Cars

Published on August 8th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair

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Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Review: The Diet Grand Tourer  

Mercedes-Benz has been on quite a roll, both globally and locally. Last month they celebrated their best quarter on both fronts, which says quite a lot considering they cater to a smaller, more affluent market of buyers. Most of the cars sold are of their core ‘Limousine’ line, which include the C-, E-, and S-Class. But we thought we’d try one of their more impractical products this time – the C-Coupe.

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At first glance, the C-Coupe shares the same expressive face as the C-Class sedan and the GLC SUV albeit with the more striking ‘Diamond grille’. Styling at the rear is perhaps the C-Coupe’s best asset. The lines and silhoutte here are definitely more graceful and athletic as well – making for a sportier, almost ‘grand tourer’ image.

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Of course, the car doesn’t quite meet the standards of a proper grand tourer, but we were quite convinced that Mercedes-Benz have brought the C-Coupe about 80% of the way there. We first felt this pulling up next to the competing BMW 428i at a stop light. Sure, the 428i would get to 100km/h a whole second faster, leaving our C250 in the dust, but for RM23,000 less, the C-Coupe still felt and looked more… special.

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That about encapsulates our feelings about the C-Coupe. It’s not the fastest horse in the stable, but it has something none of the competitors have been able to provide. And you know what that is? Supercar-derived styling.

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There is a school of thought that believes beauty isn’t universal. Our opinion on what looks ‘good’, or ‘expensive’, or ‘sporty’ is informed by objects and symbols that embody these characteristics. The C-Coupe is sporty because it looks so much like the AMG GT and it’s exclusive because of its similarities with the S-Class Coupe. Packaging these unobtainable features in something as relatively affordable as the C-Coupe is perhaps the best move Mercedes-Benz has made in recent history. They have managed to make the mass-produced seem impossibly individual.

And when you consider the driving characteristics – well, more things seem to come together.

As we touched upon earlier, the C250 isn’t the quickest in its class. But with 211hp and 350Nm of torque at your disposal, you won’t be looking for more power. In fact, we’re fairly certain the C250 is a better buy than the C300 – all-out performance just doesn’t suit the character of the car or indeed the delivery of its powertrain. But if you do opt for the C200 or C300, you’re still going to get a 2-litre turbocharged motor paired to a 7-speed automatic gearbox which  drives the rear wheels.

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With a car like this, you just have to hit the highway.  A low seating position, with ample leg space and a serviceable boot, make it ideal as a couples’ weekend getaway cruiser. Like we said, almost GT-like in execution. Once you’re out on the open road, the C-Coupe’s road presence can be felt. Other drivers will move out of your way, and they will be rewarded for it with a view of that gorgeous rear end.

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We have to say though, slightly softer suspension and thicker tyres would have nudged the C-Coupe in the right direction. We can see the logic of including 19” rims and AMG Sports Suspension here. It makes the price tag easier to justify, and it helps the car keep things together when you’re really pushing it. But on Malaysian roads, potholes and poor surfacing bring the worst out of this setup.

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There’s also the COMAND interface and infotainment system. Usability is subjective – returning Mercedes owners will find the controls and interface familiar. However, the graphics are a tad outdated and framerates drop during animations. Not a deal-breaker, but far from consistent with the rest of the experience. Oddly enough, the rear seats were actually usable for short drives.

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They’re not the easiest to get in and out of, but children and shorter adults should have no problems with it.

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All-in-all, we loved the way the C-Coupe made us feel. The price tag of RM338,888 is reasonable considering the package you’re getting. Mercedes-Benz once again manage to outdo the competition in terms of material choices and interior design.

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And of course, there’s nothing quite like adjusting your seating position using door card-mounted controls or changing from reverse to drive with a flick of a steering-mounted stalk.

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Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Specifications

Engine: Turbocharged 4-cylinder

Capacity: 1991cc

Power: 211bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque: 350Nm @ 1200rpm

Transmission: 7G-TRONIC Plus

Acceleration to 100km/h:

Top Speed:

Price: RM338,888.00

 


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