As we mentioned in the previous chapter, the E 350 CDI Coupe looks like it was specifically made to tackle long distances at high speeds and in total comfort. It didn't take long after exiting the city to find out we were dead right about this.
The 231 horsepower developed by the engine don't seem like much of a record for a modern three-liter diesel, but the 540 Nm (398.3 lb ft) of torque sure transform the whole driving experience. Especially since those mind-blowing torque numbers are available from as low as 1600 rpm, all the way to 2400 rpm. Not that impressive until you remember we're talking about a low-revving diesel here.
At almost any speed, each time you mash the accelerator pedal to the metal, there's an unsuspecting, non-diesel-like roar and the whole car lurches forwards like it had been previously standing still. The feeling is almost like that of a Jumbo Jet during take off. Remember we're talking about further acceleration while already being at highway speeds.
Even though it will soon be replaced with a more powerful (and even more torquey, to be noted) version soon, this three-liter V6 pulls like a locomotive as it is, especially on a car like the E-Klasse Coupe.
The 7G-Tronic seven speed automatic transmission is flawless when it comes to the comfort it delivers. The shifts and/or kickdowns in normal mode aren't at all impressive, while after you press the sport button it manages to only slightly improve its shift times. Still, despite not having the lightning fast feel of a Volkswagen DSG or better yet, a Porsche PDK, it remains even more impressive when it comes to the almost seamless gear shifts it provides.
The standard Agility Control package means that our test car was fitted with the dynamically controlled dampers, which make the car behave completely the opposite as you would expect from a Mercedes built for cruising. It's no BMW, obviously, but hard cornering shouldn't be a stranger from an E-Klasse Coupe's driving life.
On top of that, apart from most AMGs, it probably has the most direct steering feel we ever experienced in a Mercedes. The only quarrel from this point of view would probably be the rather large steering wheel, but that is pretty much a tri-star trademark. All in all, the E 350 CDI Coupe was a real surprise on the open road. Despite having a not-so-powerful diesel engine and having a not-exactly-sporty automatic transmission, it managed to offer almost the best from two different worlds. You can either drive it peacefully or like you just stole it, it won't let you down on either occasion.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
Probably the best thing about test driving autos for a living is the fact that from time to time you get to be completely blown away by some of the cars you get to experience. It doesn't happen very often with me but this is probably one of those times.
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