Road Test: Mercedes-Benz C180 Coupe AMG Sport
Sector: Coupe Price: £31,590 Fuel: 44.8mpg CO2: 147g/km
Mercedes-Benz is a brand on the march, with the UK fleet sector firmly in its three-pointed crosshair. But while there’s been a glut of publicity about the much-praised new A-Class, the manufacturer hasn’t neglected its core models.
So the C-Class range was revised earlier this summer with fleets firmly in mind. New engines and a trim range that falls in line with BMW and Audi were a big part of this, and the very purposeful-looking C-Class Coupe AMG Sport is one of the results.
The C-Class makes such a pretty coupe that it’s a wonder Mercedes-Benz waited until the 2011 facelift to add it to the range. But despite the AMG logos, big wheels and sports interior, this isn’t a full-fat sports coupe. Under the bonnet is an engine displacing just 1.6 litres.
For most fleets, diesel is the default for a car of this size. But changes at the A and B-Class end of the range mean these models no longer have a sandwich floor, and no longer require bespoke engines. In turn, this means the smaller units can be shared between front and rear-wheel drive models without substantial modifications.
The C180’s engine is one of them. Despite its diminutive displacement, its turbocharger means there a very lively 156bhp on offer, while its small size contributes to a respectable 44.8mpg on the combined cycle with the dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Both are desirable, but this still has to drive right. It does. The engine offers a progressive, if not exhilarating, turn of pace and for those used to the hum of a diesel it’s also incredibly quiet at all speeds. If anything, the biggest performance sacrifice is the automatic gearbox. Not a bad unit, but a little keen to change up to save fuel.
That’s not a bad quality for most drives. The power is there, but usually two gears down, so the C180 feels relaxed at high speeds and doesn’t encourage spirited driving. As a result, 40mpg is an easily achievable figure, and there’s more to give for the most light-footed drivers.
It’s not as much of a performance car as the styling suggests, but the C180 Coupe has the street cred, comfort and refinement to be a great all-rounder for the image-conscious young executive.
Great to look at, especially in AMG Sport guise, this is an ideal perk car for drivers mostly doing shorter trips. It’s not as efficient or as powerful as a C220 CDI, but it’s quieter and still efficient enough not to make high miles a problem and a wholly viable alternative to the A5 and 3 Series coupes.