CLC gets new looks but old underpinnings
28 January 2008

Mercedes would have you believe that this is the CLC, a brand new coupé that will sit just beneath the CLK in its model line-up. But it's actually just a heavily revised version of the old C-class Sport Coupé.The 'new' car sits on a mildly tweaked version of the old C-class Sport Coupé's rear-wheel-drive platform, which dates back to 2001. But it does get some new looks, including an aggressive front end that does away with the familiar double round headlamps of its predecessor and features trapezoidal lights from the new C-class. There are also elements of the CL coupé in the CLC's twin-slat grille, plus edgier bumpers and a reworked tailgate.Otherwise, it's much the same as before, with the doors, rear wings and roof all being carried over. As is the interior, albeit with new trim and Mercedes-Benz’s latest Comand navigation system.The engine line-up is based heavily on that of the C-class, which means two supercharged four-cylinder units (143bhp and 184bhp), two V6s (a 2.4-litre unit with 204bhp and a 3.5-litre version with 272bhp) and a pair of common-rail diesel motors with 122bhp and 150bhp.Gearboxes include a standard six-speed manual, an optional five-speed automatic on four-cylinder variants and a more advanced seven-speed automatic on the V6 versions; the latter features steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.Prices for the CLC will start at around £21,000 when it goes on sale in the UK in July. But rumours persist that Mercedes-Benz will use the CLC as a springboard for a whole new model line-up below the C-class. Autocar can reveal the German car maker is looking at proposals for a small rear-wheel-drive offering in the mould of the BMW 1-series.

Greg Kable/Will Powell

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