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The Top Gear car review: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

£29,765£67,350
7/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Desirable and smart alternative to the battery-farmed BMW 4-Series

Against: 

Still lacks the outright dynamism and driver appeal of its Munich rival
A relaxed, attractive and very well-built executive coupe.

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Our choice

Mercedes-Benz

C250 CDI AMG Sport 2dr Auto

£35,615
6/10
53mpg
7.10s
204bhp
139g/km

What we say: 

This is more like it, a junior Merc coupe aimed straight at the Audi A5

What is it?

Well, it’s not the new CLK. And it’s definitely not the new CLC sports coupe. No, it’s a riposte to BMW’s 4 Coupe and the Audi A5. A two-door C-Class that no longer hides in the gaps but takes the big Germans head on. A strict four-seater with smooth grace on its mind and a stable of engines all built for that single purpose. This is no pant-bothering sports coupe, but a relaxing, mooching take on the two-door mid-sized executive coupe formula.

Driving

The new C Coupe comes with an ‘amplitude-dependent’ damping system, automatically adjusting the compliancy of the shocks when the road decides to become rubbish.

Despite this, the Merc doesn’t transform into a jousty weapon of pinpoint precision, but retains a rather more calm sensibility and disposition towards aggressive inputs. There’s little body roll and a strong, confident chassis, it’s just that the relationship between driver and road is a little filtered. And this philosophy extends to the engine line-up, too. Three petrols – two 1.8-litre turbo four-pots producing 154bhp and 201bhp, and the C 350 V6 with 302bhp – join two diesels. The C 250 CDI produces 201bhp and a staggering 368lb ft of torque, which outperforms its Munich rival, the BMW 420d. Outpointing a diesel BMW on power and torque is a rare feat, and the Merc’s unit is a serene one, gently mooching around at the bottom of the rev range but with enough mid-range torque to allow for some big-car-style overtaking whoosh.

On the inside

The C-Class Coupe is a strict four-seater, and the rear backrests can split and fold down for extra bootspace, which stands at 450 litres unfolded. There’s enough room for a pair of six-footers to sit front and back, though the rear passenger’s head will tickle the headlining. Plenty comfortable for medium-length journeys, while build quality is in keeping with the brand, as in it’s very good.

The panoramic sunroof allows for an airy, pleasant cabin and all the controls are nicely finished and pleasant to manhandle.

Owning

Opt for the diesel coupe and you’ll enjoy some rather splendid figures. The C 220 CDI returns an average of 55mpg and emits only 133g/km of CO2 which, frankly, is a cracking set of statistics and, as mentioned earlier, betters the BMW 420d. The 1.8-litre petrol C 250 manages to return 40.4mpg and emits 163g/ km of CO2, despite a 0–62mph time of 7.2 seconds, which is very respectable. All of the Cs are likely to have strong residuals thanks to that three-pointed star on the bonnet, especially the lustworthy V8 C 63 AMG.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
C63 Edition 507 2dr Auto
4.2s 280g/km 23.5 507 £67,350
The cheapest
C180 AMG Sport Edition 2dr
8.5s 149g/km 44.1 156 £29,765
The greenest
C220 CDI Executive SE 2dr
8.4s 109g/km 68.9 170 £31,075

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

8/10

BMW 5 Series

£30,810£57,220
A BMW 530d SE - with 258bhp - costs a shade over the C250 CDI Coupe, but it's faster and more spacious