Desirable and smart alternative to the BMW 4 Series, silly AMG version
Regular versions lack the sportiness of that BMW
What is it?
It’s the C-Class Coupe, a two-door, four-seat Mercedes-Benz in the finest tradition. Merc makes rather a lot of coupes these days – as well as the similarly traditional E-Class and S-Class coupes, there are also more rakish versions of its saloons and SUVs. This C-Class risks being a bit too traditional among them all, then.
It fights back with a bit of sportiness: it sits 15mm lower than a C-Class saloon, and comes only in more assertive looking AMG Line trim, which includes headlights as bright as the law will allow, according to Merc. Good luck not getting flashed by oncoming traffic on a dark rural road…
While the latest generation of C-Class comes with a plethora of engines, the Coupe gets a more limited selection. There are four petrols and one diesel. The cheapest option is the C200, whose 1.5-litre petrol uses some complex electrical assistance to produce a reasonably healthy 182bhp. Cheapest to run ought to be the C220d, which gets a new 191bhp 2.0-litre diesel and claims an astonishing 61.5mpg, helped by the Coupe’s svelte aerodynamics.
The ones you really want to know about are the AMGs, though. There’s the big-boy C63 AMG, which we prefer to the BMW M4 and boasts a twin-turbo V8 available in two states of tune. You want the more powerful 503bhp C63 S, but both come with perhaps the most cartoonish wheel arches in the current performance car market.
Below that sits the C43 AMG. Eminently more sensible, it twins a six-cylinder turbo engine with four-wheel drive to rival the likes of the Audi S5 at being an all-weather sports coupe, rather than a tyre-shredding monster. Its grille and detailing echo the C63, but it doesn’t get those spectacular arches. Presumably to keep C63 owners from being too peeved.
All have an automatic gearbox and all benefit from the C-Class’s latest round of updates, which brings a load of new active safety systems, fancier electronic dials and a new media screen. Loads more tech, essentially, on a car that wasn’t short of it in the first place.
Our choice from the range
What is the verdict?
Coupes at this price point get no classier, and if tons of back seat and boot space aren’t vital, it provides nearly as much hushed luxury as Merc’s bigger S-Class Coupe.
Away from the AMG versions it’s all about being comfy and easy going, to the detriment of actual driving fun. But this car nails its brief of being effortless and relaxing to drive, and it crams in loads of desirable tech.
The AMG versions are much more exciting, the V8-powered C63 AMG especially, and we prefer it to the BMW M4 (marginally) and Audi RS5 (vastly). It's one of the most immaturely fun performance cars currently on sale.