Divine Mercedes Coupe drives as well as it looks

Declan Colley goes for a spin in the new Mercedes E220d Coupe

Things of beauty are a daily feature of our lives. Be they people, babies, animals, flowers, art or whatever, we are conditioned as human beings to revere and venerate beauty. And we do.

Thus it was when the Mercedes E220d Coupe arrived at chez Colley, we were immediately captivated by the stunning splendour that is this car.

The manner with which the Mercedes design department has realised this car has been an exercise in nothing other than creating thorough exquisiteness.

Now I have to admit that while I have accorded the E-Class saloon with executive segment top dog honours, an accolade it deserves in spades, I have not been entirely convinced by the design language utilised by the German manufacturing giant on the car.

Now — and this of course is a wholly personal thing — despite the overall excellence of the E-Class, I always felt it to be a little stumpy at the rear end and thought that the overall effect of the look of the car was stifled a tad by this slightly off-beat application of the
designer’s pen.

Many may tut-tut and claim that I’m either mad or just plain stupid by voicing such an opinion. But it is only an opinion and that’s the nature of subjectivity for you.

I have to reiterate that I am not pooh-poohing the E-Class in any shape or form, just saying that I’m not a huge fan of the rear end treatment of the car — and I feel the same about the C-Class, by the way. Look at them from front and side and they look great. Look at the rear end and they look, well, stumpy.

However, when the E-Class Coupe pulled into the driveway, any shred of antipathy I had about Mercedes’ design department went right out the window, so immediately captivated was I by the gorgeousness of this machine. And I wasn’t the only one either as, during my entire tenure with the Coupe, anyone who encountered the vehicle was equally smitten.

The sheer loveliness of this Coupe is nothing short of captivating. From stem to stern, it is nothing less than a thing of beauty and quite possibly the nicest looking car Mercedes has come up with in a long time. As a company which is renowned for the good looks of its products, this is a stand-out by any measure.

And not only that, but it has inherited the driving characteristics which have made the regular E-Class the segment leader. The run-flat tyres don’t do it any favours, but it copes with highway driving with distain and crap roads with the poise of a princess.

It is very acceptable both as an A to B cross-country sprinter as it is a touring highway cruiser.

There’s little to provoke argument about the interior either. Quite whether they took inspiration from such choice gaffs as the Hotel du Cap or the Imperial in Tokyo, where attention to the finest detail is almost distressing, the feeling that you’re something special merely by sitting in the thing is quite intrinsic to this car, as it is to guests at those
hotels when they walk in the front door.

Now I do have a little quibble with the interior ambient lighting, in that you can have the thing looking like a cheap Paris boudoir at one moment or a Swedish ice castle at the swish of a button. Pick the wrong colour and things can get a little garish, so take your time with that particular chore.

From a practical point of view, the interior space is huge for a coupe and it is fair to say that for a coupe, this thing is amazingly practical and, although only a four seater, nevertheless provides a great deal of comfort to each passenger. The boot too is capacious and golfers in particular will be impressed.

Time was when something as simple as an ashtray was an added cost with Mercedes, but you’d have to say that the specification here is pretty comprehensive in standard form, although the company has obviously taken a leaf out of rival BMW’s book by presenting a list of standard options which is absolutely delightful, but bloody expensive.

In the case of the tester (which came in AMG Line format), there was an added €18k of extras on the car including the extra widescreen cockpit which is stunning (it would want to be for an added fifteen hundred squids) and the wonderful panoramic roof (€2,559). Ironically, there is also a ‘smokers package’ which will set you back a princely €82.

One thing which, yet again, annoyed me greatly was the complete absence of a spare tyre with Mercedes instead providing its ‘Tirefit’ repair kit instead, which we all know to be about as useful as a monocle with no lens. Owners really would want to get the message across to manufacturers that this practice is unacceptable.

The 197bhp diesel lump under the hood might not quite stimulate the hairy chested among you — there are more Rambo-esque options if you’re wallet is bulging — but it is not a bad peddler and, to be honest, this was never a car you felt you had to be harsh upon.

Rather, it was a car which you like to finesse — and which enjoys being finessed back. The facts and figures are impressive enough, though, with a 7.4 second 0-100 kph time, a top speed of 242km/h, a claimed consumption rate of over 4.0 l/100km (65mpg) and an emission rate of 119g/km for an annual tax bill of just €200.

But all of that is nearly incidental when you consider the aesthetics of all this. Simply put, the E-Class coupe is divine to look at and even more pleasing to drive. If ever Mercedes rubber stamped its claim to be the luxury car maker, it has done so here.

Not alone has it created something which is great to drive and which provides driver and passengers with a special driving experience, it has done so with a car which is a gob-smacking good looker.

Colley’s Verdict

The Cost: From €53,960 to €72,057 as tested.

The Engine: Not the most powerful available, but good enough for most of us.

The Specification: Very decent, but the extras will be very costly.

The Overall Verdict: Beauty incarnate.

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