Friday 23 February 2018

C-Class Coupe's a charmer

If it's style you're looking for, slip into the new C-Class Coupe which has everything you'd expect from Mercedes, writes Geraldine Herbert

HEAD TURNER: The coupe is an appealing package of stylish design and driving dynamics
HEAD TURNER: The coupe is an appealing package of stylish design and driving dynamics
Geraldine Herbert

Geraldine Herbert

There are your performance cars like Ferraris and Porsches and there are luxury cars like Bentley and Aston Martin and then there are the coupes - athletic without being muscle-bound, exquisitely curvy but not racy and aggressive looking, and never menacing.

Coupes are all about appearance and the latest arrival to Irish roads is the all new Mercedes Benz C-Class Coupe. A rival to the likes of the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 this coupe is far more than just a two-door version of the saloon and only the wings and bonnet panels are shared by both.

Compared to its saloon counterpart it is a full 95 millimetres longer and the effect is a car that looks far more like an S-Class Coupe.

We tested the entry level diesel (C220d) version - lavishly equipped with the AMG Line trim that adds 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, a diamond grille with chrome pins and 15mm lowered sports suspension.

Inside it has everything you would expect from a Mercedes; stylish and modern, the dials clear and elegant and the seats are incredibly comfortable. Soft leather and leather-effect material drapes everything else.

Storage is quite good though the boot is a little on the small side even by coupe standards with a total capacity of 355 litres. As a result it is smaller than what is offered in both the BMW 4 Series and the Audi A5. In the rear space, leg room takes a back seat to styling and visibility front and rear is not great.

But beauty isn't just skin deep, our test car came with some very impressive figures. The 2.1-litre diesel produces 170 bhp and 440 Nms of torque and with the 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox emissions are just 106 g/km. There is also a C 250 d, which produces 204 bhp. Our test car promises to return 4.2 litres per 100 or over 67 mpg on a mix of urban and motorways usage.

Apart from the two diesel options (C220d €45,900 and C250d €51,470), the C-Class Coupe also offers four petrol engines - the C180 (€44,550), C200 (€45,860), C250 (€50,265) and C300 (€54,080).

If comfort is your priority then you will love this coupe but it is also very good to drive. The optional air-suspension system softens or hardens the ride depending on road conditions so the drive is always smooth, even on the bumpiest surface.

While the BMW 4 series is probably better on back roads, there is very little between them and Mercedes has prioritised everyday comfort rather than the raw sportiness that characterises rivals. There are also a range of driving modes to choose from including Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

The only real quibble is with the engine; the diesel unit sounds rough and is very noisy, particularly when you accelerate.

Mercedes has always been to the forefront when it comes to safety equipment and the C-Class Coupe is no exception. Equipped with nine air bags, it is crammed with all the latest features including a system that detects if the driver is becoming drowsy and advises a break and a pop-up bonnet that protects pedestrians in the event of a collision.

This is a monumental improvement over previous efforts to produce a coupe version of the C-Class; gone are the awkward looks and uninspiring ride.

It not only looks smarter but is much better to drive and is comfortable and reasonably practical. The diesel engine may be the noisy option but it certainly is the one to choose for the best blend of performance and low running costs. Overall the C-Class Coupe will tempt you with its S-Class coupe-like style and panache but without the eye-watering price tag.

Sunday Independent

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