Jim McCauley puts the Mercedes-Benz E220 Sport Coupe through its paces, and finds the panel detailing is as startlingly effective as the rest of the vehicle
Impressive to behold — a large two-door coupe in which the bodylines merge to create a visual impact. All too often in a large car, designers fail to gather the panel detailing in a manner that unites the overall design, and a rather bland and lifeless solution is the result.
But the flared wheel-arches, creased light lines and enveloping roofline interact and unify to startling effect.
The latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe is the sixth generation of the model line and is available in a choice of three diesel and four petrol-power units. Test choice was the smallest diesel engine available, the twin-turbo 2.2 litre unit, producing 170hp.
This newly developed engine follows the Mercedes strategy of moving to smaller and lighter turbo-charged engines in |place of larger non-turbo engines, with resulting improvements to performance, economy and emissions.
Considering the visual appeal of the car, the initial concern is whether the smallest diesel can do the model justice.
Fitted with the five-speed automatic transmission in lieu of the standard six-speed manual ’box, the official figures of 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and a potential top speed of 145mph show promise, but does it translate into an exciting drive?
Getting off the mark from rest requires a little practice to get the throttle application just right — too gentle and the car is slow to roll; too sharp and you can unsettle the occupants. Once the driver achieves the perfect balance for the ‘off’, the five-speed automatic devours the 400Nm of torque on offer from a lowly 1400rpm and the car delivers in no uncertain terms. Available in either SE or Sport trim, the test car was the Sport model with uprated brakes and modified chassis settings. In addition, the driver has the choice of Comfort or Sport settings on the switch alongside the gear-select lever, while full-manual gear selection is also on offer.
Accommodation-wise, the car is a strict four-seater and rear cabin room is good rather than generous, despite its increased dimensions over the previous model. Large doors provide clear access, while the front-seat occupants benefit from an automatic seatbelt handover to save stretching back.
Being a Mercedes, safety provision is extremely comprehensive, with high-tech management of all features. In addition to a minimum of seven airbags and seatbelt tensioners on the list of passive features, active support comes from the Electronic Stability Program, Acceleration Skid Control and Attention Assist — standard on all models.
This latter system monitors 70 parameters, which indicate driver behaviour, and if he/she appears to be falling asleep, the system will respond with audible and visual warnings. Other features include the company’s Pre-Safe system, which anticipates a potential collision and pre-arms the seatbelts and airbags.
The comprehensive equipment levels on the test vehicle included the AMG body kit as a feature of the Sport badging, automatic headlights with cornering function, rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming rear-view mirrors. Also standard on all models are dual-zone climate control, electric windows, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity, to name just a few.
Overall, the test E-Class Coupe is a pleasant surprise, delivering much more than what is initially anticipated from the 2.2 litre engine. Chassis response comfortably supports the power delivery and the car is yet another sporting gem from Mercedes. In addition, the car carries the company’s Blue Efficiency badge, which highlights its environmental credentials, boasting a fuel consumption of 45.6mpg on the combined cycle, approached during the test period by a recorded 38.2mpg.
While the six-speed manual version has CO2 emissions of 142gms/km, the five-speed automatic raises this to 155gms/km, and a higher VED band of £165 per annum.
The model tested is priced at £35,405 and is covered by a three-year unlimited mileage warranty and up to 30 years’ body perforation cover.
As an alternative to dealer delivery, customers can collect their new vehicle in Germany after a tour of the production facility.
Engine: 2.2litre turbo diesel, 170bhp @3000rpm; 400Nm torque, 1400-2800rpm
Drive: Rear wheels
Performance: 0-62mph (100km/h) in 8.5 seconds; max, 145mph (232km/h)
Fuel on combined cycle: 45.6mpg (6.19l/100km)
CO2: 155gms/km; VED Band G for annual car tax of £165
EuroNCAP: Five star
Insurance: ABI Group 35
Warranty: Three-year/ unlimited mileage, up to 30 years’ anti-perforation cover and 30 years’ pan-European roadside assistance and recovery
Available extras: Telephone pre-wiring £290, panoramic sunroof £1,370, black-ash trim £160, leather upholstery £1,370