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Mercedes E220 CDI Coupe

Revamped Merc E-Class Coupe driven on British roads for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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The Mercedes E-Class Coupe looks better than ever, but the dynamics are still some way short of the class best, and the 220 CDI can’t quite offer the performance to match the looks – despite its admirable efficiency.

The Mercedes E-Class Coupe is in a class of its own at the moment. The BMW 4 Series is not due on sale until next year, while the Audi A5 is smaller and cheaper. This is the first time we've tested the entry-level E220 CDI on UK roads.

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The sharpened styling works particularly well with the AMG Sport body kit of the two-door E-Class, and classy details such as the chrome splitter and intricate LED rear lights make it a real object of desire.

Smart 18-inch alloy wheels and square twin exhausts complete the looks – and inside the refresh adds smarter materials and the gear shifter has moved from the dash to the wheel to free up cabin space.

• BMW 4 Series news• Audi A5 review

Under the bonnet the E220 CDI uses the same 2.1-litre diesel engine as before and despite being the cheapest car in the range the 168bhp and 400Nm on tap give it respectable performance. It’s a bit gruff and rattly on start-up but settles down nicely at speed, and thanks to tweaks to the engine it’s also more efficient than before, managing 57.7mpg and emitting just 129g/km of CO2.

All AMG trimmed models get lowered sports suspension and adaptive dampers as standard but the ride is slightly schizophrenic. At low speeds on bumpy roads it is rather fidgety and uneven but it soaks up bigger crests smoothly enough.

The optional seven-speed automatic gearbox can also be a little slow to react – which makes the coupe more of a cruiser than a precise sports car and the steering is inconsistently weighted, with too much play around the straight ahead.

Still, although headroom is quite tight it is surprisingly roomy in the back and the 450-litre boot is a decent size for carrying luggage and the increase in standard kit makes the E-Class better value than before – even though prices have risen too.

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