Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - E-class - coupe range
21 Jul 2009
MERCEDES-BENZ is counting on the diesel-powered E250 CDI BlueEfficiency to blaze the way for its new C207 E-class Coupe in Australia.
On sale now from $97,500, the diesel coupe is $3000 more expensive than the new base car – the $94,500 E250 CGI BlueEfficiency Coupe – but offers only slightly less torque for a fraction of the fuel use and emissions rating than the old V8 petrol-powered C209 CLK500 costing more than $155,000.
However, both the four-cylinder E-class Coupes are $5461 and $8641 dearer respectively than the outgoing $88,859 CLK200K Elegance coupe.
They are not due in dealerships until late this year, leaving the $127,500 V6 petrol-powered E350 Coupe and $174,500 V8 petrol-powered E500 Coupe newcomers.
Compared with their preceding CLK350 Elegance and CLK500 Elegance equivalents, the new E350 Coupe is $2414 more expensive, while the V8 version $18,695 pricier.
Against the $99,452 CLK280 Elegance, the E350 Coupe gap is even bigger, to the tune of over $28,000.
Nevertheless, lined up against their direct CLK equivalents, the E-class Coupe models offer between $9500 (E350) and $28,000 (E500) worth of extra standard features, a Mercedes-Benz spokesman said.
These include variable-ratio Direct Steering, a reversing camera and visual guidance icon, 18-inch alloy wheels, “intelligent” bi-Xenon high intensity discharge headlights and nine airbags, including a knee airbag.
The E500 Coupe’s bounty over the CLK500 includes an AMG body kit, true keyless entry and go, panoramic sunroof, an alarm and high-end Harmon Kardon audio system.
The company hopes that eliminating the CLK badge for E-class Coupe will increase the sales fortunes of the model.
The original E-class Coupe debuted with the W114 sedan-based C114 in 1968, then progressed with the C123 generation in 1977, and finally died with the C124 in the mid-1990s.
There was no coupe version of the first true compact Mercedes sedan (W201 190E) from 1983 to 1993, but the Germans rectified that with the 1993 W202 C-class based C208 in 1997. This evolved in the outgoing C209 CLK (spawned from the W203 C-class released in Australia in 2001) from 2002 to 2009.
The new, Bremen-built C207 E-class Coupe, then, is actually a W204 C-class underneath, although it shares no exterior or interior panels.
Compared with the old CLK, the body is longer and wider by 46mm, but adopts its twin-headlight visage, albeit in a new E-class sedan fashion. The rare 1955 ‘Ponton’ S220 Coupe served as a design inspiration for this car.
Pillarless side windows and an almost two-box fastback roofline are the C207’s signature profile elements, while all-LED tail-lights are incorporated.
It is the most aerodynamic passenger car in production, with a drag co-efficient starting at 0.24Cd, pipping the newly released Toyota Prius III by just 0.1Cd. Aiding this is a full-length undertray.
Like the W212 sedan that is assembled in Sindelfingen in Germany, this car has undergone 34 million kilometres of testing involving some 1400 development prototypes.
Some of the sedan-sourced safety innovations include Attention Assist driver fatigue detention, the Intelligent Light System, Adaptive High-beam Assist, Distronic Plus radar-guided cruise control and the Pre-Safe Brake device.
Engines are compatible with the W212 E-class sedan.
The base unit is the E250 CGI (due in November), powered by a 1.8-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder engine producing 150kW at 5500rpm/310Nm at 2000-4300rpm, and using a five-speed automatic gearbox. Here it delivers 7.0 litres per 100km and a carbon dioxide emissions rating of 164 grams per kilometre.
Like in the E-class sedan, this powerplant has homogenous direct injection to deal with our high-sulphur unleaded petrol.
Available now is the 3.5-litre petrol V6 which develops 200kW at 6400rpm/350Nm at 3000-5100rpm, mated to Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission to help achieve 9.5L/100km and 222g/km.
The final petrol Coupe variant for the time being is the 5.5-litre V8 E500 which develops 285kW at 6000rpm/530Nm at 2800-4800rpm. Also using 7G-Tronic, it serves up 11L/100km and 256g/km.
Mercedes-Benz says that as an AMG version is unlikely, this will be the performance flagship E-class Coupe for the foreseeable future.
On the diesel front, only a single 2.2-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel will be made available in the E250 CDI Coupe, offering 150kW at 4200rpm/500Nm at 1600-1800rpm, as well as 5.3L/100km and 158g/km. It too drives the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox.
Underpinning the C207 is a wheelbase that grows 45mm over the CLK to 2760mm. At 1538mm and 1544mm, the front and rear tracks are 33mm and 70mm wider respectively.
The three-link front suspension employs MacPherson struts and a front anti-roll bar, while the rear axle uses a multi-link independent design and an anti-roll bar.
Steering is via a variable ratio powered rack and pinion set-up that Mercedes dubs Direct Steering.
On the brake front, the ventilated front disc brakes vary from 295mm to 344mm up front depending on engine size, while the solid rear discs are 300mm in diameter.
BlueEfficiency, meanwhile, is the collective name for numerous measures Mercedes has devised to decrease consumption and maximise efficiency.
These include the aforementioned leading aerodynamics, a more efficient alternator, direct fuel injection, turbocharging, smaller engine displacements, an on-demand power steering pump and fuel pump, lower rolling resistance tyres, and an optimised air-conditioning compressor.
On all other models, buyers can forgo the otherwise standard Avantgarde trim for the Elegance look at no extra charge, since it more closely adheres to the more traditional Mercedes style of a chrome-plated grille, among other things.
Standard features include adaptive dual front airbags, full-coverage side airbags, window airbags, knee airbags, adaptive brake lights that flash when applied hard, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, anti-whiplash head restraints, Pre-Safe anticipatory occupant protection, an auxilliary connector, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, remote central locking, climate control air-conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, daytime driving lights, cruise control and electrically adjustable front seats.
A vast array of options is available, including a TV tuner, sunroof, keyless-go entry and start, an AMG sports pack, premium audio and satellite navigation.
The AMG packs add $5700 to the price on the non-E500 Coupe cars.
Mercedes hopes the E-class Coupe will exceed the sales of the CLK, with the E250 CDI accounting for at least half of all volume. Around 1200 cars a year are slated when the full range is available.
“With all that torque and refinement, as well as fuel economy, we expect this to be the most popular model,” one company spokesman said.
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