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Our UK drive of Mercedes' new E 300 Coupé reveals that its turbocharged four-cylinder is a strong performer, but it’s not the engine we’d choose

What is it?

Yet another Mercedes-Benz E-Class variant. That’s right, in less than a year since the release of the Saloon, Mercedes has unveiled (and/or released), deep breath: an Estate, a Convertible, a beefed-up All-Terrain, the supercar-baiting E 63 saloon and now this, the Coupé. That’s the sixth E-Class model in an eclectic line-up, and coincidentally, the sixth generation of E-Class Coupé; a lineage that started way back in 1968 with the iconic W114.

And unlike the previous generation car, which was based on a Mercedes-Benz C-Class platform, this is a proper ‘E’ underpinned by Mercedes-Benz’s new MRA (modular rear architecture) platform. It’s a move which brings about an increase in dimensions – in short, it’s 23mm longer and 74mm wider, with a significantly wider track front and rear than its predecessor.

The benefits are obvious. Passengers are treated to a more spacious interior, the car sports a more imposing stance and Mercedes claims improvements in high-speed stability. Strangely, boot capacity has dropped by 25 litres, down to a total of 425 litres, but then again, who really buys a Coupé with practically as their first concern?

Buyers get the choice of three engines in the UK - one diesel and two petrol units ranging in power from 191bhp to 328bhp. We were smitten with the entry-level E 220 d when we tested it in Spain earlier in the month, thanks to its smooth power delivery, superb nine-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive traction. However, despite its impressive levels of refinement, it wasn’t the last word in performance or agility; a complaint that we hope this car might be able to address.

The car tested here is the E 300 Coupé which sits between the E 220d and the significantly more expensive E 400 4Matic Coupé. Under the bonnet lies a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine which produces a healthy 242bhp and 273lb ft of torque. Drive is sent through the same nine-speed box, but this being a non-4Matic model, 100% of the power is sent to the rear wheels.  

What's it like?

A little confusing, if we’re honest. Due to its larger dimensions, and Mercedes’ Russian Doll styling, most will have a hard time telling the new E-Class Coupé apart from its bigger and more significantly pricier S-Class Coupé cousin. With frameless windows, an arcing roofline and the standard-in-the-UK AMG Line design package, this really does feel like a grade A Luxury product. Well, until you thumb the starter button that is.

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Where the 3.0-litre V6 of the E 400 delivers a smooth and refined start-up, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder chimes into life with a rather gruff four-cylinder thrum. Thankfully, once on the move, the engine settles down into little more than a background hum, but with less low down torque than both the diesel and aforementioned six-cylinder, overtakes elicit a larger flare of revs. This lack of serenity wouldn’t be a problem in a lesser model, but in the limo like Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it quickly grates.

That said, it’s hard to argue with the raw performance of the turbocharged four. Despite weighing a whopping 1,685 kg, the E300 can complete the run from 0-62mph in just 6.4sec, and with Sport Plus mode selected, throttle response is sharp, gearshifts are slick, and you’re even treated to the odd artificial parp on upshifts.

Selecting Sport Plus also has the added effect of tightening up a predominately luxury biased chassis. Equipped with optional air suspension and riding on 19in wheels, our car demonstrated an impressive compliance on undulating country roads, but the downside was a significant degree of body lean. By knocking the driving mode into Sport Plus, those body motions were immediately suppressed, with the car feeling more tied-down as a result.

However, for driving around town and long-distance cruising, Comfort is the go-to setting. The electro-mechanical steering has a more natural rate of steer, the suspension exhibits impressive levels of compliance and the gearbox is less likely to hang onto its gears. Our only complaint was that smaller sudden imperfections were perhaps a little more noticeable than expected – a characteristic we have previously experienced in other air sprung Mercedes.

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Interior-wise, the cabin feels more premium than anything else in this class. Acres of brushed wood, aluminium and leather line the dash, and the optional 13-speaker Burmester stereo sounds superb. Our car also came with two optional 12.3in displays, one for the instruments and one for the infotainment system, with the latter being operable either via touchpads on the steering wheel or a rotary dial controller and a touchpad on the centre console. It was utterly bewildering to use at first, but once acquainted, the system is quick to use and responsive to inputs. 

Should I buy one?

If you’re after a stylish yet practical coupé with effortless performance, then you should certainly consider an E-Class Coupé - although, perhaps not this one. In truth, the E 300 will likely find itself even further down most buyers' lists once the range adds a six-cylinder 350 d diesel and AMG variants later this year. 

You see, as things stand, the E 300 is a victim of its sibling’s success. The entry-level E 220 d offers significantly better fuel economy, greater flexibility and is fractionally cheaper to buy. Whereas, if you want hot-hatch troubling straight-line performance, and don’t care too much about fuel bills, then the six-cylinder E400 4Matic is the better choice.

Mercedes-Benz E 300 Coupé 2017 review

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Location Surrey, UK; On sale Now; Price £41,025; Engine 4 cyls, 1991cc, turbo, petrol; Power 242bhp; Torque 273lb at 1400rpm-4000rpm; Gearbox 9-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1685kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 6.4sec; Economy 61.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 160g/km, 31% Rivals Audi A7, BMW 6 Series

 

 

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chandrew 6 April 2017

Just had one for 24 hours

My dealer lent me a E400 coupe for a day. I'm in the market for an E400 estate (I'm in Switzerland and we don't have such a diesel culture as in the UK) but the only E class estates he had were E43s. I don't really want something so shouty.

I thought that the E400 was a nice car. As said in comfort or eco it's very calming. Switch-on the self-steering cruise and the miles just disappear. Switch it in to Sport plus and its possible to make very good progress on a twisty road.

Back seats are good though and can carry adults in comfort. Boot size was decent.

The coupe's not sporty but is a nice, good looking car for cruising. Given this I'd probably be thinking convertible over coupe.

I haven't driven a e300 but I did drive a Volvo V90 T6, again with a powerful turbocharged 4 cylinder. They certainly are powerful but the manner in which they go about it isn't particularly nice.

chandrew 6 April 2017

Just had one for 24 hours

My dealer lent me a E400 coupe for a day. I'm in the market for an E400 estate (I'm in Switzerland and we don't have such a diesel culture as in the UK) but the only E class estates he had were E43s. I don't really want something so shouty.

I thought that the E400 was a nice car. As said in comfort or eco it's very calming. Switch-on the self-steering cruise and the miles just disappear. Switch it in to Sport plus and its possible to make very good progress on a twisty road.

Back seats are good though and can carry adults in comfort. Boot size was decent.

The coupe's not sporty but is a nice, good looking car for cruising. Given this I'd probably be thinking convertible over coupe.

I haven't driven a e300 but I did drive a Volvo V90 T6, again with a powerful turbocharged 4 cylinder. They certainly are powerful but the manner in which they go about it isn't particularly nice.

80sXS 6 April 2017

God this really is awful!

I think I said at the time of the first photos that the quarter light makes it look like a 4-door saloon, nothing like the elegant coupe it should be. Even black bodywork with a blacked out rear side window and quarter light makes no difference whatsoever. It just looks like a bloated Audi A5. And who the hell designed the interior, IKEA?

I'd take one W114 over ten of these.