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2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe: Think touring, not sport

By Jil McIntosh

Aug. 12, 2016

Four doors good, two doors better. Well, maybe not if you’re the one riding in the back, but for those up front, coupes are a great-looking way to get where you’re going.

Mercedes-Benz now updates its C-Class Coupe with an all-new model that’s larger but lighter than the previous deux-door it replaces. AMG models will follow, but for now, your choice is the C300 4Matic, powered by a turbocharged four-litre engine.

It starts at $48,100, but someone had checked a few boxes when ordering my test vehicle. I had separate Premium, Premium Plus and Sport Packages, which added up to $8,400, along with larger wheels, open-pore wood trim, air suspension and a premium Burmester stereo system, bringing my car to $61,440 before freight and taxes.

Pros & Cons

  • + Efficient performance
  • + Interior ambiance
  • + Quiet, effortless cruising
  • - Small side mirrors
  • - No cutting-edge technology
  • - Price of options
Read the full review
  • Walkaround

    The coupe naturally follows its sedan sibling’s overall design, but with a sleeker roofline and only one horizontal bar in its grille.

    The standard package includes 18-inch wheels, while my car had 19-inch AMG multi-spoke rims for an additional $1,000. The base car also gets halogen headlights, but my Premium Package, at $3,400, swapped them out for LED headlamps which, surprisingly, are static instead of swivelling. The package also added a rearview camera and a navigation system.

    Meanwhile, my car’s power trunk lid came courtesy of an additional $3,000 Premium Plus Package, which also added active parking assist, proximity key and illuminated door sills (plus satellite radio and interior ambient lighting). The trunk opens off the key fob or interior switch, but there’s no exterior release.

    Finally, courtesy of my $2,000 Sport Package, my car received upgraded perforated front rotors with four-piston calipers, and such AMG styling cues as the diamond-patterned grille.

    8.0Very good
  • Interior

    That Sport Package continued inside, where it deposited a flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather-coated dash, and AMG floor mats (although, just as I feel about BMW’s M styling packages, a Benz should only have AMG emblazoned on it if it also has something AMG-tuned under the hood to back up the logos).

    The cabin is a lovely place to be, with a sweeping dash and equally swoopy console, deliciously supportive seats, and that aforementioned flat-bottomed wheel that makes it a little easier to duck under when you’re falling into this low-slung machine. Little electric motors slide the seatbelts forward so you don’t have to twist your arm backwards to reach them.

    Pull the lever on a front seat and it glides forward electrically to provide access to the rear seat. “Access” is a relative term, however, and it will require some flexibility to get back there, as well as abbreviated lower limbs if you’re going to be truly comfortable. But then again, who buys a coupe to haul the whole gang?

    The C-Class Coupe carries a number of interior styling bits that used to be found only on the brand’s pricier offerings, such as the line of metallic toggles for the climate control. But my car had a few missing options, and there were blank buttons on the console and driver’s-side dash where they would have been located otherwise. I hate to keep harping on GM’s pickup trucks as my go-to example, but if you miss an option on one of those, you get a different bezel with no empty spaces. On a truck. That would be a nice touch on my $61,000 premium showpiece.

    8.5Very good
  • Tech

    The C-Class Coupe uses Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND system, which uses console-mounted controls rather than a touchscreen. There’s a bit of a learning curve for newbies, but once you figure it out, it’s simple to get where you want to go.

    A touchpad is draped halfway over the joystick too, and you can use it to click between the screens, as well as to trace letters or numbers to pull up entries among your contacts or on the navigation screen.

    You can still pop a CD into the incredible-sounding Burmester stereo system, as well as sync your phone or iPod, but niceties such as Android Auto or Apple CarPlay have not yet wormed their way into the system.

    I like the hidden backup camera lens, which flips out of the trunk logo so it stays clean. But here’s the real news. I’ve long complained that one must have the stereo on before the rearview camera will work. This time, with the screen dark, I put the car into Reverse. And finally—_finally!_—the picture out the back came up, overriding the infotainment system’s “off” button, as it always should have done. It’s the little things that count.

  • Driving

    The coupe shares the C300 sedan’s powertrain, containing a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, spinning out 241 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, hooked to a seven-speed automatic transmission and with all-wheel drive.

    I’ll get this out of the way now: it may be a sporty-looking coupe, but this is a luxury model, not a sports car. It’s solid (but feels nice and light), the ride is smooth, and the handling is predictable. That’s a compliment, and I really like how this car drives, but you’ll have to move up the Mercedes-Benz ladder—or wait for the AMG version—if you want to get your blood pumping, even if you punch up the car’s Sport or Sport Plus driving modes.

    My car had an optional air suspension system, for $1,800, which helps even out the ride and which can be raised or lowered if desired. This is a touring car in the classic sense of the word, offering good looks with a quiet and composed driving experience.

    The engine comes with start/stop technology, which can be turned off if desired. The official published figures are 10.4 L/100 km in the city and 8.0 on the highway, while I averaged a very respectable 8.6 L/100 in combined driving.

    8.0Very good
  • Value

    At a starting price of $48,100, the two-door C-Class rings in at $4,300 more than its four-door sibling, although for that you get larger wheels, a sunroof, a 16-way power passenger seat and an extra airbag as standard equipment on the coupe.

    Its base sticker puts it in the middle of much of its competition, ringing in higher than Audi’s A5 coupe, but below the BMW 4 Series and Lexus’ RC. But as often happens with premium cars, you have to pay more to add items that are thrown in on many lower-priced vehicles, such as my tester’s additional satellite radio, rearview camera, and navigation system.

    It also would have cost more to add some higher-tech safety features that weren’t on my machine, such as active blind spot assist, collision warning, lane-keeping and emergency braking. At more than $60,000, my car felt nice, but not sixty-grand nice.

  • Conclusion

    Still, if you liked the old C-Class Coupe, you’re going to really like this all-new one. It’s roomier, it feels lighter, and it’s a looker. I’m looking forward to the AMG version, because I’ve traditionally found the C-Class to be the best of all the AMG models, perfectly balanced and with precisely the right amount of power for its size. But if you want to look good in something that coddles you in comfort, give this coupe a spin.

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