Back in 2014, I was uncharacteristically enthusiastic about the new W205 C-Class Mercedes-Benz sedan, littering my review with words like excellent, superb, refined and special. About all I could find to grumble about was the importer's habit of loading test cars with expensive options that can lead to the unwary gaining the impression that they offer better value than they really do.
Now, having driven the recently-launched new C200 Coupe, I can tell you that it's just as excellent, superb and all the rest as the sedan, while becoming equally expensive as you work your way through the very lengthy options list.
The styling of the new Coupe is eye-catching, and is further removed from the sedan version than was the case of the outgoing model. It's wider, longer, lower and lighter than the earlier coupe, and its long bonnet and hunkered-down rear end make it look considerably more aggressive. The PR blurb describes it as resembling a crouched greenhouse, which calls up a rather unflattering image in my mind, but anyway, I liked it. Once you settle down inside it's even better, with a pleasing dash layout composed of attractive and high-quality trim and switchgear. The rear accommodation is not marvellous, but then, if you need lots of room you probably shouldn't be looking at a two-door coupe.
The version supplied to me by Mercedes-Benz Pinetown was the entry-level C200 Coupe, and as usual, it came loaded to the gunwales with expensive options - around R100 000 worth in this case. These included but weren't limited to 7G-Tronic auto transmission at R19 000, 19-inch alloy wheels (R12 000), Keyless-Go ignition (R9 900) with remote tailgate opening (R3 250), Air Balance aircon filtering and odorising (R5 500), AMG Sport interior (R14 200) and exterior (R25 500) packaging, and a panoramic sunroof (R17 900). That lifts the price significantly above the R553 508 asking price of the unloaded C200 base model coupe that already comes with a comprehensive list of standard features.
The Mercedes really comes into its own on the road, because it's a real pleasure to drive. It's far from a supercar, but its four-cylinder two-litre turbo-charged engine delivers a pleasing amount of punch, with 135kW of power at 5 500rpm, backed up by 300Nm of torque from just off idle. This gives it a claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.7 seconds and top speed of 235km/h, which is more than enough for most folk, and there's lots of hefty low-down torque for easy overtaking.
Popping the selector into Sport or Sport + mode brings about a discernible change in the coupe's attitude, with the engine perking up and the gearbox mapping slipping on its running shoes while the exhaust note changes to a subdued snarl with a couple of pops and blaps underlining gear changes.
Ride quality is good, if occasionally a little harsh thanks to the low-profile 255/35 R19 rubber, and during brisk public road driving the handling is excellent. The thing that stands out, though, is the overall feeling of quality. Under everyday commuting conditions sound levels are low and the car feels special, as Mercedes-Benz products traditionally used to.
Article written by Gavin Foster