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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - E-class - Coupe and Cabriolet

Detroit show: Two-door E-Class joins Benz outing

Blade runner: Mercedes’ refreshed E-Class cabrio shows the single-blade grille in its entirely new snout for 2013.

Mercedes reveals facelifted E-Class coupe and cabrio ahead of Detroit range debut

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Mercedes-Benz logo5 Jan 2013

By RON HAMMERTON

THREE weeks after spilling the beans on the revised E-Class sedan and wagon range ahead of its roll-out at this month’s Detroit motor show, Mercedes-Benz has now peeled back the cloak of secrecy on the coupe and cabriolet variants that will also share the limelight at America’s biggest auto expo from January 14.

The new E-Class coupe and cabriolet are due to land in Australia in September, a few weeks after the mid-year arrival of the updated sedan and wagon versions of Mercedes’ mainstream mid-sizer.

The new models are eagerly awaited locally, as the Mercedes E-Class coupe and cabrio twins are the top sellers in Australia’s $80,000-plus sportscar class, despite a 25 per cent slump in sales in 2012.

Photographs of the facelifted range show the two-door models share the same new bonnet and single-lens LED headlamps as the sedan and wagon, but separated by a striking single-blade grille in place of the two-blade affair on the four-door models.

Unsurprisingly, the coupe and cabriolet also share the new powertrain line-up and pioneering electronic safety features, with the latter collectively dubbed Intelligent Drive.

Anti-collision and driver drowsiness detection systems will be standard on the upgraded model, while a raft of other systems will be available as options or standard equipment on high-end models.

These include a system that can detect and display no-overtaking signs, as well as no-entry signs (in Europe, at least).

Adaptive headlights now are switched permanently to high beam, with an anti-dazzle feature masking the beam to prevent on-coming drivers from being blinded.

An automated parking system allows both parallel and end-on parking, while the lane-keeping system can now not only prevent the vehicle from leaving its lane if the next lane is occupied by another vehicle but also can stop the car wandering out of its lane if another car is approaching.

The main news on the powertrain front is the arrival of two new petrol engines in the E-Class range.

The old 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has been given the flick and replaced by the new turbocharged 2.0-litre BlueDirect four-cylinder armed with ‘guided direct injection’.

This engine produces 135kW in E200 guise and 155kW in E250 form – the same as the recently released B250 and upcoming A250.

Like the sedan and wagon, the two-door variants will also get Mercedes’ new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 245kW of power and 480Nm of torque – a variant high on Mercedes-Benz Australia’s wishlist.

To be called E400, the models with this engine are said to be good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 5.9 seconds – about half a second slower than BMW’s conceptually similar twin-turbo 3.0-litre 640i.

Fuel economy is said to be improved across the range, including on the three carryover diesel engines.

In Europe, a six-speed manual gearbox will continue to be offered, alongside the seven-speed automatic that is standard across the E-Class range in Australia.

The automatic has been tweaked for greater efficiency and easier service, and gains a new manual mode that slips back into efficient automatic mode if the driver does not continue to manually shift the gears.

The coupe and cabrio get so-called agility control suspension with dampers that automatically adapt to the road surface.

Electro-mechanical steering has been adopted, not only helping to save fuel but also making parking assistance possible.

An audio system with a 14.7cm colour screen is standard, while the internet-connected Comand system with 17.8cm display is optional.

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