BY BRIAN BYRNE
IN a year when we were all absorbed with (no, not just Covid) extreme efficiency, electric and hybrid and plug-in hybrids and everything else, it was nice at the end to drive a car that was unashamedly for luxury, performance and sheer good looks.
And yes, efficiency too, but not at the expense of any of the above. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé could well become an icon of a transition era, representing an ultimate version of the traditional early 21st century premium personal motor car.
Looking at the review car’s style brought me to the only negative element.
That the graphite grey colour didn’t do justice to the really very svelte looks. In the AMG Line dress, the car doesn’t have a great deal of brightwork, so to stand out it likely will look its best in a brighter colour.
In the style details I particularly liked the grille in this grade. It doesn’t dominate, but is distinctive. From side-on the car has classic coupe lines, and there’s an aesthetic mean to such which I think Mercedes-Benz hit right on the nail.
Inside, it’s all drop-dead gorgeous. From the black leather on the dash top down through the grey ash trim and to the ivory leather upholstery and door panels, the occupants will always know they are in their proper place in the world.
In the instrumentation space the ugliest acronym, MBUX, names one of the most beautiful interfaces for comms, entertainment and driving information. In various M-B models through the year, I have become very comfortable with it and can navigate it quite instinctively.
In this latest iteration, the steering wheel controls by which a slide of the thumb can take you anywhere through the menus are at the best I’ve experienced.
You sit low in the E-Class Coupe because that’s the nature of the car. And you are cosseted in the excellently upholstered seating.
Though I wouldn’t be using it, there’s even good accommodation in the two rear seats … but then, this is an E-Class, so it’s a big car base anyhow.
The drivetrain isn’t for raw power, the 2.0 petrol has just a tad under 200hp available. But it offers a sub-8 seconds sprint to 100km/h if needed, delivered without fuss through a nine-speed silky automatic trans. A car to swish rather than roar by in.
Very low profile
The 20-inch alloys on the review car were a couple of grand extra. They certainly looked the part, but the very low profile made me careful to avoid potholed thoroughfares, and they did add some road noise.
Full LED headlights I’m now getting very used to, maybe a reflection of the upper levels of cars I have been reviewing over the strange months of 2020. When I get back into our own family car, I do appreciate what I have been having.
So, a special car it was to finish 2020. My first chariot into 2021 has been a Ford van. Such is the strange life of an automotive journalist.
Happy New Year.
What I like: Ah, let’s be honest, it’s the luxury. An overused word, but not in this case.
Price: €68,245, with extras bringing it to €72,768.