What's it like?
Mercedes-Benz’s high output four-cylinder diesel is nicely refined and delivers loads of usable performance for its relatively small capacity. Peak torque of 369lb ft arrives on a fairly narrow brand of revs, but there’s always plenty on offer to ensure there’s no need for constant gear shuffling to keep it percolating along.
It’s at a constant motorway cruise where the C 250 CDI is at its best; with a flexible nature, an optional fast acting seven speed gearbox and superbly chosen ratios, it is endowed with a strong stream of acceleration and feels effortless up to the sort of speeds limits imposed in the UK. Its stability at high speeds is also exemplary.
It’s really only when the engine is asked to work beyond 4200rpm – the point at where maximum power is delivered, where it becomes breathless and begins to emit an annoying mechanical thrum, that you notice that there is a four cylinder sitting up front. Still, a claimed 52.3mpg means visits to the service station forecourt won’t come too regularly even if you’re prompted to work it hard.
The rest of the driving experience is very much in the mould of the C-class saloon and estate, with engaging and predictable handling traits. There is an added touch of tautness in the suspension, which uses it own unique tuning, to give the C-class coupe a slightly more sporting demenour than its four door siblings. But it is a very subtle change in character. Despite this, the ride is superb, offering great low frequency control and sufficient composure to sponge away larger potholes with authority.
The interior is impressive if familiar, offering greater quality and style than the 3-series coupe. As part of moves to cut costs and streamline production, much is shared with the C-class saloon and estate, including the new three dimensional instrument graphics.
Crucially, the driver’s seat, manually adjustable as standard, can be set low enough to provide a proper sporting driving position. But while there’s plentiful accommodation up front, the rear is quite cramped, and the narrow aperture of the rear side window makes it feel awfully enclosed. Getting into the rear seats is also quite a chore despite the inclusion of front seats that both slide and fold forward. Best to think of it more as a two-plus-two than a true four seater, then.
Should I buy one?
Its conservative styling is a matter of taste, but there’s no doubting the overall ability of the C 250 CDI coupe. An excellent combination of performance, refinement and economy makes it a very relaxing car over long distances. Enthusiasts will also find the chassis provides sufficient response, feedback and control to make it a worthy rival to the BMW 325d.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 CDI Coupé
Price: 30,315; Top speed: 149mph; 0-62mph: 7.0sec; Economy: 52.3mpg; CO2: 143g/km; Kerb weight: 1580kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 2143cc turbocharged diesel; Installation: front, longitudinal, rear-wheel drive; Power: 201bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 369lb ft at 1600rpm; Gearbox: 7-speed automatic