2015 Mercedes C-Class Coupe review: Executive elegance

If you don’t need the C-Class Saloon’s rear seats too often there’s a lot to like about this more elegant C-Class Coupe.
Did you know? Only the front wings and bonnet of the C-Class coupe are shared with its saloon relation.

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Looks and space, practicality and performance and luxury and cost-consciousness? If you want it all then you could do worse than a modern premium coupe, and the C-Class Coupe is among the very best. No, it’s not cheap by conventional measure, but it’s not expensive to run, looks sensational and is useful enough to run as an only car – even if you’ve got a couple of children. With an interior that’s nearly a match for Audi’s and dynamics that are up there with the BMW 4 Series there’s a lot to like here. Throw out the brochure for that saloon, then, and live a little…
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Spec & Trim Levels
Fuel Economy
We Like
Neat styling, inside and out.
Excellent standard equipment, particularly safety related.
Comfortable yet sporting to drive.
We Don’t Like
The old diesel engine is unrefined.
The standard colour palette is a bit limited.
Centre screen looks a bit of an afterthought

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Remove two doors, double the appeal, visually at least. Practicalities be damned, as there’s little more pleasing to the eye than a coupe and the C-Class Coupe is a fine looker.
There’s no poor relation in the line up, the Sport models are elegant and nicely proportioned, AMG Line trim adding a bit of brightwork as well as the slightly restyled bumper and side skirts. There’s also a diamond grille and larger 18-inch alloy wheels, perforated brake discs and visible twin-pipe exhausts adding a more sporting look to the Coupe’s lines as befitting the AMG badge.
If you prefer your sporting looks even more overt, then the Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic delivers it, with bi-colour alloy wheels, AMG styling around the front, sills and rear, with a performance exhaust system, black mirror housing, chrome pin grille. If that’s not enough then plenty AMG badging leaves you in no doubt it’s more than just a trim level. Above that is the Mercedes-AMG C63, which is different enough in character to warrant its own report.

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With the exception of interior maestros Audi, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe has the most appealing interior in the class. Yes, it’s largely lifted from the C-Class saloon, but that’s no complaint. There’s deeply recessed conventional instruments, between which sits an iPhone-sized (S, not Plus…) screen which contains all the trip, navigation, assistance, connection and entertainment info via simply operated buttons on the steering wheel.
That small instrument-positioned screen is complimented by a larger one topping the centre of the dash, it perhaps the most awkward element of the C-Class’s otherwise elegantly designed interior. Its positioning makes it look rather like and afterthought compared to better integrated designs of rivals, and, indeed, Mercedes-Benz’s newer models.
The dash is nicely shaped, with fine material quality and useful stowage around the transmission tunnel. The ventilation is good thanks to five large bullseye vents. Comfort levels are high, too, the seats supportive and offering plentiful adjustment, the coupe’s seats coming as standard with the Comfort Pack, which includes electric four-way lumbar support adjustment. The steering column is manually adjustable for reach and rake, though can, via the optional Premium Package, be powered.
As a coupe there are some expected concessions to practicality, but they’re not quite as sizeable as they could be. The rear seats, two of them, are spacious enough even for adults, even if accessing them is a bit awkward. For small children getting them in the back is no real issue, other than the length of the doors causing difficulties if you’re in a tight parking spot.
The boot is a decent size and shape, the access not as good as the saloon, but then there’s 400 litres of capacity, which is just 80 litres down on its four-door relation. It’s also down on its BMW and Audi alternatives by around 45-65 litres, but if boot capacity is a real buying consideration, then perhaps you shouldn’t be looking for a coupe. The rear seatbacks fold, too, in a 40/20/40 fashion should you need additional luggage space or for carrying longer loads.

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Technology & Connectivity
There’s Active Parking Assist with Parktronic and a reversing camera in all, likewise Garmin Map Pilot sat nav, DAB audio and that 7-inch colour display and media interface. There’s iPod or iPhone integration with two USB ports, a SD card slot (for sat nav), Bluetooth connection Mercedes me connect system which includes emergency call, accident recovery, breakdown and maintenance management.
Add the Premium Plus equipment line and the screen size ups in resolution and size – to 8.4 inches – adds Comand Online, which brings a hard drive navigation system with live traffic, CD/DVD player, internet access, Mercedes-Benz apps, a WLAN hotspot and 10GB music register with MP3 compatibility. The connectivity ups a notch, too, with Mercedes me connect, allowing geographic vehicle monitoring and location, remote door locking and unlocking, and vehicle status monitoring – subject to a subscription after the initial three-year registration.
Being a premium brand there’s plenty of scope for cost options, with everything from a bird’s-eye view 360 degree parking camera, intelligent LED headlights and a head-up display.

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Performance & Handling
In the non-AMG line-up the engine choice for the C-Class Coupe is fairly simple. There’s 2.1-litre turbodiesel which produces either 164bhp/295lb ft in C220 d guise, or 196bhp/368lb ft badged as the C250 d. The petrol choices include a 177bhp/221lb ft four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol wearing C200 on its bootlid, or a C300 that gains a pair of cylinders in a V and an extra litre for 3.0-litres of capacity to deliver its 235bhp/273lb ft output.
All comfortably reach 62mph in under 8 seconds, the C300 doing so in 6 seconds. The slowest is 7.8 seconds, that being the C220 d when fitted with its standard manual transmission. Adding the 9-speed automatic drops that to 7.5 seconds, all managing a top speed of over 140mph. If you want to go faster in your C-Class coupe then there’s the C43 AMG, a stepping-stone to the AMG C63 flagship. It’s a compelling one, too, the 362bhp it brings thanks to the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 would, not too long ago, been more than enough for a full-house AMG billing. It’ll reach 62mph in 4.7 seconds on the way to its 155mph electronic speed limiter.
By virtue of its age the C-Class doesn’t run the Mercedes-Benz’s latest electronic architecture so it’s saddled with the older 2.1 litre turbodiesel. The performance it delivers is fine, though it’s not the most refined diesel out there. The C250 d might gain some pace against the clock, but the reality on the road isn’t so noticeable. That’s particularly true if you’ve optioned the nine-speed automatic with either of the entry-level engines, petrol or diesel, as it’ll always find a ratio to deliver decent acceleration.
With all there’s Dynamic Select, which allows a selection of five different driving modes from Eco through to Individual, fiddling with these subtly altering the characteristics from the steering, accelerator and automatic transmission. Honestly, most will be happy with how Comfort works, Eco being a bit slovenly in its responses, Sport quickening things up as you’d expect, but it’s not a huge step up. If you’ve opted for the adaptive suspension then the Dynamic Select incorporates the choices it brings to the mix, but on all but the smoothest roads Comfort will inevitably be your default setting. That’s true with the C43 AMG model, which gains a stiffer, more driver orientated set-up to match its performance. There’s standard 4Matic four-wheel drive with the C43, too.
Handling and comfort
Straddling the tricky balance between taut control and fine ride comfort is a difficult challenge, but one that the C-Class coupe does pretty convincingly. The Sport model rides on what Mercedes-Benz describes as Agility Control comfort suspension which is ‘lowered’ by 15mm, but given the AMG Line also boasts the same drop, with the emphasis more on sporting behaviour, we’re not sure where it’s been dropped from.
Regardless, both come with speed sensitive Direct Steer, with the AMG line gaining Sports Direct Steer. We’d need to drive them back-to-back to really ascertain the differences, but all C-Class coupes deliver accurate steering with decent weight at their wheel.
If you want some additional ability to tailor your drive there’s the choice of Airmatic Dynamic Handling, which brings variable damper control, self-levelling suspension with the ability to raise and lower as necessary, but the standard set-up does such a convincing job that it’s really not necessary. Grip is good, traction, too, though if you really want it there’s the option of 4Matic four-wheel drive on the four-cylinder engines, though it does add weight and slightly blunts performance and economy as a result. All-wheel drive is standard on the C43 model, though it’s tuned specifically for the AMG, which means it’ll push more of its drive to the rear more of the time.

Recommended engine: C220 d AMG Line Auto
0-62 MPH
7.5 seconds
Fuel economy
64.2 mpg

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Safety is core to Mercedes-Benz’s company philosophy so it’s little surprise that the C-Class coupe is fully loaded with active and passive safety equipment. The list of airbags includes driver and front passenger, sidebags, a driver’s kneebag, pelvis bags and windowbags for driver and all passengers. There’s Attention Assist that monitors the driver’s tiredness, automatic child seat recognition sensors in the seats, Isofix fixings to attach them to, ESP electronic stability control, collision prevention assist plus, tyre pressure monitoring, ABS brakes and active bonnet that pops up to soften an impact with a pedestrian. There’s even a reflective warning triangle and first aid kit as part of the extensive standard safety equipment.
Should all that not suffice, there’s the option of a Driving Assistance Package, which bundles all Merc’s latest active safety aids and semi-autonomy into a relatively inexpensive package. It brings Active Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Brake Assist Plus with Cross Traffic Assistant, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist Plus and Stop and Go Pilot, Pre-Safe brake with pedestrian detection and Pre-Safe Plus.
The current C-Class coupe has yet to be independently tested by EuroNCAP, but its predecessor was a five-star performer, and the current saloon it’s based on is, too. Indeed, the C-Class saloon is one of the very best cars EuroNCAP has ever tested. The fact that in 2017 the C-Class Cabriolet managed a five-star score underlines that the coupe will be a strong performer should the worst happen.

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Spec & Trim Levels
The usual choice of black or white if you’re not interested in spending any more, optional metallic paint choices add six more hues, spreading a palette that’s rather reserved through silvers, greys and blue. If you want something a bit more eye-catching then you can go for one of the designo paint choices, the hyacinth red metallic the most overt among the four available designo choices. If none of them suit, and you’ve deep enough pockets Mercedes-Benz will paint it any colour you like.
Trim Levels
There’s two trim choices in the Coupe line up, ignoring the AMG range toppers. The base level is Sport, the other choice being AMG Line. Sport comes with a good standard specification, enough to please most buyers. There’s 17-inch alloy wheels, Active Parking Assist, Agility control comfort suspension, Dynamic Select with a choice of five driving modes, LED Headlight, memory, heated front seats, Audio 20 system with DAB and sat nav and Sports seats with man made Artico leather.
AMG Line adds an inch to the alloy wheel diameter, AMG bodystyling a diamond front grille with chrome pins, Sports Suspension, AMG Line specific details inside including an AMG steering wheel, black roofliner, and AMG badging throughout the interior.
To both there’s the option of adding the Premium or Premium Plus package, the former adding LED ambient lighting, Keyless Go and an extended Memory package that adds electrically powered steering column into the mix. Go for the Premium Plus and to that you’ll add a Burmester surround sound system with 13 speakers as well as Comand Online system with a touchpad that brings 3D mapping, a larger high-resolution screen, speed limit assist and expanded connectivity and information.
The C43 AMG gains AMG specific styling inside and out, as well as equipment like a performance exhaust and standard 4Matic four-wheel drive.

Size and Dimensions
Max towing weight unbraked – braked
750kg – 1800kg

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Fuel Economy
Inevitably it’s the fleet-focussed diesels that make the most sense here, the impact on your bank balance relatively small for a luxurious, premium coupe. Unusually, given the spread of nine gears, the manual versions are the most economical, choosing to shift gears yourself saving you as much as 5mpg on the official combined consumption cycle. That too impacts CO2 emissions, making the manuals the choice if you’re keen to eke out the maximum out of every drop of fuel. Trim levels matter here too, Sport’s smaller wheels making it the most efficient, lowest emitting choice. Efficiency is good, but if the C-Class Coupe had the latest engines from the E-Class it’d be better again. We’ll have to wait until the new one before that happens, though.
In the long-run the autos make more sense, not least as they’ll be easier to sell on, making their residual values higher. Likewise trims, nice as Sport is, the AMG Line is more eye-catching in appearance, and comes with some more desirable equipment.
We’d avoid the C300, as the V6 is thirsty, it’ll be unloved used, and is too close in price to the C43 AMG model which brings so much more enjoyment. Be sure you really need 4Matic four-wheel drive on those models it doesn’t come as standard, as it impacts economy again, adding a few mpg to the official figures, and in some cases is enough to push the CO2 emissions into another tax band.

Reliability and servicing
Variable servicing that’s highlighted by the car itself depending on usage. Like many Mercedes-Benz offers a fixed-price servicing package that’s a low monthly payment or one-off single payment that takes any hassle out of ownership over the first three-years and is extendable afterwards. The warranty is three-years unlimited miles. The expectation is that for a premium vehicle reliability is a given, but Mercedes-Benz hasn’t fared as well as it perhaps should have in recent customer satisfaction surveys.

Variable – condition based
Variable – condition based

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Mercedes has priced its range aggressively in recent years, and the C-Class coupe is no exception. Compared to rivals it looks like good value, particularly when you look at the standard specification. Mercedes itself offers many buying options, while leasing rates are good, too, with a business rate monthly lease for a C220 d Auto Sport around lb300, and lb360 for a personal lease.
Tech Junky
AMG Line C220 d Automatic with Premium Plus and Driving Assistance Package. Fully-loaded with autonomous and safety kit, and that epic stereo
Company Car buyer
The C220 d manual makes the most sense in Sport guise, but spend a little bit more on your tax and take the ease of the optional automatic.
Car Enthusiast
The Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic might lack the madness of its C63 big-brother, but it’s a quick, sure-footed coupe that’s enjoyable to drive.
Audi A5
Divine inside, a little bit generic Audi outside, the default coupe, but the C-Class is better to drive.
BMW 4 Series
The Mercedes-Benz has a better interior and is pretty much the 4’s equal on the road. The better diesel counts in the 4’s favour, here.
Range Rover Evoque 3dr
Not a conventional coupe, admittedly, but a valid buying choice in a fashion conscious market. Any of the true coupes better it on the road, off it however…
Infiniti Q60
Leftfield choice from a relatively unknown maker in the UK, but if you want to turn heads then the Q60 is worth a look.
Ford Mustang
Not an obvious rival, admittedly, but it’ll seat four, looks fantastic and is fun to drive. The interior is a disaster in this premium company, though.


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