PAGE 18 BAY HARBOUR Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Wednesday July172019 Strong styling from Mercedes-Benz coupe Motoring Ross Kiddie MY THOUGHTS are that if you are paying over $180k for a new car you’d at least expect it to look the part. That is certainly what Mercedes-Benz has done with its E Class coupe line-up. Well, the entire E Class series looks pretty spectacular, it arrives here in sedan, coupe and convertible, and each has presence, its size, shape and detailing combine to give an overwhelming sense of purpose. The latest generation E Class has been around since 2016 and I’ve driven three variants, culminating in this evaluation, the E53 AMG coupe. I’m very enthusiastic about the turbocharged V8 engine that powers many models in the Mercedes-Benz AMG performance range, that generally has the nomenclature 63, and at around $200k the sedan would probably be my pick. However, the E53 coupe is not disgraced as it, too, is a true performance vehicle. Under the bonnet sits a twin-turbocharged V6 engine of 2999cc. That engine is also carried across the Mercedes- Benz range with varying outputs and in each case has remarkable sound through the exhaust. In the E53 that sound is still there, it barks and spits during gear shifts both up and down. The constant rumble out the pipes can’t quite be heard to the same extent as it is in the soft-top, but the coupe definitely has an audible presence. I simply love it, I was forever blipping the throttle and forcing shifts just to hear the boom and crackle. In terms of power outputs, Mercedes-Benz claims 320kW and 520Nm. If you add to that the constant turbocharged boost you know you are in for some excitement when the roads allow a bit of freedom. Mercedes-Benz also claims a 4.4sec standstill to 100km/h time, and by my stopwatch it will lunge through a highway overtake in just under 4sec (80-120km/h). These are impressive times, but fit well with the sporty nature of the coupe, it has the performance to match its powerful looks. Yet, the big coupe is also docile when the roads don’t allow for performance, it will dawdle the city streets without taxing the driver, indeed the entire driving experience is one of comfort and relaxation. So competent is MERCEDES-BENZ E53 COUPE: Dynamic performance and looks. it at speed that the driver doesn’t need to work hard to maintain momentum, everything the E53 does, it does with ease. On a stormy early winter weekend I took the evaluation car to Windwhistle before returning to the city through Hororata and Dunsandel. I had intended to go further west towards Lake Coleridge power station, but the roads were tricky with snow piled to the sides and ice a major threat. However, I felt at ease in the E53, it is majorly competent because drive is channelled through a nine-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. On the greasy wet roads it was great to have the reassurance 4WD offers, grip is high, and even though there was a lot of water under the tyres they never felt like they would lose traction. What’s more the driveline feels biased towards the rear, promoting a sporty feeling, powering out of a corner lends to the sensation that oversteer would be available, of course, you can’t break traction thanks to the trick control systems, but the car does provide all of the feel-good factors that a dynamic suspension and driveline offer. There are also suspension settings the driver can dial in for him/herself. That’s the beauty of an air suspension set-up, the ride is glorious, yet can be firmed or softened at will. If you haven’t driven a car which utilises air underneath, then I suggest you give it a try, it is the ideal compromise for comfort and handling, the cushioning effect is simply amazing. In AMG form the E53 is fully • Price – Mercedes- Benz E53 AMG coupe, $181,300 • Dimensions – Length, 4826mm; width, 1860mm; height, 1430mm • Configuration – V6, four-wheel-drive, 2999cc, 320kW, 520Nm, nine-speed, automatic. • Performance – 0-100km/h, 4.4sec • Fuel usage – 8.8l/100km specced with all of the upmarket and luxury kit you’d expect for a car of this price, they are all laid out in the traditional Mercedes- Benz style, the layout of the controls is intuitive once familiar. It also has the tweaks which provide the performance factor, and that is where the AMG badging comes in, it adds to the dynamics of both performance and looks. As mentioned, if I was an E Class buyer, I’d pay the extra $20k for sedan’s V8 power and its five seats (as opposed to four seats in the coupe). However, don’t be misled, the E53 and its V6 engine represents true performance and has the benefits of beautiful styling. I’m a big coupe fan, and I particularly enjoyed my time in the evaluation car, the grace with which it travels and the overall design is something to surely treasure.
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