The CLK is dead, the E-class Coupe has been pushed upmarket, and the CLC is a horrible old little hatchback. Which, until now, has left Mercedes without a rival for BMW’s 3-series Coupe and Audi’s A5 Coupe.
Step forward the Mercedes C-class Coupe – which is all C-class unlike the E-class Coupe which uses parts from both the C- and E-class saloons. The new two-door from the three-pointed star is offered in various guises, from a C220 CDI, via a couple of petrols, to an M3-rivalling C63 AMG variant with a 451bhp 6.2-litre V8.
We tried the C-class Coupe in 250 CDI spec. Read on for our first drive review of the new Mercedes C-class Coupe.
Presumably the naming nomenclature of the Mercedes C250 CDI Coupe bears no relation to the engine size or power output?
Indeed it doesn’t. Both the C220 CDI and C250 CDI utilise a 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel, and in the latter twin turbos help it produce 201bhp and a massive 369lb ft. It’s a remarkable engine, as swift as you’ll ever need: first gear is short, but second, third and fourth dispatch traffic with ease, and there’s still plenty of easy motorway overtaking grunt in sixth. It’s also a much quieter and more refined installation than when we’ve tested this 250 CDI engine in the E-class, and over 500 miles it averaged over 50mpg.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and despite our test car boasting £7k’s worth of options, it hadn’t been upgraded to the almost de rigueur seven-speed auto. Again the ‘box feels slicker than in the manual E-class that we recently tested, and feels more suited to the smaller bodyshell – but try the auto before you buy.
Whether it’s M Sport, S-line or AMG Sport, the sports suspension option on Germany’s big three premium brands just doesn’t seem suited to UK roads. Granted the 15mm lower springs fitted to the C-class Coupe (part of standard AMG Sport package) won’t shake you like an Audi, but a few bumps will still have you bouncing around.
It’s a good chassis though, sharper than the already entertaining C-class saloon, with quick and consistent (if light) steering, though all that torque will bring in the electronics in first and second gear out of tight corners. As a cruiser, it’s brilliant too.
Does the Mercedes C-class Coupe look good in the metal?
Both yes and no. The C-class has always been a good looking little executive saloon, and its Coupe cousin inherits the latest refreshed front lights and sharp LED tail lamps. The beefed-up skirts and bumpers of our AMG Sport C Coupe help too, but the sobre flanks lack the dynamic lines of a 3-series or A5 and make it look a little too much like a simple two variant rather than a unique model (as BMW and Audi manage).
Inside the C Coupe also features the upgraded interior from the C saloon, with improved dash plastics: quality shames the ageing 3-series, and it’s more intuitively laid out than the A5. The front seats are both comfortable and cossetting. Electronic height and backrest adjustment is standard, but our car’s optional full memory package (£1095, and including electric steering wheel and mirror adjustment) means they take an age to slide out of the way to give access to the two decent rear seats. Leather is a £1350 option (an artificial substitute is standard), and the excellent Comand multimedia system is a steep £2245.
Quiet, comfortable, fast, economical, solidly built, decent to drive and good to look at – this is a very accomplished and credible rival for Audi and BMW’s coupe offerings. It’s just a pity it’s taken Merc so long to make it.
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