The new Mercedes E Class Coupe is one this year's best cars!

With Mercedes Benz realigning its pricelist not so long ago, the latest E Class and all new E Class Coupe cost a lot less money than you'd expect. The saloon starts at just over €41,000, while the stunning Coupe can be yours for under €48,000! Yes, it is still a lot of cash in these hard times for the CLK replacement, but relatively speaking you get a lot of car for your buck.

This week I'm testing the E250CDi Blue Efficiency model with the AMG kit. With a few optional extras fitted it weighs in at €55,170, but even still I feel like I'm in a motor worth €70,000 or €80,000 in the 'Tiger' days. Built on an adapted C-Class platform the exterior is sophisticated and elegant yet it has a youthful appeal. Styling wise, with just two doors and the absence of a 'B' pillar (the one in the middle), the Coupe's profile is bound to be a bit more special. The rear wheel arch treatment harks back to the origins of the E Class saloon and later Coupe from the 1950s, while the front end is pure modern Mercedes with just the right hint of aggression thrown in thanks to angular headlights. The new four-seat Coupe makes a strong statement. I can see in no time at all the E Class Coupe filling up hospital consultants' parking spaces as they downsize from their big CLs to something a little more modest next year.

Inside the cabin is spacious and plush. The dash is set lower than in the E Class saloon and feels more sporty. The massive panoramic glass roof works well and overall the interior ambience is super. My test car's seats are excellent and overall this coupe is a car you can happily spend a lot of time in.

On the road the Coupe is planted and the ride composed. The cabin is very quiet and this is no surprise as the Coupe is, for now, the world's most aerodynamic production car (0.24). While the Coupe is meant to be more sporty than the saloon, I still find myself behaving sensibly behind the wheel. The rear-wheel drive Mercedes is still behind its archrival BMW when it comes to driving dynamics despite a host of interesting technologies under the skin.

Standard specification can be enhanced to Elegance or Avantgarde for a premium, although the AMG sports package option is really the one to go for first. New to the Coupe is 'Designo' which is a two-tone leather interior trim option. Engine-wise the 250CDi four-cylinder turbo diesel makes the most sense but if you want more torque the 350CDi pushes out 540nm (+40) and has 230bhp. Petrol lovers can have a four cylinder 250, 350 (V6) or top of the range E500 V8 engine. The V8 has 530nm of pulling power and 385bhp. It takes just 5.4 seconds to go 0-100km/h.

The E Class coupe is a very impressive car. If I was a fat cat (or come to think of it even just a cat), I'd have in a heartbeat - it's that good!

Michael Sheridan