A German lesson in swept-back style and sporty manners.
Hold tight for a rapid ride through the current Mercedes car range. So many new models have been added in recent times that the list is long and just a little bewildering. Are you ready? OK, here we go: A, B, C, CLA, CLS, E, G, GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS, S, SLC, SLK and V. All followed by a hyphen and Class, to give their full titles. Phew.
Mercedes’ once rather shorter and stodgier range of cars has swelled into a much more varied and interesting collection of models, with a price span from a whisker below £20,000 to – if you ever hit the Lotto jackpot – over £190,000 for an S-Class range topper.
It is a mega output from the world’s oldest car-maker, founded 90 years ago in its current form but with a history going way back to the 1880s. The Mercedes three-pointed star badge is one of the world’s most instantly recognisable brands.
Mercs have morphed from their rather upright past body shapes, with the ‘gun-sight’ star badge atop the bonnet, to some shapelier modern silhouettes. The famous badge is now black-backed and installed boldly in the centre of the grille. To our eyes one of the best-lookers among the new breed is the new C-Class Coupe.
It based on the C-Class saloon, but with two doors instead of four and a much more swooping rear roof line. Only the wings and bonnet carry over from the saloon, with the rest of the body made sleeker and the ride height slightly lowered. The suspension has been amended for a sportier set-up, and the steering software has been adjusted for a tauter feel.
Inside, the cabin mostly mimics that of the saloon, and there’s nothing wrong with that because it’s beautifully crafted in high quality materials and styled with flair. Mercedes have really upped their game on interior décor in recent years.
There are contour-gripping sports seats in the coupe instead of the saloon’s more armchair-like design, and they are highly adjustable via seat shape mimicking controls on the doors. There’s a seven-inch satnav-infotainment screen that some criticise for looking like a bit of an afterthought, but it’s like a tablet computer sitting atop the dash, and we like it.
Sports car feel
There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines, and our test car had the latter, the emissions-friendly C220d. You might wonder how sporty it feels with the extra weight of a diesel up front, and the answer is that it’s a very pert drive, with a much sportier feel than the saloon.
It makes really satisfying company for a fast canter on a dynamic country road. There is an assured poise about the way it leeches on the bends, and the steering is precisely communicative. It’s a driver pleaser.
Like most coupes, being in the back seats isn’t as much fun. Access into the rear, past the quite substantial front seats is rather tight, and the sharp slope of the rear roofline compromises headroom. So it’s snug, not to mention mildly claustrophobic if you’re tall. The boot isn’t a bad size though, at 400 litres.
Mercedes’ range is now so large that it’s easy to overlook this classy coupe, tucked away amongst the umbrella title of the C-Class. Worth seeking out though. It’s a bit of a gem.
Mercedes C-Class Coupe: Stats Review
Model tested: C220d AMG Line Coupe
Top speed: 145 mph
0-62 mph: 7.5 secs
CO2: 109 g/km
Images: Sue Baker