In the eye of the beholder. Beauty can be a fickle, fleeting and quite subjective matter, but occasionally it can also be universal. This most certainly applies to the Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupé I tested recently because everyone – every single observer I talked to – noted how pretty it looked.
And to think the odds were stacked against the new two-door C-Class, at least from my perspective. Early spy shots left me cold, the global reveal didn’t make me much warmer and the rear number plate is in the wrong position. To top it off, I’m quite the fan of its elegant predecessors and main competitors.
Comes from within. Happily, my first meeting with this pearly white “Edition 1” destroyed most of those feelings. This coupé has graceful proportions and its own style while leaning slightly on the bigger S-Class coupé looks. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; or the rear number plate, for that matter.
Kudos to Mercedes because one can also recognie this as a member of the C-Class family. I guess that’s what an over-arching design philosophy gives you. The C-Class vibe is at its strongest inside this two-door vehicle where the dashboard, instruments and controls are familiar fare from the four-door.
Is skin-deep. The C-Class’ swooping dashboard, finely detailed dials and softly flowing central tunnel look even better in this elegant cruiser, with brown leather and contrast stitching setting this “Edition 1” model apart. Modern media, communication, vehicle data, climate settings and more are cleverly stacked in the Comand system.
By day two of my test I had already adapted to the coupé lifestyle – long front doors and missing rear ones, big seats up front and smaller quarters at the rear. You also get hard-to-reach seatbelts, a lower roof-line and the wonderful sensation that – if your household has just two members – nothing is overly wasteful.
Can be a curse. It’s part of my intrinsic love for two-door cars, swapping practicality for selfish indulgence. Of course the C-Class coupé is not completely useless as there’s a decent boot (400 L) and sufficient space at the back for two people of the smaller variety. You could even fit it with a tow bar or roof rack, if you really want to.
I wouldn’t want to. What you really should do with this car is grab your significant other, pack a small bag, get a map and place a random pin. Provided it has tarred access and is within 700 km of your base, you will get there in one uninterrupted, tremendously comfortable and extremely elegant journey.
Lies in the details. The Airmatic air suspension (R16 000 option on some models) provides a smooth, stable but slightly detached road feel; almost like the adaptive system in the big S-Class coupés. This shows how Mercedes-Benz allows the pioneering systems in their flagship cars to eventually trickle down the range.
A C300 sends up to 180 kW or 370 Nm from its growling 2-litre turbo-petrol four cylinder to the rear wheels; via its smooth 7G-Tronic Plus automatic gearbox. That means sufficient power reserves at most speeds and average fuel use of 6.8 L/100 km if you behave yourself. We didn’t always behave and got around 10.
And the beast. Give it horns and 100 km/h should arrive in six seconds; we got 6.54 and 400 m in 14.59 seconds. To cast an even wider net, the C-Class coupé is also available as a smaller turbo-petrol or turbo-diesel, as well as three AMG derivatives. This C300 costs R660 300 (R711 500 for Edition 1) and represents the sensible middle ground.
Considering its power, technology and decent versatility, it’s actually not bad value. But more than that, the reason for buying one of these is something else. Admiring it in your garage. Watching its reflection in shop windows. Turning around for another glance after you’ve parked it. In other words, sheer beauty. - Galimoto Media
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