Top speed: 149 mph
0-60mph 7.1 seconds
Consumption: 53.2-57.6 mpg
CO2 emissions: 128-139 g/km
Rivals: BMW 3-Series Coupé, Mercedes E-Class Coupé
Hot on the heels of the mid-life update for Mercedes’ C-Class saloon and estate comes the new C-Class Coupé. While the new car is, strictly speaking, the first one officially to carry that designation, this is still familiar market territory for Mercedes; the CLK, introduced in 1997 was a coupé model based on the C-Class, although it was much more similar, in visual terms, to the E-Class saloon of the time. When the second-generation CLK was discontinued, Mercedes introduced an E-Class Coupé in 2009, but continued to offer a two-door C-Class in the form of the Sport Coupé (later CLC) hatchback – although unlike most coupé models, this was cheaper, rather than more expensive than, the equivalent saloon.
The new car bears a strong resemblance to other C-Class models, especially around the nose. Apart from the obvious fact that it has a two-door, rather than four-door body-shell, though, the Coupé also has a more steeply raked windscreen, a lower roof and a shorter boot than the saloon. All cars imported into the UK will have AMG Sport trim – roughly similar to Audi’s S-Line and BMW’s M Sport models – which includes AMG wheels and styling modifications. The range is headed by a “proper” AMG model, the C 63 AMG, which has an enormous 6.2-litre V8 engine (badged, for complicated reasons of tradition, as a 6.3), but most of the other engine options are four-cylinder petrols and diesels shared with mainstream C-Class saloons. The 220 CDI and 250 CDI diesels have the same 2.15-litre capacity and provide 170 and 204 horsepower respectively, while the 1.8-litre petrols, badged as 180 and 250, deliver 156 and 204. A single V6 petrol option is offered, the 3.5-litre C 350. All of the engines, apart from the AMG’s 6.2-litre V8, are BlueEFFICIENCY units, which means that they incorporate fuel-saving features such as direct injection and start/stop systems.
I tried the 220 CDI and the 250CDI, which both confirmed that the four-cylinder engine options are no longer the poor relations of any Mercedes range but also worth considering even for the most performance-oriented driver. The diesel had more mid-range pull but the petrol was crisper and more responsive. Both benefitted enormously from being paired with Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic gearbox rather than the old five-speeder previously fitted in conjunction with four-cylinder engines in C-Class models, although a six-speed manual (which is better than previous Mercedes manuals) is also available on the least powerful variants. This is an agile, sharp handling car, although that reflects the improvements made to all C-Class models rather than any special tweaks reserved for the Coupé. The Coupé does differ from the saloon and estate versions of the C-Class, though, in having sportier seats - the rear row consists of two separate seats, rather than a bench seat – and a fancier dashboard treatment.
The top-of-the-range AMG version is predictably quick (it can get to 100 km/h, or 62 mph, in just 4.4 seconds) thanks to that 6.2-litre normally-aspirated V8, a thrilling engine that is extremely revvy for a power unit with such a large capacity. AMG is starting to switch to a newer 5.5-litre turbocharged engine for some Mercedes models in the interests of economy and emissions, but the 6.2 is still one of the best engines fitted to any car today.
Anyway – here’s a funny thing. The wheelbase of the C-Class Coupé, at 2760mm (shared with the C-Class saloon) is exactly the same as that of the E-Class Coupé. Most of the two cars’ other dimensions fall within about an inch of each other as well. The only significant, but still not very large, differences are in terms of overall length and weight; the E-Class Coupé is about four inches longer and 55kg heavier than its C-Class equivalent. The differences between the C-Class and E-Class saloons are much bigger Draw your own conclusions. The important thing, though, is that the C-Class Coupé looks and feels like a C-Class and the E-Class Coupé looks and feels like an E-Class, and both are very good cars.