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Old 27th April 2010, 14:18   #1
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Default Mercedes E-Class Coupe (E350) : Test Drive & Review

What you'll like:

• Sporty skin on a luxury package
• Relaxed long-distance tourer
• Decent interior space for 2 + 2
• Comfortable high quality interiors
• Loaded to the brim with safety features

What you won't:

• Rather uninvolving to drive. Lacks a sporty flair
• Not really an E-Class. This Coupe is actually based on the C Class platform
• You're paying more for less (2 doors vs 4), thanks to CBU pricing
• Only one engine offered. No V8 petrol or V6 diesel on the Indian menu

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window.

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Old 27th April 2010, 14:19   #2
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Default Exterior

Mercedes unveiled their E-Class Coupe to the world back in 2009 at the Geneva Motor Show. A little more than a year later, it landed on our shores for sale as a CBU, complementing the earlier launched W212 E-Class Sedan. Link to launch (Pics and Report: Mercedes Benz E Coupe launch in Mumbai)

Globally the E-Class Coupe replaces the Mercedes CLK, which was always a bit of a lost child. The CLK name started with the possibly inferior alphabet (at least in merc-speak) but yet the car looked like an E-Class. Confusing! The name didn't do a very good job of holding its recall in the sea of SLK, CL, CLS, GLK and other similar badges either. The “E-Class Coupe” badging hopes to fix this problem by linking the car to the very well known E-Class Sedan. Add to that, it has that superior “E” in its name, which is a nice trick for a car that's actually based on the cheaper C-Class platform. Ofcourse, Mercedes says it also shares around 60% of its components with the E-Class Sedan, but a lot of those could very well be generic components shared across several Mercedes models.

From the front, the coupe stands apart due to its large star on the double-slat grille, shiny black panoramic roof, and side windows that are angled in more sharply towards the top. However, it still manages to clearly hold the E-class’ visual identity and styling cues, with its signature LED daytime running lights et al.

From a vantage point on the side, up until the A-pillar it would be hard to tell the difference between the coupe and sedan. However, once past the A-pillar the windshield rake drops and the roof-line swoops along in quite a dramatic contrast to the sedan's boxier looks. The shiny black panoramic roof and the sides of the passenger cabin flanked by end-to-end pillarless glass sure do get the car a lot of attention on the streets, with a majority greatly preferring the styling of the coupe to the sedan. Towards the rear, it still maintains the 1950s Ponton hips, and the short boot-lid has a subtle spoiler-lip formed into it, as part of this car's finely tuned aerodynamics. Mercedes has worked hard to get a drag co-efficient of 0.24 from the coupe, which they say is the best for any series production car yet.

The E-Coupe comes with a choice between 3 designs of 17” wheels as standard, all running on 235/45R17 Bridgestones. The car we drove had the optional 18” AMG wheels with 235/40 ContiSportContact 3s at the front, and 255/35s at the rear. Those are very low profile tyres. This made it harder for us to directly compare the ride quality with the Sedan’s 17” wheels and different underpinnings. Naturally, there was a noticeable difference in the ride quality but we must say that the coupe handled the 18”ers surprisingly well, even on some rough roads.

The swooping roofline flanked by pillarless glass

Notice the chrome strip mirroring the angled waistline, giving it a more dynamic look.

The sharp point at the center of the front bumper helps aerodynamics

18" AMG wheels as part of the optional AMG package
Bi-Xenon headlamps as standard, along with the LED fog / DRLs

Spreading its wings wide

Note the pronounced hips and the smoothly integrated boot lip

The rear still has its slightly controversial non-Mercedes styling. A center LED stop-light integrated into the boot lid adds a sporty look, along with the oval twin pipes and the small shark-fin style antenna at the tail end of the roof.

The bottom of the rear bumper has a slatted diffuser built in, another indicator of the finely tuned aerodynamics of this coupe.

The black roof adds an exclusive and sporty feel.

This tiny lip on the rear light reduces drag and also prevents mud and dirt from building up on the taillights, which might dull the brakelights!

You can see the windows angling in towards the top

The rear windows can roll down all the way

Quite an eye-catching car, especially from the front 3/4ths view

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th May 2010 at 15:46.
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Old 27th April 2010, 14:20   #3
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Default Interiors

When you open up the long pillarless doors of the coupe, the first thing you notice inside is the set of sporty bucket seats with their well integrated headrests. Drop into the seat and it has a large range of fore/aft movement, as well as adjustable seat base angle for the amount of thigh support you require, along with height. The manually adjustable rake/reach steering makes finding the perfect driving position a breeze.

Close the door, and you hear a few things happening. The rear window slides forward about a centimeter, and the front window slides up to seal the cabin off well. At the same time, right behind your shoulder, an arm thrusts the seatbelt forward, making it easier for you to grab. As soon as you click the seatbelt into the latch, the arm slides back into its default position.

The dashboard layout is virtually identical to the E-Class Sedan. If you missed our review on that (link), the comment to sum up the materials quality and fit and finish of the interiors was : "Dare I say, the interior quality of the E-Class is nearly up there with the mega S-Class!"

The steering wheel on the coupe is a bit different and has a nice chunky feel with a notch cut-out for your thumbs. Another major difference between the cars is the brushed aluminum highlight running along the length of the dashboard and door panels. This adds a younger and sportier feel, as well as brightens up the cabin in conjunction with the panoramic roof. From the inside the panoramic roof is about twice the size of a large sunroof. It starts just above the heads of the front passengers, which seems a little bit of a waste on a car that has its emphasis on the front seats. It does however add greatly to the feeling of space in the rear seats, as well as to the sporty look of the car from the outside, almost like a carbon fiber top, making it totally worth it. (Think E92 M3).

Safety is something that is always running strong in Mercedes' cars, but it's always hidden away well out of sight. This coupe has 6 airbags (a pair of front, side, and window), ABS, ESP, Seatbelt pre-tensioners, LED taillights which flash under panic braking, Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), Active headrests, Headlamp assist, Adaptive high-beam assist, Active bonnet to protect pedestrians in a collision, fuel supply cut-off and ofcourse the PRE-SAFE system (real life demo link (Mercedes Safety Tech Demo - At the Mumbai Airstrip)) which closes up the sunroof and windows if it senses the car might be heading for a collision or rollover, in order to prevent limbs from flying out of the car.

The rear bench is carved up into two bucket seats with non-adjustable headrests built into the seat. A fairly wide center console with storage space and cup holders runs between the two seats. With the sloping roof-line towards the rear, headroom at the back is a concern for anyone taller than 5’8” as their heads will touch the roof if they sit up straight. Rear legroom however is really not bad. The Coupe has a 4.4" shorter wheelbase than the E-Class Sedan, and an identical wheelbase to the C-Class. There are some 4-door hatches on the Indian market that have worse rear legroom. At the back, the ride can be a little bouncy over undulations. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the ride quality on this rear bench is anything like the back of the E-Class Sedan! The 18” wheels on our test car of-course further increased this difference.

Meaty steering wheel with cut out notches for your thumbs. A host of buttons for the MID and audio

Gear selector with the brushed aluminum surround. The C<>S button switches between Comfort and Sport modes for the transmission

The usual scatter of Mercedes buttons. Love the temperature control, fanspeed and mode buttons at the bottom which are like flat protrusions that you can toggle up or down

Decent sized footwell. No dead-pedal. Mercedes' standard foot-operated E-Brake

When the extra-long doors open to their full-open position, the door handles are so far out that reaching them from the front seats is quite a stretch

Arm-rest storage on the center console doesn't have an intuitive way to open it up. When you're sitting at the front, it's impossible to see the almost hidden buttons on the sides. Add to that, if your seat is very far forward, getting to those buttons is almost impossible since the backrest blocks them.

Center console storage space is adequate at best

Window and mirror controls. Mirrors can be set to automatically fold in on shutdown, via the MID.

The glovebox was quite tight. Barely any space in there for more goods

Seats have a long fore/aft travel. Our test car had manual adjusters, but all front seat adjustments will be electric on the cars sold here

Large panoramic roof. The front half slides up and out opening up the sunroof

Easily folding front seats made it easy to hop in the back, though the low roofline did negate that a little

The rear of the front seats has a hard-shell plastic, perhaps to minimize the long term wear of constant ingress/egress on the upholstery

The sculpted rear bench

An indicator of the rear legroom available when a 5'8" person is sitting up front. Rear benchers get their own A/C vents too

540 liter boot. Same capacity as the sedan

Rear seats can flip forwards, and have a 60:40 split as well

Rear visibility is acceptable while driving, but while parallel parking it can make things difficult. Ofcourse, there is the parking distance control to help you out.

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th May 2010 at 16:32.
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Old 27th April 2010, 14:21   #4
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Default Engine & Driving Experience

One of the major complaints we had with our E350 petrol sedan test car was the incredibly light steering feel, especially at triple digit speeds. This did not seem to be an issue on the deisel sedan, and isn't the case on the coupe either. However, the steering still remains on the lighter side and lacks any sort of involving feedback. When pushed on the ghat sections (with the ESP on), the handling was boringly neutral. In fact the car even had a slight flavour of understeer on a few bends. Turning the ESP off can help this – but if things get extreme the coupe will automatically turn the ESP back on. The brakes have excellent pedal feel and are very confidence inspiring too, something we've all come to expect from a Mercedes.

The 3,498cc petrol V6 is the only engine option offered on the coupe. It churns out 272hp @ 6000rpm. Virtually the same as the sedan. While 350Nm of torque is available all the way between 2400 and 5000rpm, while the sedan's specifications seems to indicate this only at 4500rpm.

With a kerb weight of 1735kgs (3825lbs), it sure is a quick car, making it to the century in about 7.6 seconds from what we saw in fairly adverse conditions. However, the smooth 7-speed `box coupled with the linear power delivery make it very hard to gauge this with your bum-dyno.

From the driver's point of view, there's really nothing sporty about this car. The exhaust is fairly quiet and only turns into a muted throaty growl when stepping down hard on the gas. There are no steering mounted paddle shifters for the auto-box. The looks aren't super aggressive, they maintain an elegant stance. It doesn't beg you to pushed harder. Overall, it's more suited as a luxurious and comfortable 2-door touring car than a sporty performance coupe.

The E Coupe is priced at Rs.54.83 lakhs Ex Showroom Mumbai. The E350 sedan is Rs.49.41 lakhs Ex Mumbai. That makes the price difference between the two 5.42 lakhs. Not too bad a premium given that its a CBU, however, Mercedes has kept the cost of this car lower due to the C-Class platform. Either way, its not a bad deal if you want to be different from the crowd, make a style statement or have a comfortable high speed touring machine. In other words, an E-Class badge without the grey-haired image.

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th May 2010 at 16:36.
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Old 27th April 2010, 14:22   #5
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Additional Points:

• On bad roads we had squeaking coming from the joint of the panoramic roof. Mirrors squeaked when they were electrically folded closed, and the cup holders were already broken. The sun-roof button kept clicking out of its position during use as well. The test car had less than 3,200km on the clock; maybe it had been a very rough 3k?

• You can feel the seatbelts pre-tension a little as soon as you clip them in. This can be turned off from the MID.

• Unlike the experience we had with the E350 petrol sedan, the brake-hold feature works in S(port) mode as well. On the sedan it only worked with the transmission in C(omfort) mode.

• At the launch, Mercedes said that they expect the coupe to make up 10-15% of E-Class sales. A very optimistic prediction if you ask me.

• However, if the volumes are good, Merc might consider the CKD route for the coupe.

• Mercedes has finally graced us with a convex LHS wing mirror. The sedan has a flat LHS mirror and gets many complaints.

• Mirrors do not tilt down when you engage reverse. A surprising exclusion given the limited rear visibility.

• Headrests on the rear bench are pretty flat and hard.

• Harman Kardon 7.1 sound system as standard. CD Changer + iPod integration included. We'd give the sound 7.5/10.

• The parking sensor goes off occasionally when you stop at a red light and a motorbike / pedestrian passes by the car. This can get irritating.

• There is a surprising amount of wind-noise with the sun-roof open, despite the pop-up wind diffuser. Definitely more than we noticed on the sedan.

• The media interface and the controller are just terrible. From a graphics point of view as well as an interface design point of view it leaves much to be desired.

• Many international journalists have reported that the chances of an AMG version of the coupe are slim. You can get cosmetic add-ons with the optional AMG kit though - as seen on our test car.

• Exhaust sounds a little racier when you're sitting on the rear bench. Other than that it's virtually the same as the sedan.

• On the Mercedes USA site, the E350 Coupe's F.E. figures are lower than the E350 Sedan's by about 1mpg! ARAI figures anyone?

• Keyless go is offered as standard, though it was not present on the review car so we were unable to test it.

• The Attention Assist system monitors several parameters and displays + sounds a warning if it feels the driver is tired and needs a break. Tried pretending to be asleep a couple of times, but couldn't get it to kick in

• This is the C207 platform. “C” designates the coupe bodystyle, similar to how “W” designates wagens (sedans) Eg. W212, W140, etc.

• The 7G-TRONIC has 7 forward gears and TWO reverse gears!

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th May 2010 at 16:43.
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Old 27th April 2010, 14:22   #6
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The Smaller yet Significant things :

The fuel flap is oval in keeping with the coupes lines, as opposed to the more square-ish flap on the sedan.

Suggested 95 (RON) octane fuel. Minumum 91.

The front window slides down and the rear glass slides back as soon as you pull on the door handle

Aerodynamically fine-tuned wing mirrors

Button to manually activate the belt-feeder. As well as turn off the parking assist

Brushed aluminum inlay on the dash and pillar-less doors

Integrated headrests - shown in different vertical positions. They will also move forward in a collision to prevent whiplash.

Large chrome grab-handle makes it easy and intuitive to flip forward the front seats.

AMG floormats on our test car (part of the optional AMG package)

The belt-feeder's plastic telescoping arm is the only part of this car that looks flimsy and likely to break soon

Rear side-panel with an armrest, speaker and button for the rear window.

Two slightly different sized cup holders and a storage space between the rear seats

The way the bottom of the front seatbelt is mounted to the chassis isn't really keeping with the design style and interior quality of this car. The bolts and washers used are an eyesore. Looks like they pulled a part off an oven and bolted it on.

Typical German light switch. DRLs can be programmed on or off from the MID.

The actuator for the "Active Bonnet" system which is for the safety of pedestrians / cyclists. A spring raises the back of the bonnet by 50mm when it senses the possibility of a collision. Can be manually reset.

Side-bags (airbags) integrated into the seat. Window-bags are present above the window.

Coat hook at the rear, but no grab handles. Dippy complained about having nothing to hold on to whilst sitting at the rear during a fairly spirited ghat descent.

Sunroof and cabin lighting controls

The net screen that can cover the entire panoramic roof. Helps a lot in the hot sun

Remote boot release located in the driver's side door

Thanks to Dippy and GTO for some of the pictures and points.

Last edited by Rehaan : 5th May 2010 at 12:43.
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Old 27th April 2010, 14:41   #7
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Excellent review, Rehaan & Dippy! Thanks for sharing. The E Coupe looks absolutely stunning, especially in the opening picture (well shot) and the side profile. The wheels are delicious too. I have to admit, I never really paid too much attention to the coupe thinking that its a boring design...but will have to eat my words after seeing these pictures.

For a CBU, I think the car is terrifically priced. It's only a 5 lakh rupee premium over the locally-assembled sedan. Compare that to the W211 E350 CBU which was priced at a FAT 70 lakhs on the road. Though most E Class owners are chauffeur-driven, this could make a viable option to the high-flying corporate type who drives himself, wants to be different and look younger . From the review, it seems to be a good GT-style long distance cruiser.

I wish the V6 diesel was offered. That, to me, is the more suited engine for India.
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Old 27th April 2010, 14:44   #8
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Nice write up Rehaan!

Coupe looks better than the sedan any day. Looks as big too.
CBU makes sense to MBIL as they would play it safe in the market. I wish they bring the V8 E-500 coupe later for petrol heads.
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Old 27th April 2010, 17:10   #9
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Sweet review - thanks a lot! I really love the detailed pics; after all quality lies in the details, no?

The car is stunning and the rims are just perfect - gorgeous package!
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Old 27th April 2010, 18:00   #10
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Default Excellent Review!!

Dear Rehaan

That is as comprehensive as a review can get! Fantastic job!!

Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Additional Points:
Unlike the experience we had with the E350 petrol sedan, the brake-hold feature works in S(port) mode as well. On the sedan it only worked with the transmission in C(omfort) mode.
Could you please explain how the brake-hold function works?

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Old 27th April 2010, 19:26   #11
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Congrats Rehaan and Dippy for the excellent review. That AMG kit certainly works wonders in the looks department.
However, can this compete with the BMW Z4 and the Audi TT?
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Old 27th April 2010, 20:49   #12
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Great review guys. Also very good pics guys! Those alloys look simply awesome.
Which other colors car would be available?

Those panoramic sunroofs also look very nice.

Whts the OTR of BMW Z4 and Audi TT. AFAIR BMW Z4 was 78L OTR Bombay without BSI!
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Old 27th April 2010, 21:01   #13
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Excellent review Rehaan and Dippy,good to see my fav coupe in detail and in a realistic way.
But the squeakes and wind noise were a dampener and fly on the ointment.
But still my favourite coupe,especialy in the (now default) white with black roof.
Only if they launch a diesel (with a manual?)would be looked as an alternative to the E sedan,but for indian luxury buyers an auto is default,so a diesel (bluefficiencyCDI) is the one.
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Old 27th April 2010, 21:20   #14
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Somehow, I'm starting to get the feeling that this design simply isn't working. The E Class sedan looks fine and regal but the coupe seems to be caught between sporty and regal. Its neither here nor there.
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Old 27th April 2010, 21:31   #15
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Originally Posted by jaguar.runs View Post
...CBU makes sense to MBIL as they would play it safe in the market...
Ofcourse. Any companies (publicly announced) projected sales figures for niche cars are always optimistic - realistically i think its quite unlikely to even warrant coming in as a CKD due to its volumes.

Originally Posted by anekho View Post
The car is stunning and the rims are just perfect - gorgeous package!
The AMG package sure does change this car around.
Without it the coupe starts to lose its sharpness and becomes a little bulbous, especially with a particular set of the stock multispoke alloys.

Originally Posted by Viju View Post
Could you please explain how the brake-hold function works?
Sure thing. In short, its just a quick and easy replacement for the handbrake / putting the car into N or D at traffic lights, or even during a hill stop.

To activate the Brake Hold function you have to bring the car to a complete stop and then tap the brake once again. "HOLD" appeards on the MID. Accelerate, and the brake hold turns off automatically. Quite convenient. I'm sure Dippy can elaborate more on this as he used it a lot.

Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
However, can this compete with the BMW Z4 and the Audi TT?
Are we talking price, comfort, performance?
I probably won't be able to give you a qualitative comparison anyway, as i haven't spent much time with the other two cars. We do have some Z4 and TT owners here, perhaps they can chip in.

Originally Posted by recshenoy View Post
Which other colors car would be available?
Will double check this and get back to you tomorrow.

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