Mercedes-Benz says that the car is athletic yet offers an unmatched driving experience within its segment. In order for me to test these claims, I flew down to George and spent time with this new addition to the C-Class line-up.
Sleeker and more attractive than before the new C-Class coupe gives the illusion that it was sculptured from a single block of metal. The front end is aggressive yet classy thanks to the fact that the diamond grille, as seen on other Mercedes-Benz cars is now a standard feature on the Coupe. Viewed from the side the car appears to be slightly longer than its predecessor, and it is. There is an extra 60mm between the firewall and front end. A high beltline and frameless doors with free-standing exterior mirrors underscore the sporty character. This gives the car an almost S-Class Coupe-like silhouette, which in my opinion is great because I think the S-Class Coupe is gorgeous. The similarities continue at the rear. Long wraparound taillights add to the typical Mercedes-Benz Coupe design, which is becoming a familiar design element.
You won’t notice that many changes when getting into the Coupe apart from the sporty seats which offer a decent amount of support and comfort. The C-Class has always had a rather pleasant interior thanks to the incorporation of good quality leather and other trim elements. I particularly like the dark un-glossed wood trim that is offered. You can feel the grooves in the wood, which give it a pure feel. If you don’t fancy having wood trim you can opt for brushed aluminium or gloss black inserts.
The cabin is roomy for the front passengers with ample leg room. As for those at the back, well, like many coupe models, the space is somewhat limited. I managed to fit just fine, without having to tilt my head but I wouldn’t like being back there for too long. Boot space is very similar to that offered by the sedan version, which means that it will take up all your holiday luggage.
As for entertainment, you can expect two USB ports, one of which is able to charge your Tablet or other devices which need a slightly higher voltage. As on other Mercedes models the infotainment system is one of the most visually pleasing and does not require an IT degree to operate. Mercedes-Benz also offers its version of Heads-Up Display, which is great for when you need to keep your eyes on the road.
About the road
Being the Western Cape, it won’t take you to long find a glorious stretch of road to explore the dynamic abilities of your car. As I made our way up and over the Outeniqua mountains, towards Oudtshoorn, I got a chance to explore the sporty nature of the cars. The C-Class Coupe is the only car in its segment to be offered with adaptive air suspension or Airmatic - as Mercedes likes to call it. This works in conjunction with the Agility Control system, which varies between Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. What’s more is the coupe has been given an entirely new front suspension setup compared to its sedan sibling. A new 4-link front axle with wheel suspension decoupled from the spring strut plays a part in the agile handling characteristics. This enables sporty axle kinematics for plenty of grip and high lateral stability. As a result, the suspension responds more sensitively to steering movements and allows a sporty, agile driving style. I will admit though that in Sport+ mode the ride quality is a bit harsh. A way around this is to use the Individual setup offered by the Agility control, set the engine and gearbox and steering in Sport+ but the suspension in Comfort.
At launch I was introduced to three engine derivatives: two turbocharged petrol engines and one turbocharged diesel. The entry level 2.0-litre petrol engine is the C200 and develops 135kW/300Nm. The C300 is also a 2.0-litre but develops 180kW/370Nm. The 220d on the other hand, develops 125kW and 400Nm of torque. Power is sent to the road via either a six-speed manual transmission, the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission (standard on the C300) or the new nine-speed 9G-Tronic (optionally available on the C220d only).
The bad boys
Mercedes-Benz also took the opportunity to introduce us to the AMG C63’s Edition. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to drive it. It features the same 375kW four-litre Bi-Turbo V8 as found in the sedan. If you want something even more special than that, then the Edition 1 model should suffice. It features a radical grey and yellow paint job as well as other racing bits. This car will be available in limited numbers; chances are they are all sold already. We will also be getting the C43 AMG model, which features a turbocharged V6; expect it to develop over 250kW.
With improved dynamic appeal and ride quality the C-Class Coupe can be considered a sporty alternative to the BMW 4 Series, which has long held the crown in this segment. The three engines offered are well refined. Okay, the diesel sounds a bit agricultural but it has a decent amount of grunt. The cars are also economical if you can resist the urge to hoof them. Will Mercedes-Benz perform as well in this segment as what they do in Formula 1? They have the car to do so, in my opinion.
|C 200||135kW/300Nm||R551 000|
|C 220 d||125kW/400Nm||R592 700|
|C 300||180kW/370Nm||R660 300|
As with all Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars, the C-Class Coupé comes standard with a six-year/100 000km PremiumDrive maintenance plan without customer contribution. The C 220d is exempt from CO2 emission tax due to its low footprint of 113g/km.