Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear

Mercedes C Class Coupe review

Performance & drive

Manufacturer price from:£35,665
What Car? Target Price£32,112
Review continues below...

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 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 C-Class 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.

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’s 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 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 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 the smaller 18in wheels rather than the larger optional ones. It’s not perfect, though; the C-Class 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 C-Class 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 C-Class 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 C-Class 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 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 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
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