From £29,3108
The new Mercedes C-Class Coupé cuts the mustard looks-wise, and this is our first opportunity to see how it drives on challenging UK roads

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé
The C-Class coupé can trace its lineage back to the W123 CE from 1976

The Mercedes C-Class coupé is a strong contender with a character of its own

7 January 2016

What is it?

While it’s best to swerve clichés, sometimes you just have to play the platitudes to avoid having an elephant in the room. So, let’s get the trite bit out of the way from the off: doesn't this new Mercedes C-Class Coupé look rather like a mini S-Class Coupé? And from where I'm standing, that’s rather a good thing.

Whereas the old car was all angles and lines, this bigger 2016 version – it’s 40mm wider, 95mm longer, with an extra 80mm between its wheels – hides its extra metal in gracious swoops and elegant curves, albeit with a bit of glitz (or chintz, depending on your viewpoint) from the diamond-effect grille with chrome pins.

It shares little bodywork with the C-Class Saloon, other than its front wings and bonnet, while underneath there's a new four-link front suspension set-up and an adapted version of the saloon’s multi-link arrangement at the rear. It’s been lowered by 15mm all round, too.

Mechanical springs, non-selectable adaptive dampers and a variable steering rack are the default spec on the entry Sport model, but if you go for this AMG Line trim, everything is tauter with the aim of greater agility. The big deal is the option of fully adjustable air suspension – a first in this coupé class. It’s a not wholly unreasonable £895, and judging by our experience of it here, is well worth the extra.

What's it like?

It’s noticeably better than the old car. For starters the front end feels more connected and willing to turn in, and in Comfort mode the steering has good assistance, building weight more intuitively than that of a BMW 4 Series Coupé. It doesn’t have buckets of old-school feel, and in Sport mode it becomes a bit too heavy, but you can mix and match the settings to compensate.

In Sport it pumps a bit more air into those springs and feels all the more planted as a result. It holds itself together admirably across ragged roads, and if you barrel into a bend there is a hint of roll, but once it settles, the C-Class Coupé earns your trust.

Even when the stakes are high in long, fast, sweepers, you feel you can rely on its inherent stability and balance. It’s still more of a blunt instrument than a 4 Series, which has a little more finesse, but there’s no doubting its effectiveness.

The Mercedes will outdo the BMW in terms of comfort, however, even in this sportier AMG Line guise. Toggle the Dynamic Select switch back to Comfort and it relaxes the springs, and even on 18in wheels it patters over the worst bumps and ridges. At speed there’s a bit of wind noise from around the door mirrors, plus the tyres kick up a bit of din over coarse surfaces, but the same criticisms apply to the BMW.

While the new, optional nine-speed automatic gearbox is snappy enough when you manually pull the paddles, in auto mode it slurs away through its many ratios without you ever really noticing. And when it’s at a steady 70mph in top gear the engine’s pulling just 1350rpm, so you barely notice that, either.

That said, whenever you need to accelerate, the gruff-sounding twin-turbo 2.1-litre diesel is the weak link, letting out a particularly coarse rumble. It’s reasonably quick, mind, but we reckon the more powerful C 250 is still a better choice, making even more sense in this Coupé than it does in the Saloon.

The interior looks fabulous and far more interesting than anything else in the class. However, when you start fiddling, the sense of quality does feel only skin deep in places; a wobbly bull’s-eye air vent and yet another rattle from a Stuttgart product are a warning that Merc needs to maintain, rather than merely rely on, its reputation for quality.

There’s no denying it’s a great place to sit though, with plenty of space up front plus a superb, low-set driving position and enveloping seats. If you’re tall and faced with a choice between sitting in the rear of a C-Class Coupé or a 4 Series Coupé, do pick the BMW. The Merc is okay for average-size folk, but suffers a noticeable deficiency in both head and leg room compared to its Munich rival. That said, the boot’s a good size, and folding rear seats add to its practicality.

Should I buy one?

Buying a coupé is far more of an emotive decision than practical one. So if it’s a choice between a C-Class Coupé and a 4 Series Coupé, no matter what we say, you’ll probably end up choosing the one that most floats your boat aesthetically.

The good news is that either way you’ll be making a sound decision. Without the luxury of a back-to-back test it seems that the BMW still has the edge for handling, but the Mercedes makes up for that by cosseting you more with its sumptuous ride – at least as tested here. If only that was supplemented by a smoother diesel engine, it might even be a class leader - just like its big S-Class brother.

Mercedes-Benz C 220 d Coupé AMG Line

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £36,460; Engine 4 cyls, 2143cc, twin-turbocharged, diesel; Power 168bhp at 3000-4200rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1400-2800rpm; Gearbox 9-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1615kg; Top speed 145mph; 0-62mph 7.5sec; Economy 68.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 109g/km, 21% 

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Comments
14

7 January 2016

I have a 6-month old C200 AMG Line. W205 model. On day 2 the dashboard doors and center console started creaking squeaking rattling buzzing and knocking!!! What the blazes??? Even Kia cars don't do that these days. The car is back at the dealer for the 3rd time in 6 months to get those quality issues sorted out. They gave me a C180 Avantgarde as a replacement car. It has the same mileage as my car. 11,000 km. But it was even worse. Everything inside is loose and rattling! Come on Mercedes! Get your bloody act together! That C180 was even worse than a Proton and I consider any Proton to be the worst of the worst in terms of quality. I am surprised Merc owners are not rioting yet. Maybe people are just blinded by that 3 pointed star. I am getting rid of mine if the quality issues persist.

8 January 2016

Completely concur with the above.

Firstly, having driven most of the model range that Merc now produce I am absolutely astounded as to why they keep saddling their cars with that dreadful 4 cylinder diesel motor hitched to the equally dreadful and non intuitive 7 speed auto box. It really is one of the most agricultural, noisy and gruff sounding engines on sale today, let alone in a premium car. Whoever signed off the aftermarket add on dash mounted info screen in the A and C class should be sacked in what can only be described as an ill judged ergonomic nightmare. Merc is absolutely infatuated with saddling the cars with electronic gadgetry in a bid to woo customers at the total expense of improving driving dynamics. I drove a mk7 golf GTI the other day and was deeply impressed by its all round ability. Conversely, a drive in a friends Merc A250 (6 month old) only highlighted how good the gold was. the Merc was awful AND it has been in the dealership 3 times for electronic faults. Mercs are a rip off!

7 January 2016

M-B Coupe predictably soft handling, good ride but weak, noisy and gruff diesel engine. It was ever thus. Also why are Autocar still testing/promoting diesels. The fuel is dangerous, dirty and kills people prematurely. It should and hopefully soon will be banned. In any event if you are a private buyer doing less than 15000 miles a year a diesel makes no financial sense whatsoever. Such buyers a fair number of whom might be expected to prefer a coupe as they can choose their own cars with a fleet manager to appease should be looking at the petrol or hybrid versions instead. Perhaps Autocar should test one of those rather than diesel after diesel after diesel.

On another point, I agree with Sitikchai regarding M-B quality. After 9 BMWs I decided to have a change and I went to M-B, having read Autocar/Top Gear/Auto Express etc reports of "much improved quality". After a few test drives I chose a CLS. I had the CLS 350 for less than a month when it tried to kill me twice in the first month of ownership; by that I mean the car's CPU failed completely in traffic causing the engine, gearbox, brakes, lights and every other system to shut down. The first time was at a quiet time of day on a quiet road and I was able to coast to a halt and restart it in "Limp Home Mode" (25 mph max, no ABS, no traction control and so on). M-B were very good the first time, collecting the car leaving a courtesy car and within a week I had my CLS back. The second time was in rush hour traffic on a dual carriageway at a busy junction. Thankfully the car coasted forwards enough to avoid being rear ended. I was only 1 mile from the M-B dealer so after getting over to the side of the road and getting it to "Limp Home" I took the car back to them. This time they were rubbish. No courtesy car to get me home just a taxi, when I complained the next day I did get a courtesy car - a 4 cylinder diesel not an equivalent spec vehicle as they promised. They had the car for 6 weeks and could not resolve the matter so wanted their courtesy car back and kept telephoning me to see if I would hand it back. Answer - NO! At least not until you repair the CLS. I got my money back and bought BMW number 10. My advice avoid M-Bs whether C-Class or CLS-Class it matters not they are poorly put together and customer service is appalling compared to other makers. I am now on BMW 11 a 5 Series petrol which is quiet, fast, smooth and does not rattle, squeak or try to kill me.

7 January 2016

Some forum posters are so anti diesel they will repeatedly lie to try to convince others of their viewpoint.
Autocar like most European car magazines review mostly diesel models of cars as that is what sells in quantity. In Europe what percentage of sales of the MB C class are petrol compared to diesel, my guess is about 75% in favour of diesel.
Petrol cars produce similar quantities of particulates as diesel especially the most dangerous very small ones this has come about through petrol cars adopting direct injection in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption in petrol engines. Wikipedia tells us that the deadly poisonous gas CO is produced by up to 28 times as much from petrol as from diesel.
As for telling us that it makes no sense for anyone to buy a diesel car if they do less than 15k miles per annum that is often plain wrong. Many diesel buyers prefer the slow revving high torque motoring diesel gives. Whilst nobody is trying to force you to buy diesel it appears that you are on a crusade to dictate others choice to suit your bias.
Recently JLR group has introduced the Range Rover and Sport models into North America in 3.0 litre diesel form to much acclaim, not bad considering the fall out from the VW fiasco. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the USA market. The Ram 1500 Ecodiesel truck in the USA was voted best truck two years running.

7 January 2016
Campervan wrote:

Some forum posters are so anti diesel they will repeatedly lie to try to convince others of their viewpoint.
Autocar like most European car magazines review mostly diesel models of cars as that is what sells in quantity. In Europe what percentage of sales of the MB C class are petrol compared to diesel, my guess is about 75% in favour of diesel.
Petrol cars produce similar quantities of particulates as diesel especially the most dangerous very small ones this has come about through petrol cars adopting direct injection in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption in petrol engines. Wikipedia tells us that the deadly poisonous gas CO is produced by up to 28 times as much from petrol as from diesel.
As for telling us that it makes no sense for anyone to buy a diesel car if they do less than 15k miles per annum that is often plain wrong. Many diesel buyers prefer the slow revving high torque motoring diesel gives. Whilst nobody is trying to force you to buy diesel it appears that you are on a crusade to dictate others choice to suit your bias.
Recently JLR group has introduced the Range Rover and Sport models into North America in 3.0 litre diesel form to much acclaim, not bad considering the fall out from the VW fiasco. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the USA market. The Ram 1500 Ecodiesel truck in the USA was voted best truck two years running.

Thank you Campervan! Everything you have said is SPOT ON and I thank you also for saving me from having to write the same thing!

8 January 2016

Emmm I prefer the World Health Organization report on the dangers of Diesel to Wiki, it basically said it causes cancer, read it then get back to us.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

tlb

8 January 2016

Does Campervan make diesel engines for a living?

CO/carbon monoxide is of course a dangerous gas in terms of high level short or persistent exposure - that is well established and why sitting in your car in a closed garage with the engine on is a pretty bad idea. The research into long term low intermittent exposures is not well advanced.

What is conclusive is that many of the heavy particulates produced by diesel engines uniquely are both carcinogenic and accumulative through their persistence in the body.

7 January 2016

£36,460 for finally a boor 4 pots Diesel :-|

TS7

7 January 2016
david RS wrote:

£36,460 for finally a boor 4 pots Diesel :-|

A similarly spec'd BM is a similar price: £36,245 for a 418d M Sport (150 bhp), £37,185 for the 420d (190 bhp).

8 January 2016

I hate to say it - but these cars in a year will have 7k knocked off with deposit contributions etc. Or leasing will probably be £300 a month!

Unfortunatly UK buyers are falling over themselves for the badge.

Also at 1350 rpm for 70 while giving good fuel consumption is surely bad for the engine even in a diesel? Its going to have to drop 2 gears to give a burst of speed if needed for overtaking.

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