Motoring 3a WEB

Ridiculous given that most women are car owners today and many of whom absolutely love driving and love cars. And if not, then at the very least we need to know which ones offer easy child access, safety, economy and enough space to stash the mountain of ‘stuff’ that we all need at hand.

Given that women make 80% of the buying decisions in households, I am still utterly amazed and frustrated that most car dealerships have not awoken to this fact. 

There are the odd exceptions to this and they are to be applauded.

Just think how much more profitable and respected these dealerships would be if they gave an equal level of customer service to both women and men and how much happier we would all be. Women should look forward to, and thoroughly enjoy, their (often hard earned) buying experience.

It’s probably one of the simplest commercial equations to understand and yet one that remains incomprehensible for many dealerships. It really is not that hard!

So, having spent the best part of two years bending Maarten’s ear about my displeasure, I was delighted to accept this opportunity to review a variety of cars. In fact, I bit his arm off. I suspect it might have been the quickest acceptance he’s ever had as a Publisher.

So, I hope that I don’t disappoint. I have based my review on what I look for in a car which I hope will translate for many working women. If it does not hit the spot, then please let us know.

First impressions count I’m afraid. No apologies if that appears shallow. If I look at a car and I get a great gut reaction, then that is an excellent starting point. I like stylish, understated cars without any bling. But rather like meeting a potential partner, whilst they might look great on the outside it is not until you get to know them that you can decide if they are a keeper or are going to be unreliable and let you down.

Next up is reliability, build quality, how fast can it accelerate out of a tight spot and comfort.

Too much technology is lost on me and very distracting. Fancy dashboards don’t do it for me – I am driving a car, not a Boeing 737. How much of this technology is truly used to the maximum?

Leg room (I am 6ft), decent boot space, great sound system and easy to access especially for the elder members of my tribe – note – don’t buy a SAAB convertible for the latter. I had to take the roof down on more than one occasion to get my grandmother out. 

I want to look forward to every driving experience that I have.

I want it to be intuitive, fun, economical and safe with low C02 emissions where at all possible, and do you consider diesel or petrol.

Bearing all of that in mind then, I had the pleasure of test driving the Mercedes AMG E53 Coupe, so what did I think...

Mercedes-Benz describe their E-Class Coupe range as being ‘just the right balance between athletic style and elegant refinement’ and that it will ‘attract admiring looks’.

It is an important model in their range, aiming to reinstate them at the top of the executive car market. It is offered in four body styles, 4 door saloon, estate, coupe and convertible. As far as safety is concerned, Mercedes have a superb reputation for such and have one of the highest scores of any manufacturer. 

Described by Top Gear as ‘a steller technological statement’ it is clearly a feat of advanced engineering and I have no doubt that hardcore car enthusiasts who love speed will get very excited by it all – it accelerates from 0 – 60  mph in 4.4 sec (which I have to admit was great fun) and is most definitely a fast and sharply responding car.

But I have to admit my heart sank a little when Maarten handed me four pages of features which included the words Cockpit, Racetimer, 64 colour Ambient lighting and infotainment and then informed me that the RRP was £64,860. I feared this experience might be rather wasted on me and you.

Tech stuff
Model tested: E-Class E53 AMG
Engine: 3.0-litre V6
Power: 435 bhp
Speed: 0-60 mph 4.4 seconds
Top: 155 mph
Economy: 32.5 mpg combined
Price from: £64,860
E-Class range from: £36,895

Yay
• 0-60 in 4.4 secs – great fun and handy for nipping past cyclists on country lanes.
• Large boot space – enough to accommodate suitcases, golf clubs, child’s buggy.
• Great steering wheel – felt very responsive and safe when in charge of a 435hp engine.
• Decent make-up mirrors – as mentioned by my passenger, sorry, co-pilot. 
• The less expensive models starting at around £36,000 are popular company cars with lower C02 emissions which is good news on the Benefit in Kind tax front.
• It was smooth to drive but you keenly felt the uneven surfaces of country roads.

Nay
• It didn’t have quite the WOW factor – yes it was athletic but not particularly elegant.
• Neither was getting out of the car unless you want people to know if you shop at M&S or La Perla...
• The panoramic “infotainment” was over engineered and hugely distracting.
• The interior furnishing quality was disappointingly poor and did not match
the exterior.
• Not easy to connect an iPhone.
• No handbook – apparently, you must go online if anything goes wrong (really?) – not good if you have no signal in the middle of nowhere, a flashing light of some unknown symbol accompanied by an irritating bonging noise and no power to the engine
• Red seat belts.

in a nutshell
It was fast, fun and attracted admiring glances (which is a story for another time) but I won’t be purchasing one anytime soon for my grown up daytime world.

Score: 7/10

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