Road Test: Mercedes-Benz C 250 d AMG Line Coupe
A compact executive two-door with ideas far above its price bracket, says Alex Grant.
Sector: Compact Executive Price: £37,825 Fuel: 61.4mpg CO2: 120g/km
Consistent styling is the modus operandi of the premium brand at the moment and, in just under four years, Mercedes-Benz has pulled its entire saloon car range in line with the latest S-Class. Now it’s doing the same with the equivalent coupes.
For the C-Class particularly, it means you get rather a lot for your money. Opt for the cost-free badge removal and, for around a third of the screen price, the C-Class Coupe has a strong dose of £120,000 S-Class Coupe’s road presence. Albeit with a little less fine-grain leather laced throughout the interior.
It’s a segment where Mercedes-Benz has taken a varied approach in the past; such as CLK models styled more like a three-door E-Class, and the oddball hatchback C-Class Coupe, which became the CLC in its twilight years. But, in the previous generation, it finally got its act together with a consistent saloon-estate-coupe line-up, and the new model continues that trend. Even if it does have a hint of Renault Laguna Coupe from the back.
Actually, without badges, you’d be hard pressed to work out what you’re looking at. UK buyers have a preference for the sportier trim levels, particularly in coupe form, and there’s not much – apart from the exhaust note – to separate this from the C63 AMG in the range-topping AMG Line trim. Another string to its bow.
The start point is good, too. The latest C-Class had probably the best cabin in this class at launch; the A4 and A5 are on par now but it’s still impressive inside. And surprisingly practical, too. Rear headroom is a little tight, and access isn’t quite as easy as it is in the saloon, but there’s plenty of shoulder and elbow room in the two adult-sized rear seats and the boot is usefully capacious as well.
But there are parts which are starting to feel a little dated. The C-Class hasn’t moved to the new 2.0-litre diesel yet, and the aged 2.1-litre is rough and not overly well muted – particularly under load or while idling. That said, it’s very efficient and quietens down while cruising, and the stiffly-sprung chassis translates to confident road-holding, though perhaps not as sure-footed as the benchmark 4 Series. It’s a stylish long-distance car, rather than something that’ll make you seek the long route home.
Of course, it’s now part of the scenery here. There’s a huge choice at this price point, not only from the likes of BMW and Audi’s equally capable executive coupes, but from the futuristic Lexus RC and, for drivers less fussed about fuel economy, the brawny Ford Mustang. Like its fellow Germans, the C-Class is a safe and understated choice; a good and bad quality in equal measure.
But it’s hard not to be seduced if you’re in the market. The C-Class does all the right things very well; it’s a car you’ll look back on as you walk away, with all the badge cachet and none of the questions you might get opting for the more leftfield compact executive choices. Consistent it might be, but it’s consistently good with it.
Stylish, good to drive and plenty economical enough for long-distance use, the C-Class ticks all the right boxes for user-choosers. But that rough diesel engine scrubs away some of its premium feel.