2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé 220d Test Drive: Comfort Is the Spice of Life
Well-being never looked so good
I have no doubt that Mercedes-Benz’s new design language, as introduced by the S-Class some years ago and religiously adopted throughout the brand’s lineup, was blueprinted to spawn graceful coupés.
As evidence, I bring you the S-Class Coupé and the AMG GT, but also the freshest two-door accoutrement going by the name of C-Class Coupé, which makes the lead actor of the test drive in point.
Recommended for:managersyoung and single
Hats off for:ergonomicscomfort
Bang for the buck:good
Mercedes’ offer is generous regarding the number of engines available for the C-Class Coupé, yet we tested what I think will appeal the majority of the clientele: a 220d version which in plain English means you get the brand’s ever-lasting four-cylinder 2.1-liter turbodiesel with 170 hp and 400 Nm of torque on tap. A pair of satious values both on paper and in real life delivered in a controlled and linear manner rather than poking or brutal courtesy of the new nine-speed automatic transmission.
I can’t think of any adjective other than superb whenever I try to describe the gearbox’s performance, which makes gear shifts look like Casper’s relatives, whether they happen around the city or when you weigh into the gas pedal on the highway, making the 9G-TRONIC mutely downshift from 9th to 4th or even 3rd gear as it plays along with your fiery right foot.
All of the above might sound like the source of a comfortable ride, which you do get with this car, especially for longer trips. However, where it impresses with accuracy and comfort, the gearbox lacks the fun factor. Again, the C-Class Coupé diesel never wanted an effervescent personality, yet if you try to manhandle the gearbox using the shift paddles, its software will override your actions and changes gears as it thinks it should.
Better than what the C-Class sedan offers, mainly because the steering feels better weighted and the amount of feedback reaching your palms is most of the time enough to inform you on the front wheels’ whereabout on the asphalt. Still, it’s hard for the C-Class Coupé to dethrone the BMW 4 Series in terms of handling, especially when it comes to suspension behavior.
Although not quite as composed as its Bavarian counterpart, the suspension setup on the C-Class Coupé shows improvements when compared to the C-Class sedan in the sense that body roll arrives later and milder. Then you get nicely-raised grip levels, a quite confidence-boosting trait when the road replicates a snake’s silhouette.
While most bumps and thuds disintegrate before even reaching the cabin’s padding, rougher surfaces are bound to fill the cabin with unwanted noise, but I still can’t stick the ‘loudmouth’ label on the suspension, not when trips on A and B roads resemble a magic carpet ride.
Also worth mentioning: our tester didn’t have the adjustable AIRMATIC suspension, but it featured the agility selector which shuffles between four driving modes: eco, comfort, sport, sport+, changing the engine mapping and steering hardness according to your preference.
At the time of writing, the C-Class Coupé was not crash-tested in Europe, but Euro NCAP says the tests undergone by the 2014 C-Class sedan also apply to its two-door peer, including a five-star safety rating, 92% adult protection, and 84% child occupant protection.
In addition, Mercedes fitted every C-Class Coupé with adaptive front airbags, a knee airbag for the driver and side airbags for both the front passenger and the driver, plus window airbags up front and at the back. But these precautions kick in only in the event of an unfolding worst-case scenario, because the three-pointed star has a strong game when it comes to avoiding collisions.
One gets features like Attention Assist, and Collision Prevention Assist Plus as standard, but you can also upgrade the package with features like the Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control system, lane-keeping assist, Pre-Safe Plus and active parking assist. All in all, there aren’t too many cars out there that can make you feel safer than a Mercedes C-Class, be it a coupé or sedan iteration.
Comfort is rooted in this car’s DNA, no matter what your vantage point is. Front seats: majestic and light on the back, fatigue-killing pieces of equipment. Back seats: similar genes, but compromised by the sloping roof which leaves headroom on the short side for taller passengers.
Buttons and controls: ergonomically looped around you like Saturn’s rings, including the COMAND joystick and the infotainment screen sitting on top of the center console, one quick peek away from your eyes.
Sound proofing: almost flawless, substantially helped by the C-Class Coupé’s sleek lines and scalpel-like aerodynamic coefficient, a dynamic duo keeping wind noise at bay, although some idle diesel clattering does squeeze inside the cabin every now and then.
Visibility: could have been better, particularly through the rear window. Also, the A-pillars kind of get in your way on hairpins but the intrusion is short-lived.
Those accustomed to the latest Mercedes-Benz trends in cockpit design and quality will feel at home inside the new C-Class Coupé, especially if they previously stumbled upon the C-Class sedan’s interior.
Harsh plastics are on the brink of extinction, and the remaining patches of rough material are cleverly tucked away. Nevertheless, you’ll want to consider tossing the AMG Line into the mix, like our tester had received, especially if you’re a fan of wood, aluminum, and leather cocktails.
The doors are heavy but that’s to be expected for a coupé, and rear access is not ideal, but again, one must compromise when buying a two-door model, and that’s just one of the cases where form comes before function.
Boot-wise, 400 liters of cargo space can accommodate a couple of medium-sized luggage pieces. Cabin pockets are well-integrated in the decor, but not too generous, the only exception being the cubby carved inside the central armrest. Lastly, those sitting in the back will have to do with two cupholders integrated into the middle tunnel between the sculpted seats.
Nothing new here, as the C-Class Coupé receives the same COMAND infotainment system available for its four-door brother. It’s a pretty straightforward offering, with smooth graphics, clear menus and no glitches whatsoever.
Then there’s the rotary joystick which comes in handy when you need to navigate through the interface and last but not least, the navigation feature that supplements the overall crisp feeling and spawns nicely-drew maps.
For the C-Class Coupé in 220d guise fitted with the nine-speed auto gearbox, Mercedes-Benz advertises a fuel economy figure of 68.9 mpg (4.1 l/100 km) in the combined cycle, coupled with 106 g/km of CO2.
It sure looks good on paper, but the real-life value we got was more in the proximity of 43.4 mpg (6,5 l/100 km), with the side note that we didn’t even think of tickling the car’s frugality potential - that’s something one can only unlock with a light right foot and sharp traffic anticipation skills. Not at all impossible, but challenging, to say at least.
The C-Class Coupé in 220d guise is offered with a six-speed manual as standard, but you can upgrade to the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC unit for an extra payment of €2,500, an option which I highly recommend you to tick in the car configurator.
The AMG Line brings a wealth of personal touch both inside and out, with 18-inch AMG alloys, redesigned front and rear aprons, diamond grille along with perforated front brake discs.
Cabin-wise, changes include brushed steel AMG sports pedals, an AMG steering wheel with silver paddles and black floor mats with AMG lettering.
If you’re in for a sleek coupé wrapped in comfort and frugality, then the C-Class Coupé 220d could be the car you’re looking for. Two steps ahead of the BMW 4 Series as far as looks are concerned, the C-Class Coupé doesn’t match the Bavarian’s on-the-road-finesse and sharp, fun handling, but is noticeably more composed than the C-Class sedan.
Although an entry-level C-Class Coupé 220d starts at €39,560, just by adding the nine-speed transmission and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system you’ll take the price tag to €44,446. Considering the vast amount of goodies and gimmicks available on the optionals list, you’re looking at a sticker of around €60,000 for a well-equipped model carrying all sorts of bells and whistles.