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Mercedes E-Class Coupe review: Timeless elegance
WE all have a certain image of ourselves that we both buy into and try to sell. Mine involves being the sort of fat (or at least slightly rotund) cat, chewing on an unlit stogie as he sallies through life in search of a soiree to crash.
That could be why I've found myself quite taken with the new Mercedes E-Class Coupe, which is just the sort of car for such a chap.
The E-Class Coupe is exactly what its names sounds like: essentially, the classy and stately E-Class sedan, to which elegance and glamour have been added via the simple expedient of subtracting of two doors.
In the strange arithmetic of the car world, fewer doors tends to cost more money, so the entry-level E 200 Coupe is priced at S$274,888 with Certificate Of Entitlement, compared to S$252,888 with COE for an E 200 with four doors.
As for the E 300 Coupe tested by The Business Times, you'll have to scrounge up S$326,888 to drive one.
Either way, you'll be buying a car with pedigree. The E-Class Coupe can trace its lineage to 1969's Mercedes 250C, and most of its forebears are now considered classics.
Oddly enough, though the Big Three German luxury brands tend to mirror each others' every move, Audi and BMW have no direct rivals to the Mercedes. There is no two-door A6 or 5 Series, as if the other two took one look at the E-Class Coupe and decided that trying to top it would be a waste of time.
I can't say I blame them. There's something so well-proportioned and elegant about the E-Class that looking at it makes the heart ache with longing.
The interior is just as fetching, with plush upholstery and a tangible air of opulence to the way it's all assembled and presented. The polished wood in the cabin is a particularly lovely reminder of why timelessly luxurious materials are, well, timeless, and only a dashboard this classy looking could manage to not look ridiculous covered in blue leather.
Even though it has only two doors and four seats, the Mercedes makes the most of them. Climbing into the rear doesn't require a toddler's suppleness of spine, and once back there, you're unlikely to feel hemmed in (unless you play for the NBA). Four adults could zip along inside the E-Class Coupe in decent comfort, in other words.
But with cars like these, generous space in the back is merely a bonus. The only seats that matter are those in front, and from there the E-Class Coupe is quite an experience.
It's a preternaturally soothing car to be in, all hushed on the move and genteel over bumps. Excitement is the wrong thing to expect from the Mercedes, however. The steering feels delicate, but the E 300 Coupe never feels particularly eager to change direction.
It actually accelerates vivaciously, but the engine's low, agricultural growl is a signal that both you and the car would enjoy yourselves more if you were content to cruise instead of race.
The four-cylinder engine's voice actually reminded me of the way Mercedes engines used to sound in the 1990s. The way a little robot arm extends to offer you your seatbelt is a neat callback to the Mercedes CE of the 1980s, too.
Things like that only serve to highlight a certain timeless quality about the E-Class Coupe, though, and climbing aboard the new one instantly reminded me of the two-door CE coupes that I used to lust after as a boy. Come to think of it, seeing one then was probably when I decided I would have quite liked being a fat cat someday.
MERCEDES-BENZ E 300 COUPE
Engine 1,991cc, 16V, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 245hp at 5,500rpm
Torque 370Nm at 1,300-4,000rpm
Gearbox 9-speed automatic
Top Speed 225km/h
0-100km/h 6.4 seconds
Fuel efficiency 6.4L/100km
Price S$326,888 with COE