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01-11-2010, 10:32 AM ( ( (
THE iconic three-point star of Mercedes has always been something of a status symbol.
Mercedes are the kind of car people aspire to, and in the case of the E-Class, has traditionally been somebody a little longer in the tooth, particularly if powered by a diesel.
The latest line-up now features some of the hottest-looking cars on the road and some of the most powerful and efficient engines.
The coupe version is an excellent example of how the latest incarnation of the E-Class now offers something of a wow factor and clearly appeals to a wider audience.
It is a stunning looking car. Impossibly good looking, but with a brutal power unit lurking under the bonnet.
You could wax endlessly lyrical about the shape and needless to say, it attracts a lot of interest, particularly with the optional panoramic roof and sunroof.
Sitting low to the ground on stunning 18-inch alloys, the car, with AMG livery, has a predatory look that is matched by performance from the 3.5-litre V6 205bhp engine.
Large air intakes, side skirts and an aggressive looking grille mean few people walk past without stopping to have a good look.
It may look mean but it does its bit for the environment as well with BlueEFFICIENCY, a package of fuel saving technologies. This means that everything from the engine to the wheels is geared for lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption. This is demonstrated with CO2 emissions from the car of 179g/km not bad for something that performs not far off supercar levels.
If the exterior is striking, the interior is sumptuously laid out with the array of controls looking more like the cockpit of an aircraft. Neat touches abound, such as the passenger seat belt moving forward to help you buckle up.
The car is a riot of electrics, from seat adjustment, with lumbar controls having their own control panel at the side of the seat to folding door mirrors and windows. The one down side was the limited vertical adjustment for the seat, which did not go up high enough for my liking.
The car features and expensive console that includes sat nav, Bluetooth, an ear-splitting sound system and multi-function steering wheel.
Front seat passengers have plenty of leg and headroom, but the sloping coupe shape means it is cramped in the rear, although I would imagine there would be few times four people would be in the car.
Boot space is surprisingly spacious with a respectable 450 litres of room available.
Like all Mercedes it bristles with technology and offers features like option reversing camera, adaptive lighting, radar cruise control and agility control sports suspension which adapts to the prevailing conditions.
Buyers are spoilt for choice and can almost have a bespoke model such is wide variety of options.
There are five engine variants and three suspensions together with five different wheel and tire combinations and dizzying array of options to suit almost any, (pretty well-heeled) pocket.
Driving the diesel E-Class was quite an experience. Acceleration is neck-wrenching. The car rockets from 0-60mph in just 6.7 seconds and on to a limited top seed of 155mph. Quick, but also pretty economical with official fuel consumption figures showing an average of 45.6mpg.
For a more sporty drive, switch to manual and the paddles behind the wheel gives the racing driver touch.
The power transmitted to the rear wheels is such that if you floor the accelerator, the traction controls often kicks before the wheels can find grip. But it is certainly quick.
All Mercedes are safe and the Coupe comes with seven standard-fit airbags including front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, a knee bag for the driver and window bags. There are tensioners and belt force limiters on all seats, as well as crash-responsive head restraints.
It also features a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians in a collision.
Mercedes Benz E350 CDI BlueEFFICIENY Coupe Sport
Price: 35,280
Mechanical: 205bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.7 seconds
Insurance group: 17
Combined mpg: 45.6
CO2 emissions: 179g/km
BiK rating: 26%
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles

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