Looming bluffs, the salty brine of ocean air, a winding road and the luscious sound of a buttery V8. A convertible may be the first thought for use in this auto paradise, but sunburns are bad news. So a better choice might be a classic hardtop like the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E550 Coupe — a regal piece of luxury engineering notable as much for what it lacks (B-pillars) as what it possesses. Power down the windows, slide back the sunshade of the tinted panoramic sunroof and experience motoring as it was meant to be enjoyed.
If all of this seems a tad romantic, that's because the E-Class coupe is just the sort of automobile you'd fall in love with and keep for 25 years. It certainly feels like it's built to last that long, with the same sort of impenetrable thunk when opening the door handle as the tanklike S-Class sedan or tank-literal G-Class SUV.
Cruising over choppy pavement reveals a peerless ride usually associated with a vehicle that weighs 6,000 pounds, yet it takes corners like the lighter thoroughbred luxury coupe it is. As its name would indicate, the E550 coupe is a new two-door version of Mercedes' venerable E-Class. It's meant to replace the now discontinued CLK-Class — in presence, in prestige, in luxury — yet it costs about $2,000 less than the CLK550.
Based on a mechanical soup of the E-Class sedan and some C-Class bits, the E-Class coupe features the engines and sheer presence of the former, while sharing the more nimble road manners of the latter. The Audi S5 and BMW M3 are right in the price neighborhood, but each represents an escalating degree of sport tuning that along with the E550 provides coupe buyers with distinct flavors of driving — Lux, Sport and Macho. The BMW 6 Series and Jaguar XK may compete in size, luxury and prestige, but cost about $20,000 more.
So you won't find an apples-to-apples rival for the 2010 Mercedes E550 Coupe, but when the sun is shining through the glass roof and the wind is whisking through the open windows, you'll be perfectly content that rivals were absent.
As is typical for Mercedes-Benz, the E550's 5.5-liter V8 is one of refinement and civility. The noises it produces are a distant, dampened burble, yet it masks a generous wallop of effortless punch. With 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque sent to the rear wheels via a leisurely shifting seven-speed auto, the 0-60 sprint takes only 5.3 seconds, which is pretty much equal to a manual-equipped Audi S5. Going the other way on the track produced less impressive results, with a longish (for this class) 130 feet required to stop from 60 mph.
On those gently winding coastal roads, the E550 is in its element. The steering is on the light side, but it's linear and subtly responsive in a way that requires a delicate touch to appreciate. Should that gentle winding become seriously bendy, you'll notice more body roll than is present in its sharper competitors, but at least the E's motions are fluid and predictable at a reasonable speed.
The E550 can go quickly when pushed, but it ultimately encourages a more leisurely pace, as if saying "Why so fast, buddy? Why not roll down the windows and enjoy the world?" Should you be perpetually in a hurry, the S5 is probably the better way to go. Should you perpetually need to get there with the rear end in a smoky drift, go with the M3.
The front seats? Divine. They provide 12 different adjustments for the driver and 10 for the passenger, while adding adjustable bolsters and two different areas of lumbar support. They're firm, supportive and conducive to sudden impulse drives to Florida. The twin bucket backseats? Like Cleveland, they're relatively easy to get to, but you don't really want to go there in the first place.
Rear legroom is tighter than in the S5, and headroom requires occupants to be 5-foot-7 or shorter to ride. There's also no center armrest, but at least the lack of a B-pillar (the center roof pillar normally just aft of the driver's shoulder) and self-returning front seats make getting back there relatively simple.
The cabin is suitably quiet, providing a pleasant cocoon to enjoy the (optional) Harman Kardon stereo. Scoring more points for the E550's lack of a B-pillar, wind buffeting and noise is greatly reduced when the windows are lowered. Cruising at between 50 and 60 mph yields a pleasing waft of air through the cabin that no other coupe in this price range can match.
A relatively tall green house and (sorry to mention it again) no B-pillars create an airy cabin that's easy to see out of. Big mirrors, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and an optional back-up camera make the world behind and beside you that much more transparent.
The cabin controls are virtually identical to those in the E-Class sedan, with the lone exception being a traditional gear shifter in place of an electronic column stalk. The climate controls consist of large toggles and corresponding LCD displays directly above them that make adjustments quick and easy at a glance.
The stereo and other controls are a bit more complicated, and our test car came with the optional COMAND electronics interface. It works pretty well at corralling the car's various functions, and the latest generation's combination of physical dash buttons, steering wheel controls and multifunction knob make the system vastly better than earlier incarnations. The iPod interface, in particular, works quite well.
As far as luxury coupes go, the E550 offers a commendable amount of storage space. The glovebox and center console compartment are quite large, and the cupholders are roomy enough for medium-size beverages. The trunk is even more impressive, providing enough room for a large suitcase and a golf bag widthwise. If you need more room, the 60/40-split rear seats easily flip forward with the pull of two handles mounted in the trunk.
A coupe is usually not the first automotive choice for parents, but whaddaya know, having no B-pillars helps them, too. Lower the back window and finagling a child seat is all of a sudden pretty easy rather than a body-bending activity better suited for Nastia Liukin.
Design/Fit and Finish
Mercedes-Benz has recently transitioned from a more Italian, organic interior design to one more indicative of the blocky, carved-from-stone designs of its past. To our eyes, it works. Materials are first-rate and subtle details like the automated arm that hands you your seatbelt or the chrome plate that lines the inner door edge go that extra distance to make your vehicle purchase seem a bit more special.
On the outside, the E550 manages to be sexy and sophisticated in a more angular, aggressive manner than the softer, more feminine CLK. The four oval lights within the corner airdams are a bit odd (they look like front-mounted exhausts) and the rear quarter window breaks up the hardtop look a little, but in general this is a very handsome car.
Who should consider this vehicle
The E550 is a classic example of a luxury coupe, one for those more interested in a refined ride and a subdued driving character than all-out performance and handling. Should you be the reverse of that, we suggest looking at the Audi S5 or BMW M3. We'd also recommend taking the V6-powered E350 coupe for a spin, as it's plenty powerful and offers all the luxuries of the V8 model.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2010 E-Class featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2010 E-Class 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2010 E-Class.
Review After a long jouney through autoland, I'm finally back to MB. And very pleased with the E350 4Matic. I've driven the car for one year without any issues at all. The car operates in the snow like a Jeep and the Paddle shifters allow you to down shift in bad conditions. The car is fast enough for today's conjested road conditions with power to pass (and besides if I want speed I'll drive my Corvette).
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Available Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2010 Submodel Types: Sedan, Coupe, Convertible, Wagon, Diesel, E63 AMG, E63 AMG 4MATIC S-Model, AMG E 63 S 4MATIC, E55 AMG, AMG E 43 4MATIC, Hybrid, E 63 AMG 4MATIC S-Model, AMG E 63 4MATIC S-Model
Available Trims: E350 4MATIC, E350, E350 Sport 4MATIC, E 300 Sport 4MATIC, E 350 Sport 4MATIC, E 400 4MATIC, E350 Luxury 4MATIC, E 350 Luxury 4MATIC, E320, E550, E320 4MATIC, E 400, E63 AMG, E 300 Luxury 4MATIC, E350 Sport, E550 4MATIC, E500, E550 Sport 4MATIC, E63 AMG 4MATIC S-Model, E500 4MATIC, E 300 Sport, AMG E 63 S 4MATIC, E 350 Sport, E 400 Sport 4MATIC, E55 AMG, AMG E 43 4MATIC, E 300 AMG Line 4MATIC, E320 BLUETEC, E320 CDI, E350 Luxury, E 350 Luxury, E 250 Sport BlueTEC 4MATIC, E300TD, E430, E250 Luxury BlueTEC 4MATIC, E250 Sport BlueTEC 4MATIC, E320 BlueTEC, E 250 Sport BlueTEC, E 63 AMG 4MATIC S-Model, E300D, E350 BlueTEC, E400 Sport Hybrid, E430 4MATIC, AMG E 63 4MATIC S-Model, E 300 Luxury, E 400 Luxury 4MATIC, E 400 Sport Hybrid, E 550, E350 Luxury BlueTEC, E350 Sport BlueTEC, E420
Exterior Colors: Black, Polar White, Iridium Silver Metallic, Steel Grey Metallic, Palladium Silver Metallic, Arctic White, Lunar Blue Metallic , Selenite Grey Metallic, Diamond White Metallic, designo Diamond White Metallic, Obsidian Black Metallic, Diamond Silver Metallic, Capri Blue Metallic, Desert Silver Metallic, Lunar Blue Metallic, designo Silver Metallic, Cardinal Red Metallic, Quartz Blue Metallic, Alabaster White, Indigo Blue Metallic, Indium Grey Metallic, Mars Red, designo Cardinal Red Metallic, Brilliant Silver, Piedmont Green Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic, Dolomite Brown Metallic, Flint Grey Metallic, Granite Grey Metallic, Pearl Beige Metallic, Tectite Grey Metallic, designo Mocha Black Metallic, Dune Silver Metallic , Glacier White, Midnight Blue, Pewter Metallic, Dakota Brown Metallic, Platinum Blue Metallic, Aspen Green, Barolo Red Metallic, Bordeaux Red, Bordeaux Red Metallic, Desert Silver, Obsidian Black, designo Mocha Black, Agate Green, Calypso Green Metallic, Cardinal Red Metallic (Late Availability), Cuprite Brown Metallic, Everest Green Metallic, Iridium Grey Metallic, Jade Green Metallic, Night Black Magno Matte, Pewter Silver Metallic, Sienna Black Metallic, Smoke Silver Metallic, Tectite Gray, designo Graphite, designo Mystic Brown, designo Selenite Grey Magno Matte