Under-bonnet options

* Merc's answer to the Audi A5 * MPG 38.7-55.4; CO2 133-169g/km * On sale June, priced from 30,220-37,640...

Under-bonnet options

Most buyers will find themselves picking from a quartet of four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engines. Buyers of petrol versions are catered for by 1.8-litre units developing 154bhp (C180) and 202bhp (C250), while those who like the lower fuel consumption and longer range of a diesel have 2.2-litre 168bhp (C220 CDI) and 202bhp (C250 CDI) choices.

In the coupe there's also a V6 not available UK-bound saloons. At the head of the line-up sits the C350 powered by Merc's 302bhp 3.5-litre direct-injection six-cylinder engine, although because it's fuelled by petrol, uptake is likely to be small. It's welcome, all the same, not least for its V6 note, but it's not worth the 3500 premium over a C250, the other version we've driven. The four-cylinder engine delivers stronger torque at low-to-medium revs and greater driveability.

The decision to restrict the line-up to AMG models introduces a couple of issues. First, there are fuel consumption and emissions. The most-efficient version, the C220 CDI, is a 55mpg car with a CO2 output of 133g/km pretty impressive, but not alongside the 64mpg and 117g/km quoted for the saloon with the same engine and SE trim. It's all down to the AMG 18-inch alloys or to be more specific, their fat tyres, which increase rolling resistance. It means the coupe sits seven bands higher than the saloon in the company car tax scale.

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Like its saloon sister, the coupe outprices its rivals. The cheapest C-Class Coupe is 3000 dearer than a comparable BMW 3 Series Coupe and 4000 more than an Audi A5, although it does have several thousand pounds worth of interior and exterior trim additions and suspension modifications that they don't get. Still, with a range that starts at over 30,000, there's less than 1100 between the cheapest C-Class Coupe and its E-Class equivalent.

For all that, the set-up that Merc has chosen is probably the right way to go. You'd be amazed how many A5s are sold in the sportiest S-line spec, and it's the same with BMW and M Sport versions of the 3 Series. The public gets what the public wants. Merc now has a ready-made rival for either.