“A turbodiesel engine in a coupé?” you may ask. Yes, turbodiesel powertrains have come a long way and are actually favoured in Europe to petrol alternatives. Understandably so, as diesel engines are generally more fuel efficient and the high torque delivery early in the rev range enhances a relaxed but still swift driving style. To find out if these characteristics suit a coupe and are relevant to our market, we drove Mercedes-Benz’s E250 CDI Coupé to find out.
The latest E Coupé actually dates back to 2009 when it was first launched. It is still based on the underpinnings of the previous generations C-Class and not as you might expect on the W212 E-Class that received a major facelift in 2013. Mercedes has updated the styling at the front and rear significantly to align with the current design ethos. This includes new headlamps featuring LED low beam and daytime running lights. The front bumper now sports large air intakes. Our test car was fitted with the optional Sports Package that included 19-inch AMG wheels and twin trapezoidal tail pipes finished off with chrome surrounds. The end result is a car that looked both elegant and sporty.
On the inside
Inside the cabin styling shows that it is from the previous generation as it does not include the ultra-modern design elements of the current S- or even C-Class like the round air vents or infotaiment system controllers. The gear-shift selector however has now been replaced by a stalk on the steering column. It is still very well put together and engenders the cabin with a classy and classic ambiance.
That diesel engine
Hit the starter button and the 2,1-litre mill makes no excuses that it is indeed a diesel. At idle it is fairly rough and the diesel clatter is clearly audible at parking speeds – not quite fitting the esteemed exterior demeanour. Press on the accelerator though and the 500 N.m from a low 1 600 r/min soon wafts you to the speed limit and all is forgiven. It is really the torque characteristic that stands out when you lean on the go-fast pedal. Stomp on the pedal and you soon realise that with only 150 kW this coupe was never meant to tear up the tar. Rather relax into cruising mode and listen to your favourite track on the quality audio system. The upside is an excellent (but slightly optimistic) claimed fuel consumption figure of only 4,9 litres/100 km. Over a weekend of fairly enthusiastic driving the Coupé returned a still respectable figure of 7,1 litres/100 km, especially in this class of vehicle.
Ride and handling
The ride quality is impressive given the thin ribbon of rubber fitted to the large AMG wheels. The gearbox is best left to its own devices as the response is a bit slow in manual mode. A surprise was the amount of steering feedback and grip generated by the chassis and tyre combination. Even though the engine will rarely get you into trouble dynamically, it is still good to know that some fun can still be had on a twisty but flowing road.
You can argue that is was brave for Mercedes to introduce the turbodiesel option in the Coupé range as petrol powertrains are currently the preferred option in the segment. If you want creamy smooth performance with a soundtrack to match then rather look at the petrol options. Also be prepared to empty your wallet at the pumps. The diesel option is not only the cheapest in the range but also promises the lowest running costs by a large margin. Therefore if you like the looks of the Coupe and enjoy cruising then the E250 CDI makes perfect sense.
Model: Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI Coupé
Price: R639 423
Engine: 2,1-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power: 150 kW at 3 800 r/min
Torque: 500 N.m at 1 600 r/min
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
0-100 km/h: 7,3 seconds
Top speed: 200 km/h
Fuel consumption: 4,9 L/100 km
CO2: 129 g/km
*Manufacturer claimed figures