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#10

in 2011 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $29,663 - $39,440
Original MSRP: $48,850 - $64,800
MPG: 17 City / 26 Hwy
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2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers note the comfortable road manners of the E-Class, which lacks the sporty character of many luxury two-door cars. Many consider it a balanced car with decent handling, but those who are impressed with its acceleration usually drove the more expensive E550, which features improved power thanks to its V8 engine. If you want a coupe or convertible with a more sporting nature, you would do well to also check out the BMW 3-Series or the Audi A5.

  • "Consider the stage set, then, for a mature driving experience, one that neither sets one’s heart ablaze nor lulls a guy to sleep (although if indeed the latter occurs, the list of E-class safety equipment includes a drowsiness monitor)." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Although it's not the most athletic pick, it nevertheless offers highly tactile steering, strong engines and a chassis that inspires confidence." -- Edmunds 
  • "There is one glaring issue with the convertible, and that's shudder in the body. It's not so excessive that I wouldn't recommend this car because of it, but there's more than I was expecting." -- Los Angeles Times 
  • "Throttle response is lightning-quick from the 5.5-liter V8, and that makes the rest of the car feel all the more capable. Steering in both cars is light, but not detached, and the 18-inch wheels on the E550 give the car a more planted feel compared with the E350." -- MSN 
  • “In its manual mode, shiftable with the stick or paddles on the steering wheel spokes, gear changes feel surprisingly precise. Much of the slushiness from the torque converter has been eliminated by incorporating an electronically controlled clutch." -- CNET 
  • "Replacing the CLK, the 2010 Mercedes E-Class Coupe adopts a similar look to the new E-Class Sedan and most of its mechanicals. It's just a shame it's not as fun to drive as the four-door." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power 

The 2011 Mercedes Benz E-Class is available in two trims which are designated by the engine they carry. The E350 features a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 268 horsepower, or the E550 which has a 382 horsepower 5.5-liter V8 under the hood. Reviewers generally note that either engine will provide enough power to make the E-Class a competent highway cruiser, although those wanting some additional grunt will prefer the E550.

While reviewers prefer the power of the V8-equipped E550, it does add a significant bump to the bottom line – a little over $6,500 in the coupe and nearly $8,000 on convertible models. Check out the BMW 3-Series, for better performance. It offers similar body styles to the E-class, but with more athletic handling and a variety of drivetrain options that include all-wheel drive. While Mercedes offers all-wheel drive on E-Class sedans, it is not currently available on the E-Class coupe or convertible.

The EPA gives E350 coupes and convertibles fuel economy ratings of 17/26 mpg and 17/25 mpg city/highway, respectively. Ratings are slightly lower in E550 coupes and convertibles. The E550 coupe earns a fuel economy rating of 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, while the E550 cabriolet nets 15/22 mpg in city/highway driving.

  • "The E550, though it doesn't feel as fast as Mercedes' estimate, is still plenty quick. Convertibles are heavier than their coupe and sedan counterparts, and acceleration is blunted by comparison. The transmission in the E350 convertible has to shift frequently to keep up with demand in hill-and-dale driving. The E550 convertible has plenty of smooth power." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The V-8 knocks more than a second from the convertible's zero-to-60 time, to 5.1 seconds, and endows the car with the characteristics of a butler with a penchant for weightlifting: silent operation combined with formidable strength." -- Los Angeles Times 
  • "Under the E350 Cabriolet's hood is a 268-hp V6 that generates an admirable 258 lb.-ft. of torque and provides more-than-adequate acceleration under most circumstances. If you're into raw speed, you'll have to pay extra for the E550 (starting price: $65,675), which is powered by a 382-hp V8 rated at an even more impressive 391 lb.-ft. of torque." -- BusinessWeek 
  • "The 7-speed automatic transmission handles gear-swapping duties without any drama in both cars. No matter how hard we tried, we were never able to confound the transmission's logic, even with plenty of hard acceleration and easy motoring in traffic. While the touch-shift manual gear control is quicker than most "manumatic" applications we've come across, we'd still like to see the more sports-oriented double-clutch transmission of European offerings find its way into E-Class cars bound for the U.S." -- MSN 
  • "As in other Mercedes-Benz models we've driven with this V-8 engine, the E550 Coupe was ready and willing to go, leaping forward when we gave it even just three-quarters throttle. That power is fed through a seven-speed automatic transmission, something Mercedes-Benz has done a good job of refining." -- CNET  
  • "Revving the V8 results in a delightfully antisocial exhaust note from the squared off pipes." -- Jalopnik

Handling and Braking

The 2011 E-Class coupe and cabriolet, while definitely more athletic than its E-Class sedan siblings, still lack the sportiness of other luxury coupes and convertibles on the market. Additionally, reviewers note the E-Class’s vague steering feel and suspension, which some say feels less-composed over road imperfections. If you’re shopping for a luxury coupe or convertible with impressive handling, you might want to look at smaller alternatives such as the BMW 3-Series or Audi A5.

  • "Although it’s not a sports car, the E-class still steers well, with good self-centering, and it has perfectly good body control and a ride that strikes the right balance between supple and firm." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The electrically variable shocks -- standard on the E550 -- manage body roll gracefully and in their stiffest settings dial in considerable road feel while mitigating harsher impacts." -- Car and Driver  
  • "E-Class is pleasant and capable, but all fall well short of being outright sporty. We notice some body lean in fast turns. Steering feel seems sloppy to some testers, even on versions equipped with the Sport Package. Braking is highly responsive, easy to modulate, and impeccably secure." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The firm ride doesn't really go with the E550's light steering, which doesn't demand much effort when turning the wheel. Turn-in response is quick and natural, but there's little feedback, and large bumps jiggle the steering wheel some." -- Los Angeles Times 
  • "The car handles fine, but the size, weight and, most important, its attitude don't invite any mountain road slaloms. Steering benefits from Benz's newfound interest in road feel, and its weight feels just right." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The E550 Coupe defaults into comfort mode, but its reflexes can be considerably sharpened by pressing the sport button on the center stack. In comfort mode, we found a car that cruised the roads easily. Soaking up the road imperfections, the suspension is also fairly firm, a good compromise between luxury and sport." -- CNET  
  • "Corners are taken with virtually no body roll, steered into with accuracy and exited with plenty of thrust from either the 268 HP 3.5-liter V6 or 382 HP 5.5-liter V8." -- Jalopnik

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