A hybrid hero is doing the heavy lifting for the family-focussed E-Class sedan in 2013 but it's the new E400, with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, that is the standout for the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet.
Crucially, the go-faster E400 already satisfies the stricter upcomign Euro6 emissions standards that will drive greener motoring around the world for the next five years.
But the hybrid E-Class package will not make it into the two-door cars. The four-seater Coupe and Cabriolet are previewed this week in a rapid-fire delivery after the sedan that previewed an updated look for the E-Class - mostly around the nose - and more than 1500 mechanical and specification changes to the German heartland car.
They are packed with breakthrough technology, including always-on high beam lamps, a pre-safe system that can recognise an upcoming rear-end smash, active lane keeping that prevents an unsafe move, and an automatic parking system that works for both parallel and end-on spaces.
Best of all is an automated braking system that recognises pedestrians and crossing traffic for the first time, technology already trickling down from development of the new Benz S-Class flagship coming later in 2013. The updated Coupe and Cabriolet will land in Australia in the third quarter of this year, most likely September, with the usual lag behind the sedan and wagon.
Prices are likely to be very close to today - which means from $95,000 for an E250 Coupe and $107,850 for a similar Cabriolet - although nothing is official. "It will be similar pricing to today. But, again, we're aiming to add more equipment and boost the value," says Jerry Stamoulis, spokesman for Mercedes-Benz Australia.
He also refuses to confirm the arrival of the E400, even though it's an open secret and an obvious opportunity to win new buyers. "It's too early for us to be talking about individual models in the new E-Class family," says Stamoulis.
But official details of the engine have arrived from Europe, listing 245 kW of power and 480 Nm of torque, good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 5.7 seconds but with economy of 7.5 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 175 grams per kilometre.
Mercedes claims it sets a new standard for six-cylinder engines, something that is sure to be contested by the company's rivals at BMW. Visually, the changes are mostly at the front of the E Coupe and Cabrio, mirroring the chunkier look of the sedan and its bigger one-piece headlamps.