The revised entry point to Mercedes-Benz’s sleek C-Class Coupé range has been granted the brand’s latest powertrain technology...
It was under 10 years ago Mercedes-Benz South Africa still listed three very different coupé offerings, each sharing their underpinnings with the C-Class of the day: the CLC, CLK and what would eventually supersede the latter, the W212 E-Class Coupé. The arrival in 2016 of the resolved C205 C-Class Coupé heralded not only a timely trimming of the family tree, but also a welcome return to form for a manufacturer renowned for creating some of the sleekest two-door creations in automotive history.
With smooth lines intended to closely resemble those of the brand’s flagship S-Class offerings, the C205 made the most of its MRA modular architecture. It instantly offered a more traditional coupé stance than the stub-tail CLC, while convincingly mimicking the levels of ride refinement and overall sophistication offered by the current W205 C-Class sedan on which it’s based.
Maintaining its 15 mm lower ride height compared with the four-door, this refreshed C-Class Coupé range’s exterior styling is enhanced by the standard fitment of the brand’s AMG styling package. This includes 18-inch alloy wheels and the visual drama of a star-studded grille. In line with last year’s facelift of the four-door models, the updated Coupé inherits the family’s newest headlamp cluster design with standard LED headlamps, as well as modified bumpers, front and rear.
A further carry-over from the sedan is the incorporation of a new steering wheel design, including neat thumb-operated trackpads, as well as an updated 10,2-inch infotainment display screen with crisp graphics. Costing R11 000, we’re conflicted whether the configurable 12,3-inch digital instrument binnacle – as impressive as its workings are – doesn’t look out of place in the polished and charming cabin of the entry-level C200 Coupé. Complemented by optional wood-grain trim and impressively comfortable (up front at least) seats trimmed in tan-coloured leather, you’d be forgiven for expecting to see old-school analogue instrumentation in a derivative positioned so obviously with comfort and sophistication in mind.
Our test unit featured a host of options aimed at improved luxury – including intuitive Driving Assistance (R36 100) and an Energising Comfort guided relaxation programme (R3 000) – but the first box we’d tick would be the R4 035 seatbelt extender to eliminate having to reach back for these deep-set harness mounting points.
You can save money by not opting for an electric bootlid, as the manual item is sufficiently compact and light. Unchanged from the pre-facelift model, the modern C-Class Coupé’s luggage compartment should offer enough depth and volume for your weekend luggage or a brace of golf bags. Run-flat tyres are standard fitment and do away with the need for a space-impinging spare wheel.
Adding to the sense of quiet calm associated with this entry-level C-Class Coupé is a suspension setup that just about counters the insubstantial sidewalls of the optional 19-inch rubber (though it is a combination too easily unsettled on potted surfaces; we’d consider the additional-cost air suspension if you’d prefer bigger wheels than the standard 18-inch items).
NVH levels are troubled only once the C200’s new M264-series 1 497 cm3 turbopetrol engine explores the unnatural limits of its rev range. While it seems incongruous to find both a sport and sport+ drive setup within these driving modes, mated with Mercedes’ excellent 9G-tronic automatic transmission, this new single twin-scroll turbocharged engine is sufficiently brawny in almost any conditions. The EQ Boost function calls upon a 48 V onboard network which operates the integrated starter generator to deliver 10 kW of supplementary power to mitigate the effects of turbo lag.
While Mercedes-Benz claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 6,8 L/100 km for this 135 kW/280 N.m drivetrain, our standardised fuel route suggested a figure closer to 8,0 L/100 km, which is still impressive.
In a segment all too easily muddled by four-door derivatives of two-door models and swept-back examples of family SUVs, Mercedes-Benz should be commended for remembering what most traditional coupé customers actually seek (ignoring for the moment the GLC and GLE Coupé families).
The latest C-Class Coupé, enhanced by this midcycle refresh, offers space, comfort and versatility for owners who rarely require the use of back seats, in a package that feels every bit as sophisticated as the badge on its bonnet suggests.
Take care when speccing your purchase, though. It is easy for your basket to edge close to the R1-million mark and much of the appeal of the C200, in particular, lies in keeping things relatively simple and suitably conservative.
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See Full Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan price and specs here