Driving

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe review

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Mercedes C-Class Coupé front
Review continues below...
28 Nov 2016 12:05 | Last updated: 20 Sep 2018 15:10

In this review

Driving

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, 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 petrol, a 1.6-litre 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 it’ll feel rather limp.

That’s mainly because the 1.5-litre C200, despite its 181bhp and 14bhp mild hybrid boost, feels rather 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 kick down. The last of the regular petrol options is the 254bhp 2.0-litre C300 that we have yet to try.

We’d argue that it’s the diesels that are the best match for the C-Class Coupé. The C220d’s 2.0-litre diesel makes a respectable 191bhp and feels effortlessly flexible on the road.

There’s also a more powerful C300d, but we have not yet tried this more potent 242bhp 2.0-litre unit. 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 two-wheel drive.

Of course, no C-Class 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.

For something even more spectacular, there’s the 469bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 C63 or the even more powerful 503bhp C63 S. Both have a nine-speed automatic that’s more sportily set up and offers blistering, BMW M4-rivalling levels of pace, with a wonderful, thunderous exhaust note as an accompaniment.

The C-Class Coupé offers more 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 larger optional ones. It’s not perfect, though; the C-Class Coupé fidgets over potholes, expansion joints and other sharp-edged obstacles.

Indeed, we prefer the car on 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 sweeter-handling choice, but the C-Class Coupé turns in to corners keenly 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 two-wheel drive, are fun in the dry and a handful in the wet.

Although it can’t quite match the Audi A5’s 2.0-litre TDI diesel (and certainly not the 3.0 TDI), the C220d’s engine is refined the majority of the time. At a cruise, it’s near silent and gentle acceleration doesn’t deliver too much grumbling from under the bonnet. It is coarse when worked hard, however. AMG versions are much louder, but it’s an appealing noise that certainly puts you in the mood.

As for other types of racket, wind noise is well contained, even if there is a fair bit of tyre roar. The nine-speed auto gearbox is also worth a mention; it’s much smoother than Audi’s dual-clutch autos and rivals BMW’s self-shifters for smoothness.

 

Mercedes C-Class Coupé rear
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There are 3 trims available for the C-Class coupe. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
AMG Line
This is the only trim level available on ‘regular’ the C-Class Coupé and comes loaded with kit. You get 18in alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, a reversing camera, leatherette upholstery, automa...View trim
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AMG
If you jump to the ‘baby’ V8 model, you get distinctive 18in alloy wheels, more aggressive styling, a limited-slip differential, Multibeam LED headlights, a 12.3in digital instrument cluster, nappa...View trim
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AMG S
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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