2016 Mercedes C250 d Coupe review
The new C-Class Coupé isn't just a three-door variant of the saloon — the alterations are far more comprehensive than that. The result is a compelling coupé that's great to drive and easy to live...
You could almost confuse it for the exclusive S-Class Coupé, but this tapered new Merc is the smaller C-Class Coupé.
The differences between this Coupé version of the C-Class and the saloon on which it’s based are fairly drastic, with only the wings and bonnet panels are brought over in terms of styling. The 15mm-lowered suspension is mechanically altered to deliver better front end bite, the steering software has been tweaked and the seats (even the standard ones) are new.
It’s also the first car in its class to offer adaptive air suspension, albeit as an £895 option and included on our test car, which comes in popular 2.1-litre diesel C250d guise, complete with standard nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Even base Sport trim gets LED lights, parking sensors and a reversing camera, automatic emergency braking, heated front seats and the 7.0in colour screen with nav, digital radio and online functionality.
What’s the 2016 Mercedes C250d Coupé like to drive?
It’s not a car that feels overtly sporting the moment you get in it, but treat it with some gusto and it feels sharp and fluid and torquey enough to deliver satisfying pace on a challenging road.
The steering is good enough in default Comfort mode to offer a rewarding drive, with a weight that builds progressively through a corner and gives you a good sense of how much grip there is from the rear-wheel drive chassis.
It all feels very intuitive and connected, even if it's not as aggressive-feeling as the heavier steering you get in a BMW 4 Series. Arguably, though, the softer responses of the Merc actually make it easier to wield the car smoothly at higher speeds.
This four-cylinder engine has never been the smoothest of diesels, and so it is here. You certainly don’t want or need to rev it hard, but it pulls well from low revs and across a broad mid rev-range, delivering a predictable and gutsy build of acceleration whenever you want it.
The new nine-speed automatic gearbox helps by keeping the engine in its comfort zone with slick, well-judged shifts, and a smooth response even away from a standstill, although in Sport mode the sharper throttle response can take some getting used to.
Ride comfort on the air suspension is very good. Rough surfaces are soaked up without making the car's body bob about or wallow too much, and while there is the occasional heavy shudder through the cabin over high-speed bumps, the C-Class Coupé remains comfortable over all but fairly extreme surfaces.
Refinement is adequate and roughly on a par with key rivals. A distant rush of tyre and wind noise is the main accompaniment on the motorway, but it doesn't get wearing even on a long journey.
What’s the 2016 Mercedes C250d Coupé like inside?
The new sports seats offer plenty of side and lower back support (adjustable lumbar is standard) to keep things comfortable, and there’s plenty of space and adjustment to accommodate even very lanky drivers. Simple air-con controls and minimal buttons elsewhere make for a straightforward dash.
What isn’t so straightforward is the infotainment system, which can sometimes seem to make simple actions unnecessarily complicated despite a rotary controller, shortcut buttons and a touch-sensitive pad.
Six-footers will likely feel squeezed for leg and head room in the back, where there is seating for two only, but shorter adults will be fine in one of the sculpted seats, even if getting in and out of the back will never be an elegant process.
In terms of rear accommodation, there won’t be much in it between this and the BMW 4 Series, while it’ll be better than an Audi A5. The Merc’s boot is really deep, and the aperture is big enough that you’ll be able to lug a set of golf clubs in without any real hassle.
Should I buy one?
There's every reason to. It's competitively priced given the equipment - whether for company or retail buyers - and while we can’t yet comment on what the Merc might be like on standard suspension, with the air springs it's fun yet relaxing to drive.
It's a compelling, well-judged package, and you shouldn't make a decision while shopping in this class until you've tried it.
What Car? says...
Mercedes C250d Sport Coupé