Sleek and attractive exterior
Having established the third generation C-Class saloon as a key competitor in the crowded compact premium segment, Mercedes-Benz is following a long established route by introducing other bodystyles, with one of the most important being the coupe. A big seller in the UK in previous generations, the two-door version has now reached this important market.
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 S-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.
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.
Mercedes has become more generous with the standard kit for the C-Class range, although it's still easy to add thousands to the list price by cutting loose on the options list. Opting for diesel power could cut your tax and fuel bill, but the increasingly efficient petrol engines shouldn't be dismissed if you don't plan on covering many miles.
Inevitably there are compromises in choosing a coupe model although the space on offer inside isn't actually reduced. Access to the rear seats is no issue, while the boot flips open easily at the touch of a button.
Unlike the digital offerings of more expensive models, The C-Class' dials and instruments retain a largely conventional layout. And along with an easy to use rotary controller for accessing the car's main functions, Mercedes also provides some simple, clearly marked shortcut buttons for radio, sat-nav and other important features. The standard fit touchpad is a little hit and miss, and can prove fiddly to operate when on the move.
A noticeable improvement to this C-Class model has been a welcome reduction in cabin, engine and road noise. The cabin's plush ambience also helps, as does the choice of supportive and comfortable seats. There's a decent amount of cabin space, which has reduced the chances of occupants rubbing shoulders, too.
An alarm and immobiliser system is part of the package but an extra tracking system or at least safe garaging is highly recommended for a car as desirable as the C-Class.
The presence of crash-responsive head restraints and numerous airbags is welcome, as is the standard inclusion of a collision avoidance system complete with auto brake function plus rain sensing wipers, reversing camera and cruise control. Naturally you can add to this list – active cruise control and a lane keep function are just two stand-out options.
Although a fraction lighter than the saloon and estate there's little to tell from the driver's seat which version you're in. The higher-power diesel and petrol engines are worth the extra investment, but all models drive with oiled precision. The only possible demerit is the steering, which although accurate is lacking in feel.
The C-Class Coupe isn't likely to be at the top of the list of potential family cars, but for a two-door it at least makes getting into the rear as easy as any rival. It is a strict four-seater however, with only two seats and seat belts in the rear.
Although clearly desirable, the C-Class Coupe is likely to be well outside the means of most first time buyers.
With its distinctive exterior and classy feel the C-Class Coupe will attract the right kind of attention and goes a long way to justifying its price tag. The Mercedes-Benz badge is still held in high regard too.
A long door down each side makes getting into the front seats a cinch, while flipping the backrests forward automatically engages the sliding mechanism. Access to the rear therefore is as good as one can expect from a coupe.
You'll have to pay extra for the most sophisticated add-ons such as high-end audio packages and premium navigation features. Of particular note is the voice recognition system, plus the easy to use main controller for the car's infotainment display. That said, the not so basic standard kit is good, although the low cost sat-nav is a little clunky in operation.
Mercedes offers two distinct options: traditional and modern cabin and exterior 'looks'. The former includes low key but sophisticated cabin treatments, while the latter adds more modern materials such as metal trim finishes. Both work well and are a welcome improvement over the car's predecessor.
The C-Class Coupe has reasonable rear visibility but expectedly less so than the saloon or estate. However the standard parking sensors and reversing camera system take the guesswork out of slotting into tight spaces.
Emergency repair system comes as standard.
Petrol engine options – C 200 2.0-litre (181bhp). Diesel engine options – C 200 (134bhp); C 220 (168bhp); C 250 (201bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual transmission, seven-speed auto. Trim levels: SE, Sport, AMG line.