Mercedes-Benz updated its E-class for the 2010 model year, making it available as the E550 Coupe or Sedan, or the E350 Coupe or Sedan. This model is the E550 Coupe. It uses the latest Mercedes-Benz cabin tech and some innovative driver aid features.

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The model shown here is the E550 Sedan, a very different-looking car from the Coupe. Where the Coupe is sleek, the Sedan is more traditionally stately. However, both have the same cabin tech and power-train options.

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The new styling for the E550 Coupe shows in the very attractive front end, with its artfully arranged grille headlights, fog lights, day time running lights, and turn signals.

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The 5.5-liter V-8 powering the E550 Coupe and Sedan is the same engine that Mercedes-Benz launched with the S550 in 2005. In this application, it makes 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, adequate to push the Coupe to 60 mph in 5 seconds.

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The E550 Coupe has a particularly sleek roofline, with a graceful curve enhanced by the lack of B-pillars. Access to the rear seats is enhanced by seats that automatically power forward and long side doors.

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The ride in the E550 Coupe is comfortable yet firm. An adjustable suspension lets the driver choose between sport and comfort modes.

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The interior shows typical Mercedes-Benz luxury, although there is still plenty of plastic among the leather and metal.

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There is some understeer with this big E550 Coupe, but a little throttle applied to the V-8 brings the car back in line easily.

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The analog clock is an odd addition to the instrument cluster, and almost seems placed just to balance out the tachometer. The display in the speedometer offers useful information about fuel economy, range, navigation, and even the current music selection.

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The seven-speed automatic transmission has been nicely refined by Mercedes-Benz, with a clutch added to the torque converter to grip gears more precisely.

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These banks of plastic buttons are functional, but mar the image of luxury in the cabin. The Sport button on the lower bank changes the suspension and the power-train response.

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The hard-drive-based navigation system shows maps in 2D and 3D, with some buildings rendered in 3D mode.

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Route guidance with the navigation system is exceptionally good, featuring explicit graphics and lane guidance.

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Zagat ratings for restaurants are now integrated with the points of interest, letting you select a good restaurant in an unfamiliar city.

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iPod connectivity features full music navigation, but other digital audio sources let you find music only by folder or file.

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Harmon Kardon did an excellent job with the audio system in the E550 Coupe. It uses Logic 7 to simulate 7.1 channel surround audio from any source.

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This system has 610 watts of amplification and 14 speakers around the cabin. We were very impressed by the audio quality.

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