It feels less like a traditional automobile cockpit and more like a home cinema with a giant widescreen up front and enough Burmester speaker grilles for the full surround-sound experience from behind the wheel.
That said, the front buckets are superbly moulded with good levels of side bolster. The driving position is surprisingly low, at least for my shorter frame, but that’s the way we like it.
Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG calls it most intelligent car on the planet, and while the screens alone might suggest that point, there’s plenty of other kit to quantify that statement.
Drivers can access the screens via a rotary dial, touch pad on the centre console or via a pair of clever touch pads on the steering wheel. Using the left-hand pad, drivers can scroll through menus on the instrument display, while the right pad is used to scroll through the infotainment functions on the right-hand screen.
There’s also a super-bright head-up display, which displays multiple information including speed signs, actual speed and sat nav directions. Choose the ambient light option and you’ll get a choice of up to 64 colours.
The Magic Vision Control washer/wiper system is particularly innovative and useful. The wiper blades are lined with multiple jet washers which eliminate any vision-obscuring water on the windscreen when activated.
There’s also a raft of next-generation driving assistance systems on board the new E-Class Coupe like active lane change assist, evasive steering assist and steering pilot – which can effectively function as an autopilot system in certain situations. It’s very impressive technology.
It’s more than just the technology that excites. Inside, the styling team has also gone to work with a superb blend of curves, materials and innovative design cues, which set this car apart from any of its rivals.
It’s very nautical and the grained wood finish on our test car is simply stunning. It’s unmistakably premium, but the standout feature are the jet turbine-inspired air vents. These truly are wonderful, with even the starter button adopting the turbine-look theme
It seems Mercedes-Benz has applied the same level of design and detail to the engineering of this car, because the E-Class Coupe is an outstanding driver’s car to boot, regardless of whether you choose the E 300 with 2.0-litre turbo-four petrol or the top-shelf E 400 4Matic version with 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine.
Australia is also taking the 220d with a new four-cylinder diesel engine, which we weren’t able to sample at the launch in Spain recently.
The journey kicked off from Barcelona Airport and onto a high-speed freeway, where we could wind it up – and that we did.
Right from the outset, the level of refinement in the V6 drivetrain is most noticeable. It’s paired with Benz’s own nine-speed automatic transmission, and the shifts are all but seamless in all modes except Sport+, which we found too manic even for twisty mountain roads.
The bi-turbo six develops 245kW of power and a not too shabby 480Nm of torque, and frankly we were expecting more punch out of the gate, but it tips the scales at relatively hefty 1845kg (160kg more than the E300).
But it’s deceptive, because keep your right foot pinned and the big coupe can scoot from standstill to 100km/h in a brisk 5.3 seconds. It soon gets going, though, because all 480Nm comes on song between 1600-4000rpm, and before you know it, you’re hitting two-hundred.
The thing is, even at those speeds, there’s so much more in reserve. Top speed is 250km/h, and I’m convinced it could sit at that speed all day, and never miss a beat. Mid-range acceleration is strong, but never scintillating. But again, it’s the perfectly linear power delivery and general refinement of this powertrain that will excite the market most.