2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 d Coupe
The higher-powered diesel version of Mercedes' C-Class Coupe is thoroughly enjoyable, but we'd be just as happy with the cheaper 220 d...
We’ve already driven the Mercedes C-Class Coupe in the lower powered of its two diesel engine options, and we liked it a lot. In fact, we liked it so much that we ranked it above its nemesis, the BMW 420d, so clearly Mercedes is on to a winner with this plush C-Class and its S-Class Coupe-inspired slippery silhouette.
Here we’re testing the higher-powered, 201bhp version of the same 2.1-litre diesel, which gets an extra 33bhp and 74lb ft of torque over the 220 d, and also comes linked to the nine-speed automatic transmission as standard.
So, the question here is not only a straightforward "is the C250 d any good?", but more importantly whether we think it’s worth the extra £1155 it costs over an automatic C220d.
What’s the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 d Coupe like to drive?
All the things that make the C-Class Coupe such a hit in its cheaper form hold true here. The engine delivers a properly gutsy burst of speed that hustles the Mercedes up to cruising speeds with the sort of urgency that lives up to this car's sporting pretensions. It does feel noticeably more responsive than the 220 d, too, although even that lower-powered model doesn’t feel in any way tardy.
The steering is responsive, direct and builds weight consistently, giving you a good sense of connection and making this sporting C-Class feel satisfying to drive spiritedly down a good road, or just to potter around town. It’s certainly easy to make the most of the Merc’s grippy yet reasonably playful-feeling chassis.
What is less impressive about this car is the ride comfort. This is the first time we’ve tried the C-Class Coupe without £895 optional air suspension fitted, and our test car was an AMG Line model with has stiffer standard suspension than you get with Sport trim. The result is a busy ride that suffers a subtle but constant shimmy at high speeds, and the Coupe can be unsettled into losing traction momentarily over mid-corner bumps.
It’s a generally firm set-up that, while damped well enough to avoid becoming crashy, is unyielding over bigger intrusions where the air-suspended car is soft and comfortable without losing its handling edge.
Engine refinement is also questionable, as it is on the C220 d. It’s fine when the engine is in the lower rev range, which it is most of the time provided you’re in default Comfort driving mode, but push it into middling or higher revs and the coarse engine noise starts to reverberate noticeably around the cabin.
Otherwise, with easily modulated throttle and brake pedal responses, this is a car that’s easy to drive smoothly. Just add the air suspension and it’ll balance entertainment and comfort better than anything else in this class.
What’s the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 d Coupe like inside?
The interior is likely to be a big selling point of this car. The leatherette front seats (bespoke for the C-Class Coupe) are supportive and comfortable even for awkward-shaped drivers and long journeys, with powered lumbar adjustment and heating even on base Sport models. On top of that, all the various material textures, from metal highlights to leather and gloss plastics, feel high-class and give an appealingly expensive ambience to the interior.
What may be harder to accept for some is the infotainment screen that’s perched on top of the dashboard, appearing a little like an afterthought. It’s right in your line of sight, though, and much better than an integrated system mounted halfway down the centre console.
Controlling that infotainment system does takes more than a little getting used to; the menu layouts are quite complex, and despite the combination of a rotary controller, touchpad, voice control and shortcut buttons, it’s one of the more difficult infotainment systems to get to grips with.
Gaining access to the rear seats isn’t as tricky as it could be thanks to large doors and front seats that tilt and slide forward a good amount. Ultimately, two adults will fit in the back, but anybody approaching six-foot will be short of headroom. Legroom isn’t too much of an issue compared with some rivals', however.
As for the boot, it’s usefully wide and stretches a long way towards the front of the car. You’d have no trouble getting a couple of sets of golf clubs in there, and there’s also a ski hatch for longer items.
Should I buy one?
You should certainly think about it if you’re browsing the posh coupe market. And if you really want the most muscular performance that you can get from a diesel engine, this doesn’t seem like a big premium to ask over the 220 d, and it’s also usefully cheaper than the (admittedly faster and more refined) six-cylinder BMW 430d Coupe.
However, given that in the real world the automatic Merc C220 d Coupe doesn’t feel at all underpowered, we’d recommend settling for that in the well-equipped Sport trim, and spend the money you save on the excellent optional air suspension.
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