Coupe ups the style stakes
THERE is something about understated elegance, about using subtlety to make an impact that is so incredibly classy. No in-your-face lewdness, no crass promises, no embarrassing compromises. Just the quiet confidence that comes with knowing your worth and an unwavering belief in your ability despite the strengths of those around you.
That is the world of the new C-Class Coupe and one in which Mercedes-Benz, who have had such deserved success with the C-Class sedan and estate, can do little wrong.
Of course following in the footsteps of such acclaim can be a tough gig but the C-Coupe available here in two petrols – C200 and C300 – and a solitary diesel – the C250 d – is both embracing that good fortune and creating some of its own.
It is longer, lower, wider and lighter than the car it replaces and sports AMG styling and a host of goodies – safety and comfort – to have you happy with your lot. All three all-wheel-drive variants tested here are powered by engines familiar to the Benz line-up with the petrols paired with a seven-speed G-Tronic transmission and the diesel a nine-speed. We will have an outing in the AMG C63 S Coupe with its beast of a V8 next week.
Stylish and modern, the double stitched dash of the Coupe mirrors that of the C-Class sedan with a floating tablet-like infotainment screen, flat-bottomed steering wheel and a combination of brushed black oak and alloy to lighten the palette.
Fit and finish is as we have come to expect from Benz with quality high-end touches and an obvious feeling of luxury with the German giant opting for restraint instead of dazzling displays.
The integral front sports seats, built specifically for this Coupe, are all soft leather and lavish comfort, cushioning the small of the back and effectively gripping the thighs during more enthusiastic forays. They move forward to afford entry to the two rear buckets (this is strictly a four-seater) where the accommodations now allow for a tad more head and elbow room but is tight nonetheless - which is hardly a surprise in a coupe.
On the road
We spent most of our time in the C300 – expected to be the volume seller here – and the C250d the only diesel on offer, and it was difficult to not be impressed.
Now before you get all excited about the sporty aspirations the Coupe suggests, these manifestations are more about luxury touring than crazy racing moves.
Does it respond when hurled around corners? Yes, in delightful fashion.
Does it have the power for quick overtaking manoeuvres? A big yes.
Is there good body control, reassuring grip and driving feedback? Yes, yes and yes.
But the C-Class Coupe accomplishes these tasks like a lion stretching in the lazy afternoon sun rather than a leopard poised to strike. There is calm and ease and effortless mooching motion. For the leopard excitement, the C63 S AMG with its 4.0-litre engine available later this month is a better fit.
What do you get?
There is no shortage of equipment on offer with the entry-level C200 offering up dual-zone climate control, 17.7cm colour display infotainment system with touchpad control, Bluetooth connectivity and iPod integration, sat nav, reverse camera with parking sensors, digital radio, push-button start, AMG body styling, LED performance headlights and 18-inch alloys.
The C250 d adds leather upholstery, privacy glass, keyless entry, powered boot, driver assistance package and 19-inch alloys while the C300 also boasts a larger infotainment screen with internet connectivity and a superior sound system as well as a sports exhaust system. Safety features include nine airbags, adaptive brake with hold function and hill-start assist, 360 degree camera, attention assist, collision prevention assist plus and blind spot assist with the C250 d and C300 also getting steering assist, stop and go, cross traffic assist and lane keeping assist.
Powertrains optimised for efficiency have improved consumption by 20% with official figures at 6.0 litres/100km for the C200, 4.4L/100km for the C250 d and 6.6L/100km for the C300. Warranty is three years unlimited kilometres with capped-price servicing packages available up to 50,000km.
Well, this is a Coupe so there is little sense in complaining about rear leg room or boot space or about how tricky it would be to fit car seats. We do like the automatic seatbelt feeders for the driver and front passenger which eliminates all that fiddling around.
And the Mercedes connect me app is a useful tool too, allowing you to carry out various car functions remotely and will even help you find your vehicle in a crowded car park.
There is a lot to like about the C-Class Coupe. It is stylish, stunning to behold and super fun to drive. It may be pitched as a long-distance cruiser but has a definite sporty edge. Without doubt it has lifted the stock of the already high-flying C-Class. It may not be a practical choice for all comers but then again, it was never meant to be.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.