First Drive: Mercedes-Benz
The C-Class Coupé is a hugely important model for Mercedes-Benz, helping it compete with Audi’s A5 and BMW’s 3 Series Coupé for younger drivers.
The brand wants to get its driver age profile down from 55 to between 35 and 45 and is having to tackle the opinion that, according to its marketing department, “a Mercedes-Benz is something you treat yourself to later on in your career”.
The C-Class Coupé’s styling succeeds in taking the brand in a more youthful direction.
The new model is 41mm lower than the saloon and all models in the UK come with a muscular AMG Sports package as standard which adds 18-inch alloys, AMG body kit, intelligent light systems with LED daytime running lights and an Audio 20 sounds system with satellite navigation, DAB radio and six CD auto-changer.
The Coupé is positioned £1,600 over the equivalent specified saloon.
Interior quality is high with finely-detailed controls and fittings. Customers with a smart phone 3G connection can use Mercedes-Benz’s new Comand Online system to surf the internet while stationary.
There is a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines and all are equipped with stop/start as standard. The C180 petrol was extremely capable despite being the entry level 1.8-litre petrol engine, while automatic versions of the C-Class Coupé feature a rapid-shifting 7G-Tronic Plus transmission which makes driving the C-Class Coupé at speed effortless.
Agility Control suspension is fitted as standard too and it helps the Coupé corner neatly, with minimal body roll. The steering is speed sensitive as well, so it’s firm and connected at higher speeds and lighter when it needs to be.
The diesel engines are competitive on cost and efficiency with rival cars from Audi and BMW and, perhaps more importantly, the automatic versions are very close to the manual when it comes to CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
The used vehicle market much prefers large Mercedes-Benz models with automatic transmissions than manuals, so this also bodes well for resale values at defleeting time and contract hire rates as well as day-to-day running costs and personal tax liability.
Mercedes-Benz seems to have struck the right chord with fleet users in its latest products and the C-Class Coupé is no different. User-choosers will welcome its refine ent, ability and more exclusive appeal over some rivals, while fleet operators will also be glad of its modest running costs.