From the full spectrum of exciting varieties of E-Class Mercedes-Benz models, I have a favourite. And no, it’s not the E63 AMG. I feel that 300 kW and 600 N.m of torque are more than enough for me and so I choose the most stylish version of the range, the E500 Coupé. It also costs over R300 000 less than the E63 AMG saloon.
Earlier this year, we speculated about the composition of the facelifted Coupé line-up that would be available in South Africa. We thought the V8-engined E500 might be omitted in favour of the new 245 kW E400 with its V6. Well, the choice now no longer belongs to Mercedes-Benz. It is yours, as both are available – that is, if the entry-level 155 kW E250 Coupé doesn’t quite cut the mustard.
The new car retains the elegant, pillarless sides but has new styling both front and rear. A totally revamped front airdam in three segments now dominates the lower lines and adds more than just a dash of sportiness. Lighting is now LED for daytime and low beams and you can also specify the whole works for the first time with full LED headlamps. Start/stop, panoramic sunroof, AMG body styling, active park and PDC are all standard features but lane-tracking assistance and keyless-go are on the options list. Making its debut in full form on the E-Class is Mercedes-Benz Electric Drive, a suite of safety features including cameras in the side mirrors that monitor the areas in front of the vehicle at a range of up to 500 metres. These relay information to the ECU, which processes this info and decides whether there is a threat to occupants’ safety and, if so, which safety systems to employ, including Collision Prevention Assist, Steering Assist (which returns the vehicle to its lane should it stray) and Brake Assist which will now brake the car for pedestrians and cross traffic, among many others.
This car has a great blend of comfort, handling and performance. In other words, the powertrain doesn’t overrule the dynamics, something that can lead to a loose rear-end with a rear wheel-drive package. The gearbox is the familiar 7G-Tronic auto and is best used in manual mode using the paddles for shifting. This is because, with seven ratios, a lot of ratio swopping goes on continuously and it can get on your nerves. With paddles, you can anticipate which gear you need to shift down to and tap away the appropriate number of times to get there sooner than the “brain” can.
Interior quality is superb and the analogue clock adds an important final touch of class. We tackled the great Du Toitskloof Pass in the early morning before too many trucks had started delivering their wares. This pass perhaps showed off the high-powered coupe’s mettle more so than the tight and twisty Franschhoek Pass that suits smaller vehicles. Quoted fuel consumption is 8,9 L/100 km. That is, if you can avoid planting your right boot. Included is Mercedes’s newly introduced PremiumDrive maintenance plan for six years or 100 000km. Extended plans are available for purchase.
The list of options and models for the entire E-Class range is so extensive that it is impossible to list them all. To provide an example, we will mention only the engine list: E200, E250 CDI, E250, E300 BlueTEC Hybrid, E350 BlueTEC, E400, E500, E63 AMG and E63 AMG S.
Mercedes-Benz E500 Coupé
Engine: 4,7-litre V8
Power: 300 kW at 5 000 r/min
Torque: 600 N.m at 1 600 r/min
0 to 100 km/h: 4,9 secs
Fuel consumption: 8,9 L/100 km
CO2: 209 g/km
Top speed: 250 km/h
Price: R938 465
Maintenance plan: six years/100 000 km
Service intervals: according to onboard computer