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  • 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe

    Posted on September 30th, 2009 ninarussin

    Four-passenger coupe replaces the CLK

    By Nina Russin

    2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe

    2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe

    This year, Mercedes-Benz combines its mid-sized coupe and sedan within the E-Class series. The 2010 E-Class coupe replaces the CLK, adding a standard panoramic sunroof and enhanced safety features over the former model.

    The new coupe’s most obvious attribute is its style: the car is drop-dead gorgeous. While visceral appeal shouldn’t be the sole determinant for a new car purchase, style matters. Given the choice between surrounding myself with beauty or blight, I’ll choose beauty any day of the week.

    Up front, two large rectangular headlamps frame the grille and Mercedes-Benz emblem. By eliminating the B-pillar, designers create a continuous sweep of glass from the front of the car to the back. Not only do the frameless doors enhance the coupe’s appearance, they also maximize over-the-shoulder visibility.

    The standard panoramic sunroof consists of two glass panels, giving both rows of occupants an abundance of ambient light. Mouse controls on the center console and steering wheel allow the driver to program the audio and navigation systems with a minimum of confusion. By eliminating excess buttons, the designers created a clean, modern-looking instrument panel.

    Two available engines

    The E-Class coupe comes with either a 3.5-liter aluminum V6 engine or 5.5-liter V8. The test car has the 268-horsepower V6, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The E350 coupe accelerates from zero-to-sixty in 6.2 seconds. Top speed is 130 miles-per-hour.

    Comfort and sport modes on the transmission let the driver modify shift points according to his needs. A winter mode starts the car up in a higher gear, to prevent the wheels from slipping on wet roads.

    A fully independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars provides a compliant ride while keeping the chassis flat in the turns. An electronic system called agility control modifies shock damping, from a soft ride under normal conditions to full-damping on twisting roads.

    The E350 comes standard with 17-inch wheels and R-rated all-season tires. Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the car on a dime.

    Test drive on the Beeline Highway

    The Beeline Highway between Phoenix and Payson is one of my favorite roads for test drives. It includes some serious climbs and descents, as well as long, sweeping turns. I couldn’t think of a better way to put the new E-Class coupe through its paces.

    While it doesn’t have the power of the 5.5-liter V8, the 3.5-liter V6 is an awesome performer. Peak torque of 258 foot-pounds comes on at 2400 rpm: well below the engine’s 6000 rpm red line. Its long, flat torque curve gives the engine the ability to accelerate hard at all speeds. That’s a big advantage for urban commuters who have to merge into high-speed traffic and pass slower vehicles on the highway.

    The abundance of low-end torque also enhances the coupe’s climbing ability. The coupe soared up steep grades on the Beeline, as the road climbed from Phoenix to the small town of Sunflower: a 3000 foot change in altitude.

    The engine has plenty of power to maintain speed or accelerate on the hills. The seven-speed automatic transmission has virtually no shift shock. Although the coupe is a fairly heavy car, it doesn’t feel like one. Steering is precise and nimble. The agility control feature gives the coupe sinuous performance.

    On one occasion, I had to make an emergency lane change to avoid a construction sign that had fallen into the road. The coupe’s positive on-center response enabled me to maintain complete control of the vehicle throughout the maneuver.

    Visibility around the car is excellent, with a minimum of blind spots to the sides and rear. When the driver shifts into reverse, the passenger-side mirror automatically tilts down to aid in parallel parking. A rearview assist camera that comes with the optional navigation system provides a wide angle view to the back of the car.

    Seating for four passengers

    E350 Coupe Interior

    E350 Coupe Interior

    Inside, the E-Class coupe seats up to four passengers. Power adjustments for the driver and front passenger make the seats comfortable for adults of all sizes. Because of its sharply-raked roof, there is not a lot of headroom in back. I had a couple of inches to spare, but my six-foot tall husband couldn’t fit.

    A three-position memory function lets multiple drivers share the car. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allows smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view and keep a safe distance from the front airbag.

    Both front seats fold forward to ease access and egress from the rear seats. When the passenger releases a lever on the front seatback, the seat bottom automatically moves forward in its tracks. The front seatbelts are anchored behind the doors on the door frames, so they don’t get in the way of the rear passengers.

    Redundant steering wheel controls scroll through a digital information display in the gauge cluster, modify volume and control the Bluetooth interface. A mouse device on the center console can program the navigation, audio, and system functions. The optional navigation system includes vehicle position and real-time traffic alerts.

    Both rows of passengers have access to cupholders in the center consoles. There are two 12-volt power points: at the base of the center stack, and behind the center console. A center console bin underneath the armrests is big enough for compact discs. A locking glovebox is standard.

    Release levers near the trunk lid fold the rear seats flat to extend the cargo floor. The coupe can hold golf bags and other long cargo. Because the trunk is relatively shallow, it’s not ideal for carrying bicycles. A standard first aid kit is located to the right side of the trunk lid. The undersized spare is beneath the cargo floor.

    Enhanced standard safety features

    The E-Class coupe comes standard with nine airbags, active front headrests, antilock braking, traction and stability control. A pre-safe feature automatically tensions the seatbelts if sensors determine that a collision is imminent. Mercedes’ factory warranty includes a 24-hour roadside assistance program.

    Base price on the E350 coupe is $48,050, not including an $875 delivery charge. The optional navigation system also includes an audio upgrade to digital surround-sound, iPod/MP3 interface, satellite radio, heated front seats, rear sunshade and rear view camera ($3950).

    The new E-Class coupe is rolling into Mercedes-Benz dealerships nationwide.

    Likes: A beautifully-designed sport coupe with excellent power, performance and a high level of standard safety features. Access and egress to the rear seats is better than average. A standard pass-through extends the cargo floor for larger items.

    Dislike: Steeply raked roof limits headroom in the second row.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Mercedes-Benz
    Model: E350 Coupe
    Year: 2010
    Base price: $48,050
    As tested: $54,245
    Horsepower: 268 Hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 2400 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: 6.2 seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: Standard
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 17/26 mpg city/highway.


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