop-up bonnet and a range of fuel-saving measures as standard.

The Mercedes E250 CDI BlueEfficiency Coupe is powered by a four-cylinder 2.2-litre engine that has 201bhp and 369 lb ft of torque. It’s the most fuel-efficient engine in the E-class range.

Thanks to its 55.4mpg average and 135g/km CO2 emissions, the E250 CDI BlueEfficiency is expected to attract the bulk of E-class Coupe buyers, especially in the company car market, which Mercedes says it is actively chasing. To this end, Mercedes also says that it expects a growth in buyers selecting the cleaner six-speed manual gearbox option, which we test here. Previously, 95 per cent of buyers opted for the automatic gearbox.

What’s it like?

The Mercedes E250 CDI BlueEfficiency may be the baby of the engine line-up, but it wants for very little. It pulls the E-class Coupe along with enough pace to satisfy, if not exactly thrill, delivering impressive torque from low down the rev range.

As a result, there’s no need to push the engine hard, and noise intrusion into the cabin is kept to a minimum. This is backed up by impressively low levels of road and wind noise, especially given the frameless window design (something aided by the oh-so low 0.24 drag co-efficient), making the E-class Coupe’s cabin a relaxing place at all speeds.

Only if you do decide to hang on to a gear does the engine start to sound a touch gruff but, with the bulk of the torque so low down, there’s really very little reason to do this except for brief moments when you are overtaking.

What’s more, the engine suits the character of the E-class Coupe. While the car is dynamically sound and the steering weights up nicely, where it really excels is as a comfortable, quiet cruiser for racking up motorway miles in. The only potential downside is the ride, which is tends to feel a touch hard on slightly bumpy roads even when the dampers are put on the comfort setting.

manual gearbox is adequate, but it’s not hard to see why most buyers opt for the automatic ’box. Mercedes’ foot brake system makes hill starts a pain with the manual, and an auto ’box certainly suits the car’s style far better.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for an E-class Coupe, and prepared to wait until this engine becomes available (it’s expected in September), then this is the first engine you should take for a test drive. The E250 CDI BlueEfficiency is the cheapest diesel and most frugal engine in the E-class Coupe range, and delivers more than enough performance for most drivers. Unless budgetary or company car tax restrictions dictate otherwise, though, we’d go for the automatic version.

Join the debate

Comments
4

12 May 2009

Autocar, yours is a generally excellent magazine and website pairing.

However, your attention to figures and their accuracy is often borderline pathetic. Time and time again the figures you quote for fuel economy (as is the case here) differ from those given in the yellow data box at the bottom. 46.1mpg (itself immediately dubious) tallies not even remotely with 55.4mpg. So generally, I'm afraid I don't trust you, but verify such things on rivals' websites.

So please 'hold an enquiry', or get an 'independent review', or 'have a swimming pool fixed using taxpayer's money' - but sort this nonsense out! It's frustrating. At least for the moment put Jim Holder in the naughty corner.

12 May 2009

I am always disappointed at these "first drive" reviews. Even allowing for the fact that they are not meant to be the last word, they are very superficial. For example, MB claims that hill starts are made easy in this model, and made independent of the footbrake-handbrake, by pressing on the footbrake after coming to a stop. On touching the accelerator, the brake preventing roll back is released. The comment "Mercedes’ foot brake system makes hill starts a pain" is at odds with this. Why is there no allusion to this? Is the brochure/ handbook promise made by MB in error?

12 May 2009

Many apologies - the official figure is 5.1 l/100km or 55.38mpg. I'll make my way to the corner now...

Jim Holder

Editor, Autocar

21 July 2009

If you’re in the market for an E-class Coupe, and prepared to wait until this engine becomes available (it’s expected in September), then this is the first engine you should take for a test drive. The E250 CDI BlueEfficiency is the cheapest diesel and most frugal engine in the E-class Coupe range, and delivers more than enough performance for most drivers. Unless budgetary or company car tax restrictions dictate otherwise, though, we’d go for the automatic version.

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