Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe C250 CDI

June 2011

picture of car from the front

Low roof is a key element of changes over saloon version

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 7Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 7Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 9Car safety


Likes

  • Sleek and attractive exterior
  • Broad engine range with good efficiency
  • High standard of fit and finish throughout
  • Excellent ride and handling balance

Gripes

  • Could look more different from saloon
  • Low output diesel feels inadequate
  • Rear headroom is limited
  • Some lesser controls are fiddly to use

The C-Class has long been pitched directly against its arch-rival from BMW, the 3-Series, with the saloon and estate versions being the most popular choices. However the 3 Series has been available in coupe form for many generations and now Mercedes-Benz has got in on the act with its own take on a two-door four-seater aimed at a more style conscious buyer.

One glance at the exterior of this Mercedes coupe and it is easy to spot the family resemblance. Although a substantial number of exterior panels are new and different from the saloon there is a clear visual relationship. Viewed on its own the coupe looks sleeker than the saloon however, and understandably is closer in shape to the bigger E-Class coupe. The biggest change is arguably the lower roofline, contributing to the elegant stance.

Inside the C-Class is a strict four-seater, although usefully it has just as much loadspace as the saloon and still offers the possibility of folding the rear seat backs for added space. The Coupe also inherits the freshly-revised cabin from the saloon: there's neither the proliferation of buttons and menus that you encounter in some Audis, nor the pared-down minimalism of a modern BMW. Previous owners will feel at home, and new owners will feel that the car is contemporary enough to suit modern tastes.

Available with the latest range of improved engines, the fuel economy and low emissions of the diesels should make them the smart choice among business users. Mercedes' petrol units are renowned for their smoothness and still have plenty of adherents. They're also cleaner but not at the expense of performance.

The driving experience is also enhanced a little over the equivalent saloon. UK cars receive the AMG Sports Pack as standard, which as well as adding a more sporty flavour to the looks adds 18-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and speed-sensitive sports steering, putting it firmly up against sporty rivals.

Our verdict on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe C250 CDI

The Coupe is a natural progression of the C-Class range and it certainly brings something to market that would not necessarily be satisfied by the existing bodystyles. Inevitably there are some compromises in terms of practicality over the saloon but the exclusivity, sharper looks and better driving dynamics are a worthy payoff.

Costs
Costs rating 8

It's easy to add thousands to the list price by cutting loose on the options list, but careful model selection should ensure that most of what you want comes as standard. Opting for diesel power could cut your tax and fuel bill, but the increasingly efficient petrol engines shouldn't be dismissed.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 7

The happiest occupants will be in the front seats, with plenty of head and legroom on offer. Those in the back have a decent view out and more than adequate legroom, but headroom is less generous. The boot however is very good, helped by the folding rear seats.

picture of car from the rear

Shorter rear overhang helps proportions

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 7

The car's dials and instruments retain a largely conventional layout. Instead of the intricacies of BMW's iDrive system, Mercedes provides some simple, clearly marked shortcut buttons for radio, sat nav and so on along with an easier to use rotary controller. Ditching the predecessor's retracting navigation screen for a fixed item is also welcome.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 8

High levels of comfort are expected of a Mercedes-Benz product and the C-Class Coupe delivers. Even with the stiffer suspension set up the ride is comfortable, the seats are good even in the rear and noise levels are well controlled.

Car security
Security Rating 7

The C-Class could attract unwanted attention from thieves and - more likely - the simply jealous. An immobiliser system is part of the package but an extra tracking system or at least safe garaging is highly recommended.

Car safety
Safety Rating 9

Mercedes has made a concerted effort to provide a comprehensive package for the C-Class Coupe. The presence of crash-responsive head restraints and numerous airbags is welcome, but many other key features can only be had at extra cost, most notably the various active systems such as the auto brake function. It's good that they are available on a relatively inexpensive luxury car, though.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 8

With the Sport set-up as standard, the C-Class Coupe is only a fraction behind the class-leading BMW. The steering is accurate, quick and full of feel, the brakes are strong and the suspension is both composed and controlled whether pressing on or cruising over broken streets. Engine choice is crucial however to maximise the chassis' abilities.

picture of car interior

High quality interior across the range

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 5

If you have children who are out of child seats but that have not yet become lanky teenagers the C-Class Coupe could perform family duties. However, fall either side of this window and the reduced access to the rear would become a pain.

First car appeal
First car Rating 4

While youngsters may appreciate the aspirational qualities of the brand, their interest is unlikely to stretch into a genuine buying decision thanks to the car's 'grown-up' asking price and running costs.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

In some ways, opting for a Mercedes can be a predictable choice. The C-Class Coupe can just about justify its asking price, but it won't necessarily make you stand out from the crowd. It is - and so is the firm's expanding line-up - a much better and more polished proposition than one from a decade ago.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

Always something of an issue for a coupe the Mercedes does everything it can to help: tilt the front seat forward and it also slides as far as it will go, while the seat belt does get in the way. It's still a relatively small aperture to climb through however, and the less physically able may struggle.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The car's entertainment package is a combination of familiar items seen elsewhere in the Mercedes line-up. One change is the switch from a retractable screen to one fixed lower down in the fascia. You'll have to pay extra for the most sophisticated add-ons. Of particular note is the voice recognition system, plus the easy to use navigation function.

picture of car in detail

Glass roof option is well worth choosing

Colours and trim

As always more conservative shades suit the taut Germanic style, but brighter shades including white and red also work well with the dynamic looks. Inside a brighter shade for the leather helps to lift the cabin, as well as brighter metallic finishes on the trim.

Parking

The C-Class Coupe might be a fairly short car, but the rear window's lower edge is quite high, so care still needs to be taken when reversing although sensors are optional. That aside it's an easy car to slot into a parking space.

Spare wheel

Emergency repair system comes as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.8-litre (154bhp, 201bhp; 3.5-litre (302bhp). Diesel engine options - 2.2-litre (168bhp, 201bhp). Standard six-speed manual transmission, seven-speed auto available on selected models. Trim levels: Sport only.

 

Alternative cars

BMW 3 Series Coupe Benchmark driver's choice, hugely satisfying to own

Audi A5 Slightly bigger, classy cabin dynamically competent

Volkswagen CC Four-door coupe brings access advantage, good to drive and handsome too

Alfa Romeo Brera Sacrifices practicality for style, strong image and decent dynamics



Over 1,200 more car reviews online

All the reports since 1990 are available on this site, just search by make and model below.

Step 1 > Select make Alfa Romeo    Aston Martin    Audi    Austin    BMW    Bentley    Cadillac    Caterham    Chevrolet    Chrysler    Citroen    Daewoo    Daihatsu    Dodge    Ferrari    Fiat    Ford    Honda    Hyundai    Isuzu    Jaguar    Jeep    Kia    Lada    Lamborghini    Lancia    Land Rover    Lexus    Lotus    MG    MINI    Maserati    Mazda    Mercedes-Benz    Mitsubishi    Nissan    Perodua    Peugeot    Porsche    Proton    Renault    Rolls-Royce    Rover    SEAT    Saab    Skoda    Smart    Smart Car    Ssangyong    Subaru    Suzuki    Toyota    Vauxhall    Volkswagen    Volvo    Yugo   

 

June 2011