Many young and trendy professionals looked to the stylish Audi A5 as their luxury coupe of choice. Not only was it good looking, but it had status and was even fun to drive. Of course, the A5 came to success after the BMW 3 Series Coupe fell behind.
Engine: Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Power: 240 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
EPA Fuel Economy (MPG): 23 city, 30 highway, 26 combined
CAN Fuel Efficiency (L/100 km): N/A
Price (USD): Starts at $43,575 for RWD models and $45,575 for 4MATIC
Price (CAD): Starts at $48,100
With the A5 needing a refresh and starting to look old in the eyes of some socialites and the 4 Series lacking the style and sportiness that drivers in this segment are looking for, Mercedes-Benz is offering a shining star in its C-Class Coupe.
While the last generation C-Class Coupe showed up a few years after its sedan counterpart hit the market, this new-gen model is hot on the heels of the launch of the new sedan; it seems like Mercedes is eager to strut its stuff in this interesting market segment.
The luxury coupe competition has become stale and the only fresh new vehicles are coming from unusual sources, like the new but polarizing Lexus RC or the upcoming Infiniti Q60. To turn that trend around, the new C-Class Coupe has to be fantastic. Fortunately, it is.
First impressions are important, and the C-Class walks a fine line between bling and beauty. While many of the test vehicles featured the brand’s usually excessive looking diamond chrome grille option, these cars didn’t look garish at all. Eighteen-inch wheels and other aggressive exterior appearance parts also helped the C-Class Coupe maintain a striking visual presence.
Sleek from all angles, this Coupe easily stands out alongside the bigger, more expensive Mercedes vehicles and coupes. The C-Class no longer has a second class design or a cheap interior; Mercedes’ new interior design language is among the best in the market. Circular vents are accented by chunky, toggle-like switches and if the car features the upgraded Burmester audio system, the speaker grilles are like little art installations in their own right.
The Coupes feature single-piece seats, which look like they could have been plucked from the automaker’s sportier offerings. While base Coupes wrap those seats in the tolerable MB-Tex, our testers featured genuine leather. White, black and brown shades were all on display, but for the best blend of real-world usability and style, the brown cowhide can’t be beat. If there is any complaint about the seats in the C-Coupe, it’s that the seats could be a bit more supportive. Look for that upgrade in the upcoming C43 or C63 AMG models. While this car has rear seats, it just wouldn’t be fair to put any humans beyond the age of a toddler back there.
Under the Hood
C300 Coupes are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s been turbocharged to squeeze out 240 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It’s the same engine found in the sedan and before any arguments about “underpowered” powerplants can be formed, it’s important to note that this engine has the same torque figures as the last-generation model’s six-cylinder unit, not to mention all that twist arrives much earlier in the rev range. In practice, the 2.0-liter turbo has plenty of power for passing on the highway, where we could achieve speeds in excess of 70 mph in short time. Mercedes says it will manage the sprint to 60 mph in under 6 seconds, which is a solid mark for this kind of car. Those looking for more power and a faster car will have to wait for the C43 and C63 AMG models.
Paired to that 2.0-liter engine is a seven-speed automatic transmission, just like what you’d find in the sedan. Mercedes also points out that buyers can now pair that four-cylinder engine with the brand’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, where in the last generation model, the AWD system could only be paired with the six-cylinder. Opting for AWD in the C300 increases the price by nearly $2,000, so if you’re on a budget, you can stay with the base rear-wheel-drive setup.
Driving and Handling
Throwing the C-Class around the back roads of Maine and New Hampshire is a good way to feel how the Coupe is tuned for more feedback and a tighter response in terms of steering and handling. However, most of the cars tested were equipped with the AMG Sport Package that included a sport suspension, so the ride did get a bit choppy, especially over broken pavement. Alternatively, the brand’s Airmatic suspension, a $1,600 option, smoothed out the ride and is a must-have option. While the suspension gives plenty of feedback, the steering is a bit lifeless, although it is well weighted and the car is easy to drive. Is the C-Class Coupe a hardcore sports coupe? Not at all, but neither are its direct competitors.
That low-displacement, turbocharged engine and seven-speed automatic mean that the 3,638-lb C300 earns 23 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive models are slightly heavier at 3,770 lbs, and earn one less mpg on the highway and combined.
Features and Value
The C-Class is available with a number of high-tech features and niceties that ensure that customers looking for a high-end experience can get one. Models tested included such features as adaptive cruise control, active lane keep assistance, active blind spot alert, forward collision warning with automatic braking, 360-degree camera systems head-up display with speed limit information and an automatic trunk closing feature.
Starting at $43,575 for RWD models and $45,575 for 4MATIC models, the C300 comes with a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, split folding 40/20/40 rear seats, LED headlights and taillights, a seven-inch infotainment system (though navigation is separate and enhanced smartphone integration like Apple Car Play and Android Auto aren’t offered yet) and the brand’s Dynamic Select system that allows drivers to tailor their driving experience between comfortable and sporty characteristics.
The Verdict: 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe Review
With its competition from BMW and Audi now stale, the introduction of the new C-Class is a refreshing sight in this niche segment. While the A5 and 3 Series Coupe have enjoyed success in the past, it’s clear that the Mercedes C-Class Coupe is now the best two-door luxury car on the market.