First Drive: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe
Sector: Executive Coupe Price: £30,955–£67,525 Fuel: 32.8–68.9mpg CO2: 106–200g/km
Mercedes-Benz has done a good job of becoming more youthful and sporty of late. The A-Class is attracting younger company car drivers, and the new C-Class Coupe is their next step up the career ladder, before sensible family carriers become necessary.
It oozes corporate machismo too, with its deep, muscular flanks and jutting jawline, which of course is essential for any premium coupe. But the traditional perception of coupes is that they are heavily compromised and expensive to run, and that makes them an awkward proposition for some businesses. The C-Class Coupe aims to turn that on its head.
For a start it is bigger and more practical, with an 80 millimetre longer wheelbase than the last car, making the cabin surprisingly spacious in front and rear. Unsurprisingly, with many of the internal components taken from the rest of the C-Class range, it is a wonderful place to be too, with materials, switchgear and finish of the very finest quality, as well as some beautifully wrought bespoke sports seats.
Two diesel engines are available: the 170bhp C 220 d, with a six-speed manual or 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox (both emitting 106g/km), and the C 250 d, which produces 204bhp and comes with a 9G-Tronic gearbox (109g/km), while the C 200 petrol engine might be worth a look too for those not doing high mileage, producing as its does 184bhp with 123g/km of CO2.
It drives solidly and smoothly, if unspectacularly. This is not a car for hooning about in, despite its aggressive exterior. Classily swift would be more in keeping with its grown-up, cool character, especially as with most Mercedes-Benz diesels, it prefers not to be stressed too hard, as things tend to get a bit gnashy and noisy under hard acceleration.
Prices start from £30,955 OTR, which, when compared to a BMW 4 Series, is a good deal cheaper and on a par with the ageing Audi A5. And it’s not as though you get a Spartan car at that level either.
Two model lines are available: Sport and AMG Line, and fulsome standard equipment includes LED headlights, Active Park Assist, parking sensors, a reversing camera; heated sports seats with Mercedes’ faux leather upholstery and sat nav. Of note is the rather lovely new black ash wood trim on AMG Line models, which has a much more expensive, modern feel than fuddy duddy walnut.
For those SME owners or boardroom opt-outers there is also the small matter of the Mercedes-AMG C63, which has a twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8 producing over 500bhp and costing upwards of £60,000. Unsurprisingly it is ludicrously quick and sounds amazing, and will cost a fortune to run. If you are successful enough to be able to run one, I can heartily recommend it.
For mere mortals though, the standard Coupe is a lovely thing. So much so, I think I would be tempted to bin the idea of the sensible family saloon and shoehorn the kids in the back of this instead.