Mercedes E-Class Coupe C213 – Star Billing
The new E-Class Coupe puts on a command performance.
Since its founding 133 years ago, Mercedes-Benz has led the way with many design cornerstones. One of these is the pillarless style that first saw the light of day on the C114 model of 1968. This was the original ‘E-Class’ coupe.
That boxy, upright coupe with its stacked headlights and gawky stance is a far cry from the sleek new E-Class Coupe that made its public debut at Detroit in January this year.
“The new E-Class Coupe is the vanguard of a new design direction we have been talking about for the last couple of years,” explained Achim-Dietrich Badstübner, the man responsible for the exterior design of E-Class models. “We have been slowly removing superfluous styling lines from the flanks of our designs, and the E-Class Coupe has no hard lines at all.”
To my eyes this is the visually best-balanced coupe that Mercedes makes right now, and is exactly the right size to fill its design brief. In parenthesis, the C-Class Coupe appears truncated from some angles, while the S-Class Coupe seems to have too much real estate to fill, and ends up just missing the 360-degree perfection in proportion and detail so glibly exhibited by its saloon sister.
The E-Class coupe is 15mm lower than the saloon, while the raised centre of the front valence both gives the appearance of a lower, sleeker nose, while providing place for the small air splitter that reduces lift over the front axle.
Sleek bodywork usually brings with it packaging compromises, but the new E-Class Coupe makes the most of its 2,783mm wheelbase. While this is 66mm shorter than the saloons, it is still 113mm longer than the outgoing E212 Coupe, with 74mm of this added to the rear compartment for generous leg and knee room.
Front and rear headroom is increased by 18mm in front and 15mm at the rear, resulting in good headroom for tall people despite the sloping roofline. With more legroom in its rear compartment than big brother S-Class Coupe, this is a real four-seat coupe.
If the elegant exterior is stunningly effective in its minimalism use of form and proportions, the cabin draws you in with its plushness. The basic cabin architecture, and the instrument pack is derived from the saloon, but with the styling dial turned up to 11.