Mercedes C-Class Coupé review

Category: Coupé

Coupé is a good to drive and well-equipped alternative to the Audi A5, but it's not as comfortable or practical

Mercedes C-Class Coupé front
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé front
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé interior
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear seats
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé side
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 Front left tracking shot
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 C220d badge
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé front seats
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé steering wheel
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé infotainment
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 interior door detail
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé boot
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé front
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé interior
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear seats
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé side
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 Front left tracking shot
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 C220d badge
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé front seats
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé steering wheel
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé infotainment
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 interior door detail
  • Mercedes C-Class Coupé boot
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Introduction

What Car? says...

If life forces you into making a rational car buying decision when what you really want is a dose of hedonism, you could always consider a Mercedes C-Class Coupé

Okay, it can't quite match the space you’d get in a Mercedes C-Class saloon, but it does have a reasonable boot and two back seats that will accommodate most adults. But of course, style is one of the most crucial aspects of any coupe. Thankfully the coupé version has not only a sumptuous interior that looks fantastic, but the bodywork draped over the top looks equally as arresting.

It’s available with a range of fuel-efficient diesel and petrol engines, as well as the Mercedes-AMG models that place the emphasis squarely on performance. These start with the quick C43 and culminate with the bonkers-fast Mercedes-AMG C63 S.

Steel springs are standard, but you can have air suspension (branded as Airmatic) on regular non-AMG C-Class coupés for a reasonable fee. While this technology is common in big luxury coupés including the Mercedes S-Class Coupé it’s unique at this end of the market.

Read on over the next few pages and we’ll tell you how the C-Class Coupé compares with rivals such as the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC. Not only will we let you know what it’s like to drive, how plush it is inside and how practical it is, we’ll also tell you what version of the Mercedes C-Class Coupé is the one to pick.

Once you’ve made your decision, don’t forget to see out how much you could save by checking out What Car's free New Car Deals pages. They list lots of the best new coupé car deals.

Overview

The C-Class Coupé is good to drive and and well-equipped alternative to the Audi A5. However, it isn't as comfortable as its key German rival nor quite as practical.

  • Comfortable on air suspension
  • Well-judged ride and handling
  • Smart-looking interior
  • Petrol C300 is lacklustre
  • Lazy-shifting gearboxes
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Mercedes-benz C-class C63 S Night Edition Premium Plus 2dr MCT
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

It doesn’t matter if your main concern is MPG or MPH, the Mercedes C-Class Coupé has your back. Indeed, engine power outputs range from a meek 154bhp all the way up to a mighty 503bhp. The entry point for both price and power is the C180, a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a turbocharger for a bit more go.

Although we have yet to try it, our experience of the more powerful C200 suggests that the C180 will feel rather limp. That’s mainly because the 1.5-litre C200, despite its 181bhp and 14bhp mild hybrid boost, feels a bit flat itself. You really have to work it hard to noisily extract what performance is available, especially on hills, and that isn’t always easy because the automatic gearbox takes its time to respond.

We’d argue that the diesels are a better match for the Coupé. The C220d’s 2.0-litre diesel makes a respectable 191bhp and feels effortlessly flexible on the road. In fact, we’d argue that it offers the best blend of economy and performance in the range, making it our pick. The standard nine-speed automatic gearbox (only the C180 is available with a manual) is one of the best in its class, changing gear smoothly and with little hesitation. Only the BMW 4 Series can beat it. There’s also a C300 petrol and C300d diesel with more poke for those who want more pace, but we’ve yet to try them.

Mercedes C-Class image
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Both diesels (and the C200 petrol) are available with four-wheel drive – 4Matic in Mercedes speak – but, unless you live somewhere that experiences a lot of snow, we’d stick to the cheaper-to-run rear-wheel drive versions.

Although it can’t quite match the Audi A5 2.0-litre diesel for smoothness, the C220d’s engine behaves in a refined manner the majority of the time. At a cruise, it’s near silent and gentle acceleration doesn’t elicit too much grumbling from under the bonnet. It can get a bit coarse when worked hard, though. Wind noise is well contained although tyre roar can be a bit, well, tiresome.

Of course, no Mercedes C-Class line-up would be complete without an AMG version (or three). These start with the 3.0-litre V6 C43 that comes with 385bhp and four-wheel drive to give fantastic real-world pace even in inclement conditions, while the howl it makes when you rev it hard is simply delicious.

Even more spectacular are the 469bhp C63 and yet more powerful 503bhp C63 S. Both have a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and a quick-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox, and offer blistering, Audi RS5 rivalling acceleration with a wonderful, thunderous exhaust note as an accompaniment.

The Coupé offers greater comfort than the equivalent 4 Series. It soaks up big bumps and sharp-edged ruts well and offers a relaxed drive. This is especially true if you stick to the smaller 18in wheels rather than the larger optional ones. It’s not perfect, though; the Coupé fidgets over potholes, expansion joints and other sharp-edged obstacles that the most comfortable versions of the Audi A5 glide over.

We prefer the Coupé on its optional air suspension. This is a sensibly priced option that transforms the driving experience by letting you keep it soft or stiffen it up at the flick of a switch to reduce body lean in corners. The 4 Series is still the keener-handling choice, but the C-Class Coupé turns in to corners eagerly and its steering weights up predictably.

The AMG models are even more focused. Bespoke adaptive suspension sharpens their handling and gives these models real poise. The C43’s sure-footed four-wheel drive offers excellent traction out of bends, while the two C63 models, with rear-wheel drive, are more fun in the dry but a handful in the wet.

Even more spectacular are the 469bhp C63 and yet more powerful 503bhp C63 S. Both have a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and a quick-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox, and offer blistering Audi RS5-rivalling acceleration with a wonderful, thunderous exhaust note as an accompaniment.

The C-Class Coupé offers greater comfort than the equivalent 4 Series. It soaks up big bumps and sharp-edged ruts well and offers a relaxed drive. This is especially true if you stick to smaller 18in wheels rather than the larger optional ones. It’s not perfect, though; the Coupé fidgets over potholes, expansion joints and other sharp-edged obstacles that the most comfortable versions of the Audi A5 glide over.

Indeed, we prefer the Coupé on optional air suspension; it’s a sensibly priced option that transforms the driving experience. You can keep it soft or stiffen it up at the flick of a switch to reduce body lean in corners. The 4 Series is still the keener-handling choice, but the Coupé turns in to corners eagerly and its steering weights up predictably.

The AMG models are even more focused. Bespoke adaptive suspension sharpens the handling and gives these models real poise. The C43’s sure-footed four-wheel drive offers excellent traction out of bends, while the two C63 models, with rear-wheel drive, are more fun in the dry but a handful in the wet.

Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The C-Class Coupé gets deeper, more supportive front seats than the Mercedes C-Class saloon version. All models get heated front seats with four-way lumbar support, part-electric adjustment and extendable thigh support. They are very comfortable, even on long journeys. AMG cars get full electric seat adjustment, which is an affordable option on the regular Coupé.

The driving position is mostly good, too – even if the pedals are positioned a little further to the right than we'd ideally like. There’s decent forward visibility, and while the rear three-quarter view over your shoulder and through the narrow rear windscreen is restricted, this has to be expected in a coupé.

All models get a 10.25in colour screen with rotary dial and touchpad controls. The whole setup looks great, but it can be tricky to use on the move because the operating system isn't as user-friendly as equivalent in the Audi A5 or BMW 4 Series. It gets easier with familiarity, though, and most of the control switches on the dashboard are where you’d expect them to be.

The screen can be augmented with a 12.3in digital instrument cluster that replaces the standard instrument dials. Its graphics are sharp but it isn’t quite as configurable as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit equivalent. This screen is fitted as standard to the C63 and C63 S, but optional elsewhere in the range. Meanwhile, smartphone connectivity is an option on regular and C43 models, but standard on the two C63 variants.

There’s a real aura of quality to the interior. A plush mix of leatherette (or soft Nappa leather in the two C63 models), wood, metal and gloss plastic finishes combine to really live up to the prestige implied by the Mercedes badge. There are some areas lower down the interior where the car doesn’t feel quite as solidly put together as the Audi A5, though.

Mercedes C-Class Coupé interior

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

There’s plenty of room for tall drivers to get comfortable and you don’t feel too close to your front passenger. There are only two seats in the back of the Mercedes C-Class Coupé, but they’re sculpted to be quite comfortable and two average-sized adults will be fine for most journeys.

It’s a bit of a squeeze to clamber into the back (avoiding bumping your bonce on the low roof), but access is no worse than key rivals. If you do regularly carry adults in the rear, it’s worth bearing in mind that both the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series are marginally roomier.

Usefully, the back seats split and fold 40/20/40 to leave a smooth but sloped load bay. This means you can load longer items through – provided you can negotiate the narrow opening between the boot and rear passenger space. Again, the boot itself isn’t quite as big as a 4 Series' or A5's, but it is deep and practical enough by coupé standards.

Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Given how well equipped it is, the Mercedes C-Class Coupé arguably represents better value than its nemesis, the BMW 4 Series. There’s only one standard trim level, AMG Line (AMG models are stand-alone ‘trims’), and it comes with alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, a reversing camera, faux-leather upholstery, automatic emergency braking and infotainment kit such as sat-nav and a DAB radio.

Opt for a 220d and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how kind it is to your wallet. You’ll be able to achieve real-world fuel economy of more than 50mpg without trying too hard and it attracts a reasonable 29% benefit-in-kind rate for company car, assuming you don’t opt for four-wheel drive. However, servicing tends to be a bit more expensive than it is on most rivals.

A three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is standard, but Mercedes came a disappointing 26th out of 31 manufacturers tested (on overall reliability of cars more than three years old) in our 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey.

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Mercedes C-Class Coupé side
At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £45,935
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £30,998
RRP price range £45,935 - £92,230
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)6
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)diesel, petrol
MPG range across all versions 25.7 - 55.4
Available doors options 2
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £2,865 / £6,657
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £5,731 / £13,313
Available colours