Preview: C300 4Matic Coupe a compelling option
When one thinks of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the two-door variant isn’t usually the one that first springs to mind.
THE PROS & CONS
- WHAT’S BEST: Great looks, lots of tech, reasonable price
- WHAT’S WORST: Sport+ aside, not the most exciting to drive
- MOST INTERESTING: Six-cylinder engine reserved for upcoming C 43
SAGUENAY, Que. — When one thinks of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the two-door variant isn’t usually the one that first springs to mind.
When it comes to this vehicle (and almost every one where there’s a coupe and sedan available), the sedan is king. And it makes sense too, especially in a Canadian marketplace where practicality often ranks high on the list of car shopping needs.
That said, it’s a shame the two-door model doesn’t get as much love because the C-Class Coupe, the smallest Mercedes coupe on the market that’s also available as a sedan, is a fine car.
For 2017, the C-Class Coupe is available in several variants, but for the purpose of this story, the focus will be on the C300 4MATIC version, which is now available in dealerships nationwide.
As the name would suggest, it comes one way. Several packages and stand-alone options are available as add-ons, but the car exists, in Canada at least, without much mechanical variation.
The C300 4MATIC Coupe is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (241 horsepower / 273 lb-ft. of torque), mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is standard on all models sold in Canada.
The ’17 is larger all the way around than its predecessor, yet Mercedes engineers have managed to shave 50 kg (110 lb) from its structure, which means the C300 is still pretty quick: 0-100 km/h in just 6.0 seconds.
From a design perspective, the C300 cuts a slippery, athletic profile with a low, wide-set stance. A refreshed front end features a front grille framed by large headlamps complete with LED signature lighting (that also serve as daytime running lights) and a single blade diamond grille with a large Silver Arrows badge in the centre. The “pins” that populate the grille are finished in either chrome or satin black depending on trim package.
Inside, the C 300’s cabin is loaded with amenities and finished in high-quality materials. Although some things take a bit of getting used to (such as the stalk-mounted gear selector), most of the car’s primary controls are within easy reach and are fairly intuitive to use.
The standard Artico leather seats offer 16-way adjustment up front, which makes finding the right driving position easy. Same goes for the power-operated tilting and telescoping steering column. All contact points are pleasing to interact with and have a nice quality feel.
On the road, the C300 hustles along quite briskly when the accelerator is mashed, especially when the Dynamic Select drive mode selector is toggled to Sport+, which stiffens suspension damping and delivers a sharper throttle response and more direct steering.
In Comfort and even Sport mode, the 2.0-litre turbo goes about its business rather quietly, unless the accelerator is stabbed hard. Although the 241 hp / 273 lb-ft. torque output is sufficient for everyday driving, it doesn’t provide for a feel that is especially sporty.
The optional AIRMATIC Agility System ($1,800) and Sport Suspension ($250) does liven things up a bit, however. AIRMATIC offers continuously variable suspension damping, which gives the C300 a more agile feel when Dynamic Select is shifted to Sport+. Combined with a more aggressive exhaust note and the other sharpened settings of Sport+, the C300 is at it’s most engaging in this spec.
Overall, the C300 4MATIC Coupe is handsome, well-equipped, impressively engineered and competitively priced and comfortable to drive.
It’s not the most sporting option available, but it should be noted Mercedes has that market covered with forthcoming AMG variants, the C43 and C63, both of which are heavy on performance.
In the compact luxury coupe market, however, where style, comfort and amenities are usually more important to consumers than torque, horsepower and a snarling exhaust note, the C300 4MATIC is a very compelling option.
2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC Coupe
ADD-ONS: Freight & PDI, additional taxes, licensing
TYPE: Compact luxury coupe
PROPULSION: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
ENGINE: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl.
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic
POWER/TORQUE: 241 / 273
FUEL CONSUMPTION (city / highway L/100 km): 10.4 / 8.0
BRAKES: Ventilated disc, front and rear
TIRES: P225/45R18 (front), P245/40R18 (rear)
STANDARD FEATURES: 16-way power adjustable front seats, leather seats, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, automatic climate controls, leather steering wheel, push button start and more
ACCESSIBILITY: Typical coupe- front access is fine, but the rear is tight and tricky
COMPETITION: Audi A5,BMW 428i xDrive
Sleek, handsome and athletic. The C 300 is a looker from all angles.
Typical Mercedes- cleanly designed, finely crafted and loaded with amenities.
Quite engaging in Sport+ when equipped with AIRMATIC and sport suspension, but a bit sedate otherwise.
Impressive. From a full suite of standard safety features to improved an infotainment system, AIRMATIC and Dynamic Select, the C 300 is on the cutting edge.
WHAT YOU WILL LIKE ABOUT THIS CAR:
The C300 4MATIC is an attractively styled, well-engineered and finely built car that’s comfortable to drive and loaded with standard features for a competitive price.
WHAT YOU WON’T LIKE ABOUT THIS CAR:
This is a bit niggly, I know, but the C 300 4MATIC is a bit lacking when it comes to delivering an overall dynamic driving character. It comes to life when the Dynamic Select drive mode is dialed to Sport+, but feels a bit too sedate otherwise.
RATING: 8.2 / 10
The C300 4MATIC isn’t the sportiest compact luxury coupe available, but if that’s what you’re after, Mercedes has AMG variants coming, (C43 and C63), that will scratch that performance itch. However, this car nails the aspects that matter most: style, comfort and available amenities, and they are likely to carry the most weight with consumers.
Travel and other expenses for this story were paid by the manufacturer. To reach Lee Bailie, email email@example.com and put his name in the subject line.