17 February 2009

Slippery customer

Merc shows off the world’s most aerodynamically efficient car, the CLK-replacing E-Class Coupe

Mercedes E-Class Coupe

Have a look at the Mercedes E-Class Coupe

Mercedes has just revealed the new E-Class Coupe, a big swoopy two-door that will replace the CLK when it goes on sale this summer.

The big news – apart from that name change, on which more in a tick – is the slipperiness. With a drag coefficient of just 0.24, The E-Class Coupe is the most aerodynamically efficient series-production car in the world, making it officially more slippery than a heavily buttered eel with a penchant for pickpocketing.

The focus on aero might help to explain the Coupe’s slightly awkward lines: yes, the front end is true to the recently-launched new E-Class, but we can’t help feeling that it just isn’t quite as elegant as the outgoing CLK.

On the subject of which, there’s more than just a name change at play here. While the CLK sat on the C-Class platform, the E-Class Coupe uses (as you’ve probably guessed) modified E-Class underpinnings, so it’s some five centimetres longer and wider than the CLK, though two centimetres lower of roofline. We can only wonder why they didn’t call it the ELK.

The E-Class Coupe will launch in June with the choice of three petrol engines and two diesels. The 250 CDI, with its new 1.8-litre diesel four-pot, sounds an absolute cracker, developing 204bhp while returning 53.3mpg. Across the range, Mercedes says fuel consumption has improved by 17 per cent, but fear not – there’s still a V8-powered E500 to satisfy your penchant for smoky, tyre-mauling fun.

No E63 Coupe yet, sadly, though we’d expect it to arrive later this year alongside, perhaps, a hybrid version.

As you’d expect, there’s buckets of new tech on the E-Class Coupe, including selective damper control, automatic emergency braking and a drowsiness detection system called ATTENTION ASSIST, the capitalisation of which should give you some hint as to how it works. Mercedes’ ‘BlueEfficiency’ green mods – including low rolling resistance tyres and on-demand power steering – are standard across the range.

If you need a bit more ‘grrrr’ from your Coupe, you can spec it with an AMG-developed sport kit too, with bigger alloys, a body kit and sharper steering.

No word on pricing yet, but we’ll see the E-Class Coupe slipping aerodynamically down UK roads this summer. Those poor battered bits of air are breathing a sigh of relief already.

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