Johannesburg - We’re not sure whether the name of the new two-door Mercedes-Benz E-Class, launched in South Africa this week, should be spelled with or without an accent on the final ‘e’.

Mercedes calls it the E-Class Coupé, but its architecture is so typical of luxury Americana that ‘coupe’ might be more appropriate. It’s based on the E-Class sedan, but with a low-slung grille, a long bonnet with power bulges, four frameless, fully retractable side windows, four individual seats and no B pillars.

With LED lighting all round, it’s 38mm taller than its predecessor and at least 67mm bigger in every other dimension, with commensurate gains in interior space, emphasised by the dashboard trim that sweeps from door to door and two optional 31cm instrument displays under a single lens, to form what Mercedes calls a ‘widescreen cockpit’, with three different display styles – "Classic", "Sport" and "Progressive".

The standard version has two round dials with a 17.8cm display between them and a 21.3cm centre display, all set in a single piano black frame, and in either case the instrument cluster displays and multimedia system are controlled by either finger-swipe touch controls on the steering wheel, a centre console touchpad that can read handwriting, or voice control.

The standard Avantgarde trim features blue and beige leather with light wood veneer in either open-pore or bright gloss finish, while the AMG line is trimmed in either black and red or black and white, together with deeper bumpers at both ends, special exterior trim, bigger rims, and an AMG sports steering wheel.

As you’d expect, the Coupé has all the gizmotronics of its four-door sibling, including wireless smartphone connection and charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and live traffic information with ‘free flow’‘display. Driver aids include Drive Pilot, an active cruise control that’ll maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you at up to 210km/h, automatic braking for slow traffic or pedestrians, and remote parking via a smartphone app.

Also available as options are multibeam headlights, each with 84 individual LEDs, directly fed windscreen wiper blades and a concierge service.

The standard issue steel-spring suspension with amplitude-dependent damping runs 15mm lower than that of the sedan, but Mercedes admits it’s tuned for comfort.

If Sir wishes to drive in a more spirited manner, Sir should choose the dynamic body control suspension with adjustable damping, offering "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport+" settings, or the Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension with continuous, electronically controlled adaptive damping at each individual wheel.

The E-Class Coupé is available at launch with a choice of one diesel and three petrol engines, each driving via a nine-speed 9GTronic automatic transmission – but we’ve been promised more engine choices and all-wheel drive versions down the road.

The E 220d has a new all-aluminum 1950cc turbodiesel four, with single-stage turbocharger and variable turbine geometry, as well as a special cylinder coating called Nanoslide for reduced friction between piston and liner.

It’s rated for 143kW at 3800 revs and 400Nm from 1600-2800rpm. 0-100 takes 7.4 seconds and top whack is 242km/h, at a nominal NEDC test-bench fuel consumption of four litres per 100km.

The two-litre E 200 turbopetrol four delivers a quoted 135kW at 5500rpm and 300Nm from 1200-4000rpm, hits a hundred in 7.8 seconds and 240km/h flat out, at a nominal cost of six litres per 100km.

The E 300 has the same engine, but tuned for 180kW at 5500rpm and 370Nm from 1400-4000rpm, launches to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds and is limited to 250km/h, while slurping 6.4 litres per 100km on the NEDC test bench.

Topping the range at launch is the three-litre, V6 turbopetrol E 400 with 4Matic all-wheel drive, boasting 245kW from 5250-6000rpm and 480Nm from 1600 – 4000, sprinting from 1-100 in 5.3s and limited to 250km/h, at a nominal cost of 8.1 litres per 100km.

MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS COUPÉ PRICES

E 200

135kW/300Nm

R754 500

E 220d

143kW/400Nm

R806 500

E.300

180W/370Nm

R842 500

E 400 4Matic

245kW/480Nm

R1 021 500

These include a six year or 100 000km maintenance plan, but to to get it you'll also have to be registered for the Mercedes 'connect me' concierge service.

IOL Motoring

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