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Driven: Mercedes-Benz C 250 d Coupe. Image by Mercedes.

Driven: Mercedes-Benz C 250 d Coupe
The Mercedes C-Class Coupe moves to the top of the premium two-door class

   



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Mercedes-Benz C 250 d Coupe

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: Exterior looks, lovely cabin, fine chassis, high levels of refinement, strong performance

Not so good: Expensive with options, 'Russian Doll' styling apes bigger Mercedes coupes, ageing 2.1-litre diesel

Key Facts

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz C 250 d Coupe AMG Line
Price: C-Class Coupe range starts from 32,325; C 250 d AMG Line from 38,985, car as tested 47,820
Engine: 2.1-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic
Body style: two-door, four-seater coupe
CO2 emissions: 112/km (VED 160 first 12 months, then 450 per annum next five years, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 64.2mpg
Top speed: 153mph
0-62mph: 6.7 seconds
Power: 204hp at 3,800rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 1,600- to 1,800rpm

Our view:

It might be a strange place to start a review, but how much do you think it costs to fit the Mercedes-Benz C 250 d Coupe AMG Line with the Airmatic Dynamic Handling package? Three grand? More? Slightly less? Well, it's 895. And that seems like a very good deal, because it gives this coupe a supple ride in Comfort mode and taut body control when ramped up to Sport+. It means the C 250 d truly does offer the best of both worlds when it comes to on-road driving manners.

This is a crucial place to start, because with previous generations of C-Class Coupe (including the weird Sports Coupe and CLC derivatives of the early 2000s), there has never been the feeling that they're dynamically exciting. But this model is different. Even in diesel guise, as tested here, it feels like a car that can go toe-to-toe with a BMW 4 Series Coupe in the handling stakes, which is a pleasant thing to be writing, we can tell you.

It's not cheap to end up in one of these C-Class Coupes, though. The problem with the basic 38,985 price of the C 250 d AMG Line isn't that it's OTT - let's face it, a premium sports car like this is bound to be nearly 40,000 these days - but it's rather that, once you start adding desirable extras, you will quickly go beyond that 40 grand marker, which then negates the tax advantages to buying a diesel model instead of a petrol. For all its worthy 112g/km CO2 and 64.2mpg claims, a kitted-up C-Coupe like this will be closer to 50,000 than 40,000, and that means a hefty 450 per annum road tax from years two to six of ownership.

This is one of the few niggles we can think of with the Benz, because in many respects the C 250 d is a fabulous car. Say what you like about the C-, E- and S-Class Coupes all looking like enlarged or reduced photocopies of each other, but the fact is they're all extremely handsome machines - and the C-Class seems to be the prettiest of the lot. Option it up with the 495 Night Package (which adds black 18-inch alloys, privacy glass and black detailing for the window surrounds, door mirrors, front apron and rear diffuser) and team it to a nice metallic paint (645) and it looks worth every penny of the asking price. It's a real head-turner of a machine.

Similarly, the interior - with that 'waterfall' centre console, optional red leather upholstery (795) and the scalloped dash of the C-Class - is a lovely place to be, with a great driving position and a high-quality feel to all the controls. We've made endless comments about the idiosyncratic ergonomics of Mercs (seat adjustment on the door cards, column-mounted shift lever for the automatics, loads of ancillaries on one stalk to the left of the steering wheel, that strange double-decker infotainment controller) but, do you know what? We think we're getting accustomed to them now. The seat switchgear makes sense, as you look at what you want to alter, without blindly groping around at the side of your seat squab trying to make the headrest go up and down, for instance.

The gearlever is also understandable, especially for multipoint low-speed manoeuvring or for quickly hitting the 'Park' button on the end of the stalk in traffic, thus negating the need for an 'Auto Hold' feature. True, we still occasionally flash the headlights instead of washing the windscreen and we have never got on with the touchpad on top of the COMAND control wheel, instead exclusively using the rotary selector beneath, but we reckon a Mercedes owner will be more than happy with the way everything is laid out and presented in the C 250 d Coupe.

The two rear passengers won't be so pleased, though, as legroom is limited in the back if the driver is of average height or above. There's another option bundle, the Premium Plus Package (2,995), which brings in a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system, upgraded COMAND Online infotainment with online features and a superb panoramic sunroof, this last item at least flooding the cabin with light to ensure it's not gloomy in the back seats. And in terms of general practicality, the boot at the back of the coupe is pretty huge. Oh, another option you'll want is the 825 head-up display - it's fantastic and one of the best systems of its type on the market.

So we know the C-Class Coupe is hugely refined for gentle driving conditions, as it has a cosseting ride and good sound suppression in the cabin. What makes it our preferred choice in this compact premium coupe class is that it's also great fun to chuck about on twisting roads. The steering has excellent weighting and responses, while the C 250 d is admirably resistant to understeer, considering the weight it has over its nose. There's even the feeling of the rear end of the car taking an active part in cornering proceedings, which might seem obvious given this is a rear-drive coupe (4MATIC four-wheel-drive models are also available), but older Mercedes 'sports' cars haven't always felt as engaging as their rear-drive set-up promises. Luckily, the C-Class Coupe is not in that category.

The C 250 d would be almost deserving of five stars here, if not for one glaringly obvious technical detail: it still uses Merc's 2.1-litre diesel engine that's nearly a decade old. Truth be told, this is one of the best installations we've ever tried, as it only really becomes raucous when extended to the red line. And as its low-end thump and 3,800rpm peak power points come well before then, while the advanced nine-speed automatic gearbox optimises its performance, you'll rarely hear the diesel at its worst. Mercedes has even managed to make it sound a little sporty in the 2,000- to 3,000rpm bracket, and it gave us back 46.3mpg at 40mph across nearly 374 miles, which is not bad real-world economy at all.

Yet, the newer 2.0-litre diesel in the E-Class, which has 194hp and 400Nm, is in another league for refinement and smoothness. It's odd that Mercedes keeps releasing new or updated models with the 2.1 installed, as the company said the 2.0-litre would simply supersede the 2.1 in all of its cars in the wake of the E-Class, but it would seem that the company is not yet quite prepared to pull the plug on the 2.1's life support.

Other than that, though, the C 250 d Coupe is a gem of a car. Prepossessing without being needlessly showy, commendably capable without being dull, it's everything you could want of a vehicle that so successfully blends the desirability and fun factors of a sports coupe with the practicality of a Mercedes diesel. At this moment, we'd be recommending you pick the brilliant C-Class Coupe over and above anything else in the sector.

Alternatives:

Audi A5 Coupe: Offered with Audi's range of superb diesel engines. The A5 is once again hugely polished and nicely finished, but not massively involving. The Merc feels better to drive.

BMW 4 Series Coupe: Just facelifted and it's a fine car, yet the BMW is no longer the obvious choice for the keener driver. And we reckon the Mercedes looks better inside and out.

Lexus RC: Aside from the mighty F at the top of the tree, Lexus only offers a 200t petrol and 300h hybrid, which are OK but nothing like as appealing all round as the C-Class Coupe.


Matt Robinson - 5 May 2017



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2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.

2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes C 250 d Coupe drive. Image by Mercedes.








 

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