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Driven: Merc sharpens two-door E-Class equation

All class: Mercedes-Benz Australia is hoping for a boost in sales for its facelifted E-Class Coupe range.

Updated Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet now cheaper, better equipped

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9 Aug 2013

MERCEDES-BENZ is expecting a slight bump in sales for its refreshed E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet range, thanks to a new entry-level variant and improved value for its higher-spec models.

The German marque has “repositioned” the two-door range in Australia to include a new E200 base model, pushing the former entry-level E250 into the mid-spec slot, while the outgoing mid-spec E350 and flagship E500 V8 have been replaced by a single new V6 E400.

As previously reported, the introduction of the E200 base model has lowered the entry price for an E-Class Coupe to $79,900, down $15,100 from the outgoing base model E250 that started from $95,000, while the new E200 Cabriolet brings the entry price down from $107,850 to $88,900, a reduction of $18,950.

The model and pricing reshuffle means a number of models are cheaper than before, including the only diesel in the range, the E250 CDI, which now starts at $98,900, a drop from $101,500. Mercedes-Benz has discontinued the diesel Cabriolet because of slow sales.

Based on the additional equipment and change in pricing over the previous model, Mercedes’ local arm is claiming value improvements of around $20,000 for the E400 Coupe and $15,000 for the E400 Cabriolet and E250 CDI Coupe.

The E250 Coupe improves in value by $10,000, while the E250 Cabriolet sees the buyer gain a $17,000 advantage.

The range benefits from the major facelift that is evident across the entire E-Class line-up, with a new face and new panels from the A-pillar forward, however the Coupe/Cabriolet twins retain the same pronounced panels above the rear wheel arches as the previous model.

Mercedes-Benz Australia manager of corporate communications Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto he expects traditional Mercedes customers will be drawn to the new range, as well as buyers from other premium brands.

“The value equation on the E400 is so good,” he said. "With the E200, we are hoping to do what we are currently doing and a little bit more from either side of the E Coupe and Cabriolet segment.”

The pre-facelift E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet has averaged around 60 sales per month in Australia this year, for a total of 403 units shifted to the end of July, and was the top seller in its segment last year with 1034 sales, beating both the BMW 3 Series and Audi A5.

Mr Stamoulis says he hoped for a modest boost to the 60 per month with the introduction of the updated model but that would depend on a number of factors, including the release of BMW’s 4 Series range.

“It comes down to deliveries, and what happens with (BMW) 4 Series. We will do everything we can to deliver what we can. We want to continue to lead this segment. If we win the segment, great, so long as we are selling what we are getting, we will be very happy.”

Merc’s new-generation 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine powers both the E200 and E250, although the version in the base model has been slightly detuned to produce 135kW and 300Nm.

The E250 gets an extra 20kW of power for a total output of 155kW/350Nm and can sprint to 100km/h in 7.1 seconds, or 7.5s in the drop-top, while the E200’s sprint time is a tad slower at 8.0 seconds in the Coupe and 8.6s in the Cabriolet.

Mercedes has essentially replaced the former range-topping V8 E500 and the six-cylinder E350 variants with the new E400 flagship and while the Coupe costs slightly less than the old E350 ($128,545 compared to $131,600), the Cabriolet is just $350 dearer at $142,545.

This also means the cost of getting into a top-spec E-Class two-door Cabriolet has been cut by around $44,000.

The new flagship is powered by a 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 producing 245kW and 480Nm of torque, which betters the outgoing 3.5-litre V6 E350’s 200kW/350Nm, but can’t match the bigger E500’s power of figures of 285kW/530Nm.

The E250 CDI carried over an updated version of the 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel and manages a zero to 100km/h time of 7.4 seconds.

All models in the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet range are matched with an updated seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters as standard.

Mercedes is claiming improved fuel efficiency with the updated E-Class two-door range, thanks to the use of “stratified lean-burn process in combination with exhaust-gas turbocharging and external high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation” in its four-cylinder ‘BlueDirect’ unit.

Both the E200 and E250 Coupe have official combined fuel use of 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, while the Cabriolet versions of those models can achieve 6.5L/100km.

The more powerful E400 Coupe sits at 7.5L/100km (7.7L/100km for the Cabrio) and the E250 CDI diesel rates an impressive 4.7L/100km.

An upgraded dash and new materials feature in the E-Class cabin, with new additions including white-backed dials, a new full-colour display and a restyled centre console that is missing a gear selector - now housed on the steering column.

Base E200s feature standard equipment such as multi-function leather steering wheel, leather sports seats, cruise control with speed limiter, reversing camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, automatic climate control, parking assist, heated and folding external mirrors, idle stop and 18-inch alloy wheels.

E250 Coupe and Cabriolet models get larger 19-inch wheels, electrically adjustable front seats with memory function and Mercedes’ Driver Assistant Package that includes blind spot and lane-departure warning, ‘Distronic Plus’ with active cruise control and steering that maintains the lane you are traveling in and LED head-lights.

Stepping up to the E400 means the inclusion of DAB digital radio, a Harmon Kardon surround system, metallic paint, a 360 degree camera and a panoramic sunroof.

Standard gear on the Cabriolet mimics the equivalent Coupe variant, but the drop-top obviously misses out on the sunroof and adds the ‘Aircap’ electric air deflector and rear draught-stop on all variants, while the E250 and E400 feature the ‘Airscarf’ heating system that warms the driver and front passenger’s necks when the roof is lowered.

Benz has maintained a solid list of standard safety gear for its five-star crash rated E-Class Coupe/Cabriolet range, with 11 airbags, driver fatigue warning, ‘Pre-Safe’ accident anticipation system, brake assist and a warning to let the driver know the brake pads are wearing.

Mercedes offers a number of comfort and safety packages as options across the range, notably the AMG Sport package which adds 19-inch AMG wheels, a spoiler, AMG body styling, red seat belts brushed stainless-steel sports pedals and black leather seats with contrasting red stitching for $9200 on the E200 and $7100 on all other variants.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class two-door pricing*
Coupe
E 200 (a)$79,900
E 250 (a)$96,400
E 250 CDI (a)$98,900
E 400 (a)$128,900
Cabriolet
E 200 (a)$88,900
E250 (a)$106,400
E 400 (a)$142,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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