Packed with useful new safety technology, the strikingly designed Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe includes the V6-powered E350 (268 horsepower, 258 lb.-ft. of torque), which has a suggested retail price of $49,725, while the V8 E550 (382 hp, 391 lb.-ft.) is priced at $56,325 (both prices include destination charges).
The E-Class Coupe design begins with a "cubist" treatment of the trademark Mercedes-Benz twin-headlight face. Two parallelogram lights are recessed into the front fenders, bracketing the three-dimensional frame of the front grille. With a large star emblem in the center of its sporty two-lamella grille, the overall body shape of the E-Class Coupe features a sophisticated interplay between lines and surfaces. Taut, clearly defined lines help define large concave and convex surfaces.
In particular, a graceful line follows each rear wheel well and shapes the muscular contours of the rear fenders. While the car looks futuristic, aficionados might recognize styling cues as a modern interpretation of the famous "Ponton Mercedes" of the 1950s.
With "frameless" doors, standard panorama roof and a pillarless profile, the coupe features an airy, uninterrupted expanse that extends from the front windshield to the rear window whenever the front and rear side windows are fully lowered. At the rear, the E-Class Coupe sports sharply angled LED taillights as well as a center brake light integrated in the trunk lid.
The Appearance package for the E350 includes a number of features for the sport-minded driver – perforated brake discs with painted calipers, 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, multicontour seats, stainless steel pedals with rubber studs, black gearshift paddles and the AGILITY CONTROL Sport suspension.
Carrying the Sport concept yet a step further, all E550 comes with shift paddles mounted to the three-spoke sport steering wheel and sport body styling that includes a deeper front air dam, side skirts and rear apron. The E550 also has standard perforated brake discs, painted calipers and Dynamic Handling suspension.
Among the many standard life-saving features on the E-Class Coupe is the innovative ATTENTION ASSIST system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S. A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses over 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon appears in the instrument cluster.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist uses a small video camera to sense both headlights and taillights, then softly and automatically transitions between high and low beam operation to avoid dazzling other drivers. With this system, the range of the headlights can be varied infinitely from their current 220 feet to up to 1,000 feet.
When the E-Class is equipped with optional Distronic Plus, another revolutionary Mercedes-Benz safety feature – PRE-SAFE® brake – can now apply full braking automatically in emergencies, to reduce accident severity. When PRE-SAFE Brake senses an impending rear collision, the system sounds three warning tones.
About 1.6 seconds before impact is likely, partial braking is automatically initiated, and the PRE-SAFE occupant protection system are activated. If the driver still fails to react, full-power braking is initiated about 0.6 seconds before the collision, reducing the impact and effectively acting as an "electronic crumple zone."
The innovative PARKTRONIC system also incorporates Parking Guidance, which utilizes ten ultrasonic sensors mounted behind the front and rear bumpers. At low speeds, the system scans available parking spaces and displays a "P" in the dash if the car will fit in the space. When the car’s in reverse, Parking Guidance displays a pictogram of the steering wheel and provides helpful steering guidance.
All E-Class Coupes come with the original PRE-SAFE – the world’s first system that can sense and take protective measures before a crash. The innovative PRE-SAFE system first automatically tensions the seatbelts if the car senses an impending collision. PRE-SAFE uses resettable electric tensioners in addition to the existing pyrotechnic belt tensioners.
What’s more, if the front passenger seat is overly reclined or forward, PRE-SAFE automatically moves it to a more favorable crash position. If the seat cushion angle of the front passenger seat is too shallow, it is also re-adjusted to help prevent submarining. If the vehicle skids (often a precursor to rollover), the system automatically closes the sunroof and side windows. If a crash is averted, the electric belt tensioners automatically relax and are ready to deploy again.
If necessary, PRE-SAFE reacts to fishtailing (or oversteer) as well as "plowing" (or understeer) by using existing sensors for ESP stability control to measure steering angle, vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration. Emergency braking can also trigger PRE-SAFE, which monitors sensors for the Brake Assist system as well.
The 2011 E-Class comes with a knee air bag for the driver that minimizes leg injuries in frontal collisions, while pelvic air bags work with the existing curtain and side air bags to provide extra protection for front passengers in dangerous side-impact collisions. With dual-stage front air bags as well, the E-Class boasts nine standard supplemental restraints, and rear side air bags are optionally available.
Standard on the E350 Coupe, AGILITY CONTROL suspension provides the best of both worlds for a conventional coil-spring suspension. A small piston is connected to a bypass port in the hydraulic flow of each shock absorber. Its design provides a softer, quieter ride on normal roads but retains full shock damping over dips and twisty roads when it’s really needed.
The suspension on the E350 Coupe can be upgraded to the AGILITY CONTROL Sport Suspension with stiffer damping. The E550 Coupe is equipped with the Dynamic Handling suspension which includes electronically-adjustable shock absorbers as well as modified throttle response.
Mercedes-Benz designers paid careful attention to the E-Class Coupe interior, to ensure that every surface is appealing in form, color and material. The cockpit features five analog gauges, including two pairs that overlap each other, as well as a leather-wrapped three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and console-mounted shift lever with TouchShift.
Also standard is a new COMAND system featuring a large 7-inch color display screen with a standard in-dash, six-disc CD/DVD changer and a Bluetooth interface that allows a phone still in a pocket or purse to be operated through the car’s audio system. Using a console-mounted controller, the central display in the dash can be operated by either the driver or front passenger.
The COMAND system can be equipped with an optional iPod/MP3 interface, SIRIUS satellite radio, HD radio, and an advanced voice control system for audio, navigation and phone systems. The system can also display maps and directions for the optional hard-drive navigation system, which can display SIRIUS real-time traffic information and Zagat restaurant ratings.
The standard leather interior features 14-way adjustable power front seats, integrated headrests, and steel seat frames with integrated suspension. Optional multicontour seats offer impressively variable seat adjustments through a series of air bladders and mechanical bolsters that are integrated into the bottom cushion and seat back. Additional controls for the multicontour seats are tucked between the seat cushions and center console.