Coupé de grace
The new 2017 Mercedes- Benz c 300 compact coupé strives To earn a distinct identity amongst an endless sea of models FUN FACT
P erhaps the coupé is the most accurate way of representing “a single’s life” besides marital status on social media. MercedesBenz seems to have several interpretations of this ideology, but, today, we talk about just one — the new C- Class coupé. Last time we got behind the wheel of one was a few years ago — we found it to be a competent vehicle, but it lacked identity. This time, the 2017 Mercedes- Benz C 300 Coupé, we think, is going tell a different story. The last generation car launched in 2011 was a likeable one. But it drew visual cues from the sedan a little too much; this one has been designed to be a coupé from the start. Sure, the striking family resemblance can be seen in the face — with headlamps that incorporate diagonal, LED daytime runners, that turn blue on startup with dynamic xenon headlamps, and the innovative diamond radiator grille with its floating pixels… but pretty much everything else is brand new, especially the roofline that
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
seems to take on one curvature from the hood to the boot. It’s the hind quarters that takes the cake from a design perspective. The stretched horizontal strip lighting mimics those on the big daddy of luxury, the S- Class coupé and that’s more than what you bargained for.
Being a coupé, it has also been given a more planted and aggressive stance, thanks to its 50mm ( approx) wider tracks and some 15mm lowered ride height. The purposefully squat look gives it both visual and dynamic advantages.
All these styling qualities combine to create a fresh new exterior that answers that question about identity. It’s truly got a shape that it can call its own and is high on desirability — which often is the number one priority in this segment.
On the inside, it’s much like the C- Class sedan, which is much like the A- Class hatch, which is much like the GLA crossover and everything else in the lower spectrum of the Merc range. We don’t mind! It’s hard not to love that chunky 3- spoke multifunction steering wheel and the splashes of satin finish silver trims that go over the steering spokes, the circular projecting air vents, the door panels and even the starter button. Giving the cabin an edge of sophistication is the seemingly freestanding ipad- like 8.4- inch infotainment screen, that is controlled by the COMAND controller, the proprietary rotary knob for Merc, but works much like the BMW idrive; and the accompanying additional touch controller placed like a cowl over the rotary one. The Burmester audio unit is an expensive option, but take a peek at their exquisite perforated finish and you will fall in love with the art of manufacturing.
The front seats are sporty bucket- types, unique to the coupé, but there is plenty of freedom for your limbs. Ingress and egress are made easy with the movable steering column that relocates when you displace yourself into or out of the car. And the belt feeder is a convenient feature as well, which automatically brings the belt to you so don’t have to stretch for it; it can be button operated too.
Pull the tug and the front seats move forward electronically to let the rear passengers in, like the hospitality shared
by the valet staff. But once inside, you sit on neat- looking individually- contoured seats; it’s a tad cramped back there owing to the sloping roofline — reminds us of many modern hotels with their huge lobbies, but some tiny- scaled rooms. The 4- Series is more liveable in this aspect, but at least you can slide your feet under the front seat and slouch for more headroom; you can also enjoy the view out of the panoramic sunroof that spans 2/ 3 of the roof area.
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
So this is the C 300 — its powertrain sits nicely in the C- Class Coupé range and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0- litre inline 4- cylinder like the C 200 and C 250. Place it on the dynamometer and it will show 245bhp at 5,500rpm and 370Nm of torque — that’s as much twist as the old 3.5- litre V6 but with lighter engine parts. It sends power to rear wheels via a 7- Speed automatic transmission.
On the road, from minute one, we knew the C Coupé is more a grand tourer than a true- blue sports car, and manages that balance very well. Stomp your foot and the car propels forwards with enthusiasm but somehow tells you not to make it a habit. The 6.0 seconds it takes to reach 100 km/ h from a standstill is pretty quick for any coupé but, again, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it is built for the drag strip. It also matches the C 350 in terms of acceleration — up to a 100 km/ h — but it will give way to the older car down the stretch. Alternatively, you can get the 43 AMG with gets you about 50 per cent more torque or the 63 S with almost twice as much.
Besides the Mercedes- AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupé, which delivers the reassuring grip of an all- wheel drive, the rest of the range comes with the classic rear wheel drive platform. The electronic safety nannies like traction and ESP cut power to keep you from having fun with some tail- out action, but the feel of power going to the rear axle remains and that’s a good thing. Steering is sharp and quick, but slightly numb and not necessarily the best tool to break a lap record with. A compromise is met because the ride quality is rather comfortable; but with the optional air suspension AIRMATIC, with its continuously variable damping system, it gets even better. The DYNAMIC SELECT Controller lets you switch between the various modes to suit your mood. This combination gives it everyday usability — at least from the driver’s perspective.
VERDICT FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
You can open up the boot with the wag of your foot under the rear bumper or by the click of the keyfob. It gives you some 400 litres, which is smaller than the new A5 and the 4- Series equivalent, but it’s more than sufficient; there’s the added practically of a side net and top mounted hooks for your groceries. And you can also fold down the rear seats which split in 40: 20: 40 fashion for more space; they can be opened from the boot as well as the pull of a lever.
If safety is your concern, the C Coupé boasts of features such as collision prevention assist that gives the driver a visual warning, preps the brakes and even brakes autonomously if the car gets too close to the one ahead. You also get blind spot monitoring and lane- tracking package that provide the driver with visual and audible warnings of vehicles in the blind spot with vibrations through the steering wheel. There are ISOFIX mounts for child seats in the back.
The 2017 Mercedes- Benz C 300 Coupé puts a stamp on the idea of coupé being a 2- door car suitable for those looking for generous power and comfort, while maintaining style head and shoulders over its peers. Besides the obvious space deficiency in the rear and the lack of outright race DNA in the powertrain, there really isn’t much to fault in this car.
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