By on June 17, 2009

I was expecting to dislike the new E-Class Coupe from Mercedes. AMG versions aside, the outgoing CLK was about as interesting to drive as a Toyota Solara, and Mercedes has already announced that there would be no AMG versions of the new car. From the early photos of E-Class Coupe, I had already determined that the large glass sunroof with its meager mesh sun protection would curry little favor with me, and the little rear quarter window spoiled the look of this frameless coupe. To make matters worse, the 2010 E-Class Coupe’s engines are carryovers from the CLK. Mercedes claims our fuel quality isn’t suitable for the new direct injected engines offered in Europe. (Translation: the US is a dumping ground for some old engine inventory.) The E-Class nomenclature is another sleight of hand, as the chassis is still derived from the C-Class. Harrumph.

Still, the new car is attractive enough: a bulldog version of its much larger CL brother. Aesthetic joy: the louvered fairings under the rear valence hearken back to the AMG Black Series CLK. There is an exuberance of glitz in front—acres of chrome and four (count ’em) fog lights—which make for quite an entrance.

This “the CLK has moved up a notch” theme continues inside, where Mercedes has blessed the dash materials with a welcome upgrade and jewel-like gauges. The E-Class Coupe’s cabin design may be overly square, but modern and luxurious. The two-door’s seats have a wide range of adjustability. While comfy, the leather quality could use [another] upgrading. That said, the steering wheel was covered in buttery smooth leather; well worth a lengthy caress. And although the aforementioned rear opera window is ugly, it enhances the model’s existing, class-leading outward visibility.

In terms of toys, there are more than enough gizmos to tease the gods of depreciation. The standard “attention assist” is little more than an alarm clock which shows you a picture of a coffee cup after a pre-determined period. [Ed: Coffee!] The sound system is state of the art, offering power and clarity for the standard high definition radio, available satellite radio, DVD changer, hard drive music register and MP3 player, all accessible via a COMAND center lifted from the S-Class that is intuitive and easy to use. E-Class Coupe’s adaptive lighting swivels in relation to turns and automatically dims the high beams when encountering oncoming traffic.

Distronic Plus radar cruise control is available on the small coupe for the first time. You can’t fault the algorithm, but I call it the “rude driver” encouragement system. You can also order advanced parking guidance, which is as silly here as in the Lexus applications. There is a hold function for the brakes at stoplights, but its operation was buried deep inside one of the electronic menus.

If I closed my eyes and tried to guess the E-Class Coupe’s brand (closed course, no stationary objects), I would have guessed 75/25 Mercedes/BMW. The Merc’s steering offers shocking heft and directness. Under wide open throttle, the 268 horsepower V6′s exhaust note is throaty and enthusiastic. The speed matched the sonic pleasure; the E-Class Coupe can complete the 0 – 60 jaunt in a scant 6.2 seconds. The Merc’s brakes were easy to modulate and effective. The car’s engineers have dialed-back Mercedes’ typical syrupy throttle tip-in by a few notches—although it still emphasizes smoothness over sport. The transmission felt creamy and effortless on part throttle but downshifted somewhat harshly when caned.

The E-Class Coupe’s handling is much improved versus the CLK, although initial turn-in lacked the bite and encouragement compared to its BMW 3 Series competition. Overall the driving experience is impressive, more involving when you want it but with an overriding sense of luxury and composure. Softer than Audi or BMW and perhaps lacking in a pure sporting edge. In other words, it’s a grand tourer.

So Merc’s moved the CLK upscale in image and pricing and changed the name to fool the innocent. That’s about half right. The pricing on the new E-Class Coupe is about the same as the outgoing CLK: $48,050 compared to $48,100 Needless to say, the E-Class Sedan is touted as $4,600 cheaper than the E-Class car it replaces. As usual, the Mercedes E-Class Coupe is more expensive than its German rivals; the BMW 328 with automatic starts at $38,650 (good luck finding one of those). The Audi A5 with automatic starts at $42,000. Preliminary fuel economy figures are listed at 18 in the city and 26 on the highway; the BMW is slightly more fuel efficient while the Audi is slightly less.

Once upon a time, you bought BMW for performance, Audi for style and Mercedes for luxury and prestige. Without giving up any of it traditional virtues, Mercedes has dialed-up the style and sport in this new E-Class Coupe, making the choice of one of these three alternatives more difficult than ever.

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19 Comments on “Review: 2010 Mercedes E-Class Coupe...”


  • avatar
    ravenchris

    How much would a ‘five star’ automobile cost…

  • avatar

    5 stars is about $80k to $100k+

  • avatar
    Ronman

    I liked this car at first, although I’m not a fan Of Mercedes, however it’s drag coefficient beats that of the Prius, and makes me wonder, what is it all about engineers designing hybrids that look as ugly as the next hybrid because of Cd and then you see this…

    however i do think the rear was designed by someone else, and since I’ve always been a rear person i like to look at it from the aft quarter rather than the fore..

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    I don’t know if it’s Mercedes getting better, me getting older, or both, but their latest cars really appeal to me. Good thing too, as I’m finally moving into “I could afford that – used” territory. Also, their new interiors are some of the coolest on the market appearance-wise.

    “it’s drag coefficient beats that of the Prius”

    There’s also rolling resistance, frontal area, etc. to consider. But overall you’re right – the new Prius is ugly with a capital UG!

  • avatar
    H. Koppinen

    There is a hold function for the brakes at stoplights, but its operation was buried deep inside one of the electronic menus.

    What do you mean by that? Does it need to be activated somehow from the menus.

    Also how much can the hold function cost because I sorely miss it when I drive an automatic other than a Mercedes.

  • avatar
    twotone

    I sat in one during a local MB release party (no test drives, just a dog and pony show). I’m not sure why MB needs another coupe in the line up, but hey, more power to them. All E coupes come with a panorama roof, but very limited back seat headroom. I’d take the CLS over the coupe if I was shopping for this type of car. Actually, an E63 in silver with all options, if you please.

    IMO the new E-Class looks even more like a Hyundai Genisis. The interior is a definite improvement, but the exterior does not do it for me.

    According to the MB reps, expect to see a E Class 4-Matic CDI this fall.

    Twotone

  • avatar

    So they still haven’t improved the leather huh? I’ve always found the stuff in the E and C felt rubbery and smelled like a glue factory. The MB Tex is a better choice and lasts decades.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While you can get a fully loaded 335 two door for the price of an entry level E class coupe, the Mercedes just isn’t a very compelling proposition for me. However, its nice to see that they are finally improving on their interiors.

  • avatar

    I hope the exterior looks less odd and more cohesive in person.

    Surprised to hear about the “heft and directness” of the steering. Is the steering that much different than that of the C-Class? I found the current C-Class a thoroughly boring car to drive.

    Based on responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, the current C-Class is about average in reliability so far–good for a Mercedes.

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    Absolutely beautiful car. I can’t wait to pick up a used one for $25,000 in three years.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Interesting that a Camry depreciates by 25% while a CLK depreciates by 50% in 3 years.

    One would be inclined to think used camrys are a poor deal while a used Mercedes is a much great deal.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    ravenchris:

    IIRC a Mini Cooper S earned five stars a while back.

  • avatar

    I went to Lakeside Mercedes Benz Monday for their E class showcase.

    As I am an owner of the S550, I recognized right away what changed between the S550 and the E-class.

    They’ve taken the S class interior and when they ported it over to the old E-class design, THEY SCREWED UP and left too many buttons around.

    My S550′s button design is clean and neat. The Eclass’ is so ridiculously complicated that most of the features go unnoticed.

    The worst of all is if you don’t buy every single feature. Then you end up with huge plastic space buttons that do nothing. Mercedes should have kept most of the functions inside the COMMAND system so that we could elleviate this problem.

    Why the hell do you take the S550′s phone dialer and add it to this car if you are just going to put the phone buttons on the center stack?

    The steering wheel clutter is ridiculous – especially if you have the 550 with its sport shift paddles.

    As for the Coupe…the size of the interiors is so great for the E sedan that when you get into the coupe, you end up in a smaller car than the C-class the E-coupe is based on. This is a car for SMALL people. The Sedan is fine though for taller drivers.

    All the safety features and advanced driving dynamic features go completely unnoticed. That’s actually good. THEY WORK. The ride is SOFT and its ultra quiet. I also love the Coupe’s Pillarless design because it basically allows you to get $109,000 CL class style in a $50,000 package.

    And boy do these Benzes depreciate. Even a $100,000 S-class drops to $60,000 with 20,000 miles on it. This car’s resale is going to take a NOSE DIVE like Air France.

  • avatar
    HighlyEvolved

    Wait.. the E-Class competes with the 328?
    I always thought it competed with the 5 series and the A6 (before the A5 existed)

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    I love the fact that MB is FINALLY putting some squares and angles back into their interiors. We have a pre-merger designed (1999) C280 in the family and that interior is still very attractive with decent materials and a solid “I’M GERMAN” style to it. Combine that with BMW really toning down the whole 7-series interior style and Audi’s dedication to their interior design and maybe there’s hope the German overdone and at times unattractive interior designs over the past two or so generations is going to end.

    That being said, all I see in the MB tail lamps is a dash of Avalon and Lexus LS-series. That does look like the weak point of the design.

    I’m also glad to hear that MB is not offering AMG on everything now. Maybe the economy or wretched resale values (or both) has a lot to do with that…or maybe they are waiting to watch the upcoming BMW disasters called the M-series X6 and X5 and laugh their butts off.

    The true MB test will be a year or two from now when solid quality scores start coming in. Hopefully the 2000-2008 timeframe of bad quality scores will be a bad memory.

  • avatar
    darkwing

    @Flashpoint: Too soon, don’t you think?

  • avatar
    chinny4290

    Currently owning a W124 E320 Coupe, I am thrilled to see that the E-Class Coupe nomenclature has returned though I’m hard pressed to accept that this car will do the justice that my E-Coupe (or the W124 has done) has done at the time of its debut.

  • avatar
    hans007

    i’ve sat in the E class sedan and coupe.

    The sedan is a much different vehicle (and i’d say nicer).

    The problem is the E class coupe is E class priced but made from a C class.

    if you sit inside them back to back you know they are the same. THe E class coupe for example has the same width, the same switch gear and even the same transmission selector.

    THe E sedan actaully has a column one with paddle shifters and you can feel taht its a different platform.

    If the E coupe was $10k less and called the C coupe, I think it would be fantastic. But just like the CLK it is $10k more but based on the same platform as the C sedan. It sort of ruins it that its expensive I guess.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    This car has a face only a mother could love. What’s up with these jelly bean-esque contortions?

    Rear head room much?

    I think we’d all be better off if automakers gave us more practicality, even in a coupe such as this. I know style sells cars initially, but I’m not sure the original owner doesn’t come to have buyer’s remorse for the trade-offs involved.

    And let’s hope MB has worked out the electronic and electrical gremlins that had many of their cars listed as least reliable for the several last years.


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