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Friday 4th January 2013


New nose and plenty of safety kit to keep it clean among the range-wide updates

Mercedes announced a major facelift for the E-Class saloon and estate ranges not long ago and, not long after, comes the not entirely unexpected news that the coupe and cabrio are also due a refresh.

New lights significantly change looks
New lights significantly change looks
As Mercedes facelifts go this one's actually relatively dramatic, the E's new face much swoopier and more confident than before. From there back the metalwork is familiar enough, including the distinctive rear arch detailing inspired by its 50s 'Ponton' forebear.

The real focus of this mid-life update is in the tech though and, by gum, there's a lot of it. Maybe Mercedes has suddenly got worried that its cars are now too refined too because much of it seems geared to preventing you from nodding off and/or mitigating the circumstances should you manage to sleep through the bleeps and bongs that erupt from the 'Attention Assist' first introduced with this generation of E-Class.

Anyone worried about feeling a bit redundant at the wheel had best look away now because the amount of kit the new E-Class features to protect you from yourself is staggering. This includes a 'Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera' that performs "an evaluation of three-dimensional visual information in order to detect vehicles that are driving ahead, oncoming or crossing, as well as pedestrians and a variety of traffic signs and road markings within a large field of vision." Back in the day this was known as 'looking where you're going' but now it seems there's an app for that.

Stylish, comfy, refined but not especially exciting
Stylish, comfy, refined but not especially exciting
Much of this kit is optional but all UK coupes and cabs get the Collision Prevention Assist as standard, featuring radar controlled brake assistance to mitigate rear-end collisions. Attention Assist has also been upgraded and now casts an even sterner eye on your drowsiness levels, though the sensitivity can now be adjusted.

So, lots of different ways to help the new E-Class stop. Making it go are two petrol (E200 and E250) and three diesel (220 CDI, 250 CDI and 350 Bluetec) options, only the latter of which has more than four cylinders. The petrol engine's fightback against diesel dominance continues, the two non-diesel options getting Mercedes' BlueDirect 'stratified lean burn' direct injection tech. There remains the nominal choice of a six-speed manual; most will tick the box for the 7G-Tronic Plus auto and be glad they did.

Old school style, new school tech
Old school style, new school tech
With the C-Class coupe and forthcoming hot versions of the new A-Class geared towards the sportier end of the market the E-Class coupe seems to be comfortably easing back into more traditional Merc coupe territory without any AMG influence. Which in some ways is nice to know, those W124 coupes and cabrios it shares its mindset with an enduringly popular choice for those seeking an old-school interpretation of luxurious indulgence. A sensible car for grown-ups in other words, there being plenty of V8 hooliganism elsewhere in the range if that's your thing.

Author: Dan Trent
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