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Mercedes-Benz E200 CGI Coupe review (2011 onwards)
Model: Mercedes E200 CGI Coupe
Bodystyle: two-door coupe
Engine: 1.8 turbocharged petrol
Transmission: five-speed automatic
What is it?
Okay, so imagine this. You really want a Mercedes E-Class coupe, preferably the diesel to keep the bills low, but for whatever reason you just can't make the sums work. Maybe it's your company car allowance that's the problem, or the bank manager isn't playing ball over that last grand to get the model you want.
Well there is another way. The cheapest E-Class coupe is the E200 CGI petrol and starts at £31,315, nearly £1,000 cheaper than the entry-level diesel. Yes, it is petrol powered, but with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet it could be the perfect compromise between price, power and running costs.
Where does it fit?
The E-Class coupe replaced the CLK, offering more space, refinement and presence, wrapped up in one of the most aerodynamic and streamlined shapes in the world. This means the E-Class Coupe is about as thirsty as a nun in a night club.
Rivals come in the form of the Audi A5 and BMW 3 Series, with the A5 starting at £25,865 for the entry-level 1.8TFSI while the BMW 318i will set you back £27,000. So Mercedes is charging a premium but is it justified?
Is it for you?
Mercedes has tried hard to move the E-Class Coupe up market. The CLK, as popular as it was, suffered from its association with the smaller, cheaper C-Class.
To justify this, it uses the E-Class' brilliant interior and comes loaded with toys. Even basic spec SE brings leather seats and climate control. The E-Class Coupe is also available as a soft-top convertible if that's your thing with prices starting at £34,685.
What does it do well?
For such a small engine the E200 CGI delivers decent performance thanks to a turbo that churns out 184hp and 199 lb/ft of torque. The dash to 62mph takes 8.5 seconds and it will top out at an Autobahn-friendly 149mph.
There are very few flatspots from this direct-injection engine and, thanks to peak torque coming in as low as 1,800rpm, you get a diesel-like punch. This is taken to the rear wheels via a slightly out-moded five-speed automatic gearbox. There's no emphasis on sportiness here.
The trump card is refinement though and if you want a car that will whisk you in serene comfort the E-Class Coupe is hard to beat. It may have pillarless doors but the cabin remains hushed from wind and road noise while ride quality is smooth thanks to well-damped suspension that errs on providing a cushiony drive.
What doesn't it do well?
Coupe generally means sporty but not in the case of the E-Class Coupe it doesn't. Even in terms of styling it doesn't look racy, and things don't get any more exciting when you turn the key in the ignition.
The four-pot engine doesn't sound particularly pleasing and the lack of steering feel means you aren't rewarded in the same way you would be in the BMW 3 Series coupe.
So, this is not a car for hooning around in, though given the more mature demographic this car is marketed at, that's probably not a bad thing - this is the coupe for those who want a comfortable, stylish drive and aren't too fussed about how quickly it will blitz the 'Ring.
What's it like to live with?
Even though it is based on the E-Class saloon, the Coupe is actually shorter which means that, combined with the sloping roofline, it isn't all that roomy in the rear. Adults will struggle to stretch out in comfort if relegated to the back seats, even though this is one of the easiest coupes to climb into the back of thanks to wide-opening doors and seats which automatically move forward.
Up front, the piano black interior looks smart, the soft-touch dash feels very classy and the buttons work with solid precision. However, the menu system isn't as intuitive as Audi's, with too many buttons scattered across the dash.
How green is it?
Combined economy of 38.7mpg makes this the most efficient petrol model and, if you're being very saintly, you might even see 49.6mpg on a long run. Carbon emissions of 168g/km means you will only pay tax on 23% of the car's list price, useful for keeping tax bills low if you're a company driver.
Would we buy it?
The E-Class Coupe is an intriguing car and the E200 CGI is a great starting point if that's all you can afford. But do a bit of overtime, plead with the boss for more car allowance or try and get a better finance deal because the diesels are better to drive and won't cost so much to run.
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