What is it?:
Audi has its popular S models, BMW its more recently established M-Performance line-up. Now Mercedes-Benz is getting in on the action with a limited range of overtly sporting models marketed under the 'Engineered by AMG' banner, including the car driven here, the C250 Coupé Sport.
As the name suggests, the new C250 Coupé Sport – Engineered by AMG has been tweaked by Mercedes' own in-house performance off-shoot in an effort to imbue it with a more distinctly sporting character than its standard sibling.
It is not a full-blown AMG model in the mould of the C63 Coupé AMG, but is a less hard-hitting offering that, for the time being at least, can be had with either the 201bhp turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine on test here or a 201bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel unit – both of which go unchanged mechanically.
What's it like?:
Among the chassis modifications AMG has brought to the standard C250 coupé is specific suspension tuning with firmer springs and dampers as well as unique camber settings and altered bearings to provide a wider front track, larger brakes and more direct steering. These are combined with a remapped throttle setting and changes to the software for the standard seven-speed automatic gearbox for more rapid shifts and a downshift function during braking.
On top of this are various exterior and interior styling changes which can be ordered on other Mercedes-Benz models as part of a new Sport Plus package.
With a 0-62mph time of 7.2sec and a top speed of 149mph it is no rocket ship; the £29,065 BMW 328i SE, which runs a 242bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, boasts claims of 5.9sec and 155mph respectively.
But the C250 Coupé Sport – Engineered by AMG offers a clearly sharper driving experience than the standard C250 Coupé Sport.
The software changes result in slightly more urgent throttle response and smoother shift quality, while the various chassis modifications instill it with greater steering response and improved body control without any obvious deterioration in ride comfort.
Should I buy one?:
For all of these changes, it is just a pity that the added agility isn’t backed up by increased performance.
As it stands this is a superbly sorted and generally fun-to-drive car screaming out for a better and altogether more powerful engine.
Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueEfficiency Coupe Sport – engineered by AMG
Price £31,925; 0-62mph 7.2sec; Top speed 149mph; Economy 40.4mpg; CO2 163g/km; Kerb weight 1475kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1796cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 201bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 229lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic