Surge and res­cue


cross-traf­fic as­sist.

Top­ping the range (un­til June, when the $162,400 AMG C63 S ar­rives) is the C300. At $83,400, it uses the same 2.0litre en­gine as the C200 in a higher state of tune.

The C300 bun­dles 13speaker Burmester au­dio, sports ex­haust and Benz’s Co­mand On­line soft­ware us­ing an 8.5-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen with in­ter­net ac­cess and a 10GB mu­sic store.


A rain-slicked Dan­de­nong Ranges road helps il­lus­trate the coupe’s abil­i­ties — those who buy it as a driver’s car won’t be let down. The hall­marks of the C-Class sedan — deft steer­ing and a com­pli­ant chas­sis — are ev­i­dent here as the plumes of rain­wa­ter mark its progress.

Step be­yond the lim­its of ad­he­sion and there’s very gen­tle soft­ware in­ter­ven­tion, to the point where you need to be watch­ing the dash to pick it.

Even a de­lib­er­ate side­ways lunge on to mid-cor­ner cor­ru­ga­tions couldn’t cause the car any dis­tress — though I guar­an­tee it wouldn’t do pas­sen­gers much good.

The steel sus­pen­sion (adap­tive air sus­pen­sion is an op­tion) is firm but not harsh — it took a par­tic­u­larly sav­age train track cross­ing to make the C-Class re­bound and it isn’t go­ing to spill drinks while go­ing over speed humps.

Ac­cel­er­a­tion in the C200 is rarely found want­ing on any­thing short of the steep­est hill, in which case the trans­mis­sion will shuf­fle through the seven ra­tios un­til it finds a gear to match the pres­sure on the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

The C300 isn’t found want­ing any­where. It surges off the line and out of a turn with the in­ten­sity of a pro­fes­sional foot­baller, with­out ever feel­ing as hur­ried as the speedo would in­di­cate.

The big­gest dis­ap­point­ment with either of the petrol coupes is the en­gine noise, or lack thereof. The four-cylin­der en­gines sound suit­ably smooth and in­dus­tri­ous un­der load but they lack the vis­ceral over­tones you re­ally want in a car that’s as sexy as this one.

Gruff en­gine note aside, there’s very lit­tle to crit­i­cise in the C-Class coupe. Rear head­room isn’t huge for tall adults, though shoul­der and legroom are up on the out­go­ing model.

The front seat au­to­mat­i­cally slides for­wards to grant ac­cess to those rear pews but I wouldn’t en­cour­age in­stalling any­one who’s had a few ales in those seats — they may not exit in a man­ner they or you would pre­fer.

The chunky wind­screen pil­lars aren’t the eas­i­est to see past on right-hand turns and … there’s not a lot more to com­plain about.

I’d take the op­tional head-up dis­play and curse as I paid $1531 — or more — for metal­lic paint but I wouldn’t be­grudge the de­ci­sion to buy the C-Class

coupe. That said, the BMW 4 Series will prove a for­mi­da­ble ad­ver­sary, par­tic­u­larly the ex­cel­lent 428i.


The two-door C-Class is smartly priced and spec­i­fied and will de­servedly lead the run­ning in the com­pact coupe stakes.

It is as spe­cial in its own way as the C sedan … but the op­po­si­tion has moved on since the sedan wowed the world and this car will face tougher com­pe­ti­tion.

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