Mercedes' new two-door based on its executive E-class is a car which packs comfort and capability
Mercedes-Benz E300 Coupe packs comfort and capability The E300 Coupe's generous and flat torque curve affords an effortlessness across a wide rev range. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

In a world gone alarmingly high with sport utility vehicles (SUVs), it is good to be in a car that brings you back down to earth. Especially when that car is as stylish, comfortable, sporty and easy on the senses as the new Mercedes-Benz E-class coupe.

Unlike its predecessor, which was based on the previous C-class, the new two-door has an E architecture. Hence it offers a high level of comfort and refinement - an E-class' defining traits.

Behind the wheel, you feel completely at ease, not just because the ergonomics is unwaveringly familiar, but also because the car exudes purpose. It is not simply an E-class with two fewer doors.

In the E300 Coupe, propulsion comes in the form of a 2-litre turbo with 245hp and 370Nm from 1,400rpm. Pull the column shift lever down to D, squeeze the throttle and the engine sends the first wave of torque to the rear wheels via a nine-speed autobox.

It does so in an understated and undramatic fashion, whether you are heavy-footed or simply cruising along. It is a smooth operator, with gear changes which are as seamless on the way up as they are down.

The suspension is nicely sorted, with a small infusion of sportiness to lift the E-class' renowned languid ride and handling.

The coupe is 4,826mm long, 1,860mm wide and 1,430mm tall, with a 2,873mm wheelbase. The saloon is 4,923mm long, 1,852mm wide and 1,468mm tall, with a 2,939mm wheelbase.

The differences bear out optically too. The two-door appears wider and lower, giving it a more planted profile.

But, interestingly, the coupe is not as brisk as its saloon sibling. Being 30kg heavier, it sprints to 100kmh in 6.4 seconds, compared with 6.2 seconds for the four-door.

You are unlikely to notice that on the road, though. The E300 Coupe is still fairly quick and its generous and flat torque curve affords an effortlessness across a wide rev range.

The coupe's other properties make up for any acceleration deficit it has against the saloon. Being shorter, wider and lower (agility control suspension which sits 15mm nearer the tarmac), it adheres to the road better and stays flatter when cornering.

Its shortened wheelbase makes it more agile around tighter bends. Not that the saloon is shoddy, but the coupe has a slightly sharper turn-in on any given occasion. It also wears bigger wheels than the sedan.

Despite its elevated sportiness, the car is almost as comfy as the four-door. It is also fairly easy to get in and out of, with performance seats that are supportive yet reasonably cushy.

The car is luxuriously appointed, with a widescreen infotainment system set against an expanse of high-gloss light-brown sen wood trim (in the test-car). Turbine-style air-conditioning vents give the cockpit a futuristic look, while its nappa leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel is soft to the touch yet offers plenty of grip.

More importantly, the car comes with servo-powered seatbelt extenders and a navigation set, which is much easier to operate than those in most previous Mercs.

A more forceful exhaust note would have completed the picture, but, as it is, the E300 is a classy two-door with comfort and handling. Definitely an alluring choice for those seeking refuge from the current avalanche of SUVs.