I was a bit apprehensive about testing the new E200 Coupe – after the AMG C43 with its amazing twin-turbo V6, I felt that anything else other than an AMG C63 would be a let-down.
Still, the E-Class Coupe E200 is not a tyre-shredding AMG – it is aimed at your Audi/BMW/Lexus coupe buyer – can the new E200 Coupe be a viable contender in the luxury coupe stakes?
Mercedes-Benz sent us one to find out.
There’s three models to pick from in the E-Class Coupe range; the E200, E300 and E400 4MATIC. Both the E200 and E300 are fitted with the same 2-litre turbo four-cylinder, in the E200 it puts out 135Kw of power and a fairly decent 300Nm of torque, while the E300 gives you 180Kw and 370Nm.
The E400 4MATIC – which costs 50% more than the E200 – is fitted with a 3-litre V6 bi-turbo motor. It pumps out 245Kw and a does do some tyre shredding with 480Nm of torque. Being the 4MATIC it is all-wheel-drive over the ‘cheaper’ two models’ RWD. All models are fitted with the excellent 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission.
The base price for the E200 is $102,900, the E300 is $122,900 and the E400 4MATIC $151,900.
The E200 is fitted with 19” alloy wheels, full leather interior, Driver Assistance Package and the all-new Widescreen Cockpit (more on that later). The E300 changes the wheels for 20”, has air suspension, heated front seats, Multibeam LED headlights, and a sports exhaust system. The E400 then adds a Burmester surround sound audio system, heads-up display, metallic paint and a panoramic glass sunroof.
Of course, the list doesn’t end there. Even the base E200 is pretty well kitted out, with ambient lighting that can be changed to any one of 64 colours, AMG sport pedals in brushed stainless steel, COMAND infotainment system that include SatNav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, automatic dimming rear-view mirror, analogue clock, automatic seat-belt feeders for front seats, black ash open-pore wood trim, digital radio capability, electric park brake, air-conditioned glovebox, interior LED lighting package, electric front seats (including headrests) with memory function and 4-way adjustable lumbar support, 4-way electrically adjustable steering wheel, paddle shifters, dual-zone AC, touchpad controller, automatic wipers and lights, keyless entry and start, LED headlights, LED DRLs, Active Parking Assist, 360-degree camera, hill start assist, Driving Assistance Package which includes: Drive Pilot, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. That’s a lot of assists.
The other two models don’t add too much to the feature list; as mentioned the E300 has air suspension, sports exhaust and adaptive high-beam headlights. The E400 comes standard with a panoramic glass sunroof.
Our test car was fitted with the Vision Package, which includes a heads-up display, panoramic glass sunroof with electric blind and heat-insulating glass and the excellent Burmester surround sound audio system, at a cost of $4,990.
We also had the optional 20” multi-spoke AMG alloys on our test car, and they really suited it. For $1,400, I’d be very tempted to option these in as a buyer. Our test car also came with the Vision Package ($4,990), Night Package ($990) and heated front seats ($900). These options pushed the price up to $111,180.
First thing to catch your eye? The ‘Powerdomes’ on the elongated bonnet. Overall, the E200 is a stately and sexy looking ride, but these Powerdomes add that sporty touch.
Over the week with the car, lots of people – people I knew, or were just walking past – commented on the styling. While it’s not that far off from the previous model, Mercedes-Benz have nailed it with just the right proportions and dynamic styling. It looks superb, and is unmistakably Mercedes-Benz.
It also looks long and wide – and it is. It almost doesn’t look like a coupe at some angles, but any angle is a pleasing one. Well done, MB. I love how the rear windows actually go down, and more than once I lowered all the windows to get the most of that pillarless design. Sexy? Oh yeah.
The rear is large and imposing, but well-proportioned as well, and it was cool to see a flip-down badge a-la VW where the reversing camera lives.
You can see our test car was Polar White – I’m not a white fan (although it’s nowhere near as bad as grey) however for the Mercedes, it suited it perfectly. I can imagine this is a very popular colour for the E-Class. You can pick from a range of 11 colours, however only red is a stand-out – the others are generally shades of grey or white, with a subdued green and a light blue thrown in. As always, black is there too, as well the Hyacinth Red Metallic at $1,000 extra.
Most people who saw the E200 Coupe thought it was at least a $150K car, not a car starting at $102K. Credit to MB on the design front.
Well, black is the colour of the day here. Black seats, door panels, headlining, pillars and even the open-pore wood dash is black. Does it look good? Yes. Is it dark? Yes. You can (and I always did) leave the electric blind of the panoramic sunroof open and this helps heaps. There’s no getting away from it, black everywhere. Note though that you can switch to open-pore Maple at no cost, if you wanted to get away from the black wood on the dash and door panels.
In saying that, those ‘turbine’ dash vents look fantastic; the whole dash area looks classy, expensive and a more than a little futuristic. People loved it, and so did I. At night, you can pick from any of 64 colours to be able to have the interior lighting display for you – right along the dash, doors – just about everywhere I had a nice blue hue thing going. Sure, it’s a guy thing but it looked so good. I took any excuse to go out at night just to experience it.
Luckily, MB hasn’t used the tacked-on-display system from other models and instead have used the Widescreen Cockpit concept, developed for the S-Class. There are two 12.3” displays now as part of the new Widescreen Cockpit design – the centre one, and the driver’s one. Naturally you can customise either; this is so easy, I’d often change them whenever I took the car out. I can’t find the resolution used for the displays, but be confident it’s high. Instead of being the failing of the car, the centre display and dash are now one of its best features. I love both of them.
Of course you get your normal 360-degree camera view, and like other manufacturers it turns whatever camera on that’s needed if you get too close to something. I always love this touch. You also get a ‘rims’ view, which gives you a rear view of both sides of the car, but it looks about 1” wide – but you can see both front rims, so can make sure you aren’t getting to close to either curb.
The E200 Coupe has Mercedes-Benz’s normal electric seat adjusters on the doors, and you can even adjust the passenger’s seat with the driver’s door buttons. I thought this was a bit pointless to start with, but I could see some people liking this feature, say if you had an elderly person in the passenger’s seat, and they couldn’t work the controls.
I also liked that, when you move either front seat rearward, the electric headrest automatically rises to accommodate for a taller person. Nice touch.
Rear legroom isn’t bad if the driver is not too tall, but does disappear if they are. Overall it’s more than acceptable, and apparently the seats back there are very comfortable. As mentioned the rear windows do go down, and incredibly fast too – it feels like in less than one second, they are down (or up). Front seat comfort is top notch; these are seats you could easily spend all day in with no problem.
The Burmester audio system is as good as it gets for me; listening to the Supertramp Live in Paris album made me feel like I had a front row seat to the concert. It was the same in the AMG C43 – this stereo is worth paying the extra for, if you have any desire to hear quality audio.
The electrically-operated boot opens up to a very usable 425 litres. Long and quite wide, there’s good usable space in there.
Sometimes I cringe when I see 20” rims on a car, and low profile tyres with them. You can only wonder what the ride will be like. Well on the E200, it’s bordering on exceptional. Speed humps are dispensed with, with no drama. Even in Sport+ mode, the ride is still very, very good. I was incredibly impressed with this – each time I drove the car, it reminded me how well it rode.
In fact, the whole car just wafts along nicely, no fuss at all. It’s one of those cars that you tend to subconsciously drive smoothly, because it responds so well to this.
The day-to-day drive in the E200 Coupe is a pleasure – visibility is excellent, for example. The C pillars are a little chunky, but with that long, pillarless design, everything around you is easily visible.
Overall, the car is extremely quiet – not much wind noise, some tyre noise but easily acceptable. Even driving on the motorway with that massive sunroof open sees little buffeting; I was happy to leave it open most of the time. Inside, all is well as far as noise goes. There’s some wind buffeting around the A pillars, but generally there’s little to complain about.
Outside the car is a different story. At idle, it sounds a bit like a diesel, as do many modern direct injection petrol engines.
One issue is that the cruise control stalk is also the speed limiter stalk, and it has a light to show you if you are using the speed limiter (light on) and adaptive cruise control (no light). But the steering wheel’s spoke hides the light, so you have to pay careful attention to the dash when you use the stalk to see if you’ve chosen speed limiter or cruise control. I don’t like it.
My other main issue was with the Active Lane Keep Assist function. Lots of cars have this, and that’s fine. With the E200 Coupe, if you get close, you get a vibration through the steering wheel. All good. But if you get closer still, the brakes start to come on – quite hard. It’s a bit scary the first time; I was tempted to turned LKA off, which seemed a waste of a good safety feature, so lived with it.
Last gripe: the HUD, while nice to have, does very little. The best you will get is your speed and direction. You also get turn by turn instructions there but that’s it. Also, there’s no indication of the current speed limit – in the HUD or on any display. This is a no-brainer now, so I was surprised it was missing.
Don’t get me wrong – just having your speed there on the windscreen is a huge safety feature, but so much more can be done with a HUD than just this. For example, on a windy road you might slip the car into Sport or Sport+ Mode – but you don’t see what gear you are in, in the HUD.
And yes, I did manage to get the E200 Coupe to a windy road – one of my favourite ones. It did far better than I thought it would; the grip was excellent, the handling good too and the brakes and steering gave reasonable feedback to the driver. Spot on for a bit of fun driving on a twisty road. With the car in Sport + mode, using the paddle shifters to change down for a sharp bend did bring some nice little barks from the exhaust. But it’s no AMG, if growling, raspy barks are what you are after.
Well-controlled rear-end slides are completely achievable in the E200. I didn’t expect this, but just enough throttle will get the rear end sliding nicely out. It was so good to have a rear-drive car to play with for a change.
You could really feel the size of the car on that twisty road though; it did well, but this is a long, wide and heavy car and at certain points, you could feel it. It didn’t feel like it was losing its composure, or that I was in trouble; but you could feel the size of this car at all times.
With 300Nm of torque, mid-range acceleration is very good – lending the car more to a motorway cruiser than a back-road carver. This is where the E200 Coupe feels at home – on the motorway, wafting along, with low revs showing at cruising speeds – and that awesome stereo cranked up. While the car has a superb 9-speed auto gearbox, I think I only saw 9th gear a handful of times, generally speaking 8th gear is where it’s at with New Zealand speed limits. The gearbox itself is a prefect example of a good automatic – I can only give MB credit for the transmission, it is excellent.
Fuel economy wasn’t a strong point for my week with the E200 Coupe. Admittedly, it spent probably 65% of its time around town and suburbs. But I was still surprised to see it used 12L/100Km of petrol. Ouch. MB declare a combined rating of 6.8L/100km. I spoke to the Sales Coordinator for MB in New Zealand, and he indicated that this is extremely high for a 2.0-litre E-Class and they would be getting car checked out to make sure everything is working as it should. Certainly we don’t expect this to be every E200 Coupe’s fuel consumption. Truth be known, it’s entirely possible I didn’t reset the trip computer correctly after picking the car up.
Seems the E200 Coupe almost has the market to itself. Interesting that the Lexus is exactly the same price.
|Brand/Model||Engine||Power/Torque||0-100km/h, seconds||Fuel, L/100km||Price – High to Low|
|Lexus RC200t Coupe||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol||180Kw/350Nm||7.5||7.3||$102.900|
|Mercedes-Benz E200 Coupe||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol||135Kw/300Nm||7.8||6.8||$102,900|
The Pros and Cons
What do we think of it?
This is a car I could see myself driving every day, and enjoying it. I loved the AMG C43 when I had it – and I still do – but it forced me (really!) to drive it hard most of the time. The E200 Coupe is a better daily driver in that respect. You might get to keep your license.
I mentioned a few things I didn’t like, but the reality is I struggled to find things that would stop me buying this car. Fuel economy was a big surprise, but I think that was more me than the car – I’d love to test it out again with more balanced driving to see if I could get it closer to the manufacturer’s claim.
In reality, I expect the E200 Coupe buyer would be 100% satisfied with their purchase – it ticks lots of boxes for the target market, and almost has this market to itself.
|Vehicle Type||2-door, rear-wheel drive 4-seat luxury coupe|
|Tested as Price||$111,180|
|Engine||2-litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder petrol|
|Transmission||9-speed ‘9G-TRONIC’ automatic|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1655|
|Length x Width x Height, mm||4826x2055x1430|
|Cargo Capacity, litres||425|
|Fuel Tank, litres||50|
|Fuel Economy||Manufacturer’s rating, combined: 6.8 L/100Km
Real World: 12.0 L/100Km
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 Stars|
|Warranty||3-years unlimited kilometres|