E-Class Coupe joins the Mercedes NZ squad
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Following in the wide tyre tracks of the Mercedes-AMG E63 4Matic, which is the new performance pinnacle of the E-Class saloon line-up, work has begun on building the supporting pillars of the E-Class line.
Just about to go on sale in New Zealand is the new E-Class Coupe. Initially that means four-cylinder turbocharged E200 and E300 models and the bi-turbo V6-powered E400 4Matic.
The two-door choices will be topped off with an AMG version later this year and the final quarter of 2017 will bring the third pillar of the E-Class structure when new Cabriolet models land here.
Among the key themes with the arrival of the new C238 generation coupe is the return of the two-door model as a fully fledged part of the E-Class fold.
The previous generation C207 E-Class Coupe and the A207 Cabriolet models had been developed from the W204 C-Class platform.
But the new car shares the architecture and technologies of the W213 E-Class that launched in New Zealand last year and won the NZ Car of the Year award.
It's significant re-ordering of Mercedes-Benz two-door bloodlines with the latest C-Class exploring a sportier position and the larger E-Class following a luxury coupe theme.
The new coupe boasts a genuine four-seat cabin clothed in elegant two-door sheet metal and a slimline glasshouse which isn't interrupted by a fixed B-pillar.
The new car is 123mm longer than its C207 predecessor with the wheelbase extended by 113mm. It's also 74mm wider and 33mm taller, with the enlarged dimensions contributing to its presence on the road and its generous interior space.
Deep, sculptured flanks and an extended roofline flow back to a short rear deck where a smoothly integrated spoiler lip is the finisher for a powerful silhouette.
The coupe is 45mm lower than the E-Class saloon and in place of the twin horizontal bars running through the grille of the saloon, the face of the coupe features the diamond pin grille highlights.
One of the most convincing angles to view the E-Class Coupe comes when following the car down the road, with its powerfully wide rear haunches emphasised by the slimline rear light clusters.
Increased exterior dimensions yield more rear legroom, headroom, shoulder space and elbow room than the C207 and there's actually more rear legroom than an S-Class coupe.
A reclined rear-seat back angle assists with the useful headroom and, with load space measuring 425 litres, the new E-Class has slightly better weekend getaway credentials than either C-Class and S-Class coupe models.
Settling behind the flat-bottom steering wheel delivers an immediate impression of sitting a bit lower than in the E-Class saloon with the waistline at shoulder height.
Other immediate differences to the saloon are the automatic feeders for the front seat belts and stylish turbine- inspired air vents.
Any issues of restricted coupe visibility from the lower seat position and reduced glass area are largely countered by the large and clear rear view and 360-degree camera display, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert functions.
The new range begins with an E200 variant equipped with the 135kW and 300Nm version of the 1991cc direct injected turbo engine paired with the nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.
The E 200 wasn't part of the Melbourne-based launch programme. It's the same entry-level performance as the E200 saloon and the $102,900 price tag represents a $3000 premium for the sleek two-door. And there's added specification -- compared with the E200 Saloon -- with AMG exterior and cabin enhancements, 19-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels and illuminated door sills while leather upholstery is standard in the coupe.
The mid-tier E300 Coupe is priced at $122,900 and has the punchier 180kW version of the 2.0-litre engine with peak torque of 370Nm while also gaining a sports exhaust system.
The 180kW engine has recently livened up several C-Class variants and its combination of eager power and strong torque also works well in the E-Class.
It's accompanied by a purposeful engine note when it gets worked a bit harder and 0-100km/h can be achieved in 6.4 seconds.
The air suspension - standard for E300 and E400 versions - emphasises the scope of character the new coupe can deliver.
For the meantime - until an AMG model completes the line-up - the flagship E-Class two-door is the E400 4Matic Coupe.
It's priced at $151,900 and boasts the 2996cc V6 turbo engine with 245kW output and 480Nm of torque delivered to the road via the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.