2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Coupe
Mercedes-Benz has only offered a coupe version of the C-Class since 2011, and for 2017 the two door is all new and better in just about every way. But as sexy as this new model is with its aggressive-looking new grille, sleek silhouette, beautiful interior and — as one of the car’s designers pointed out during our press drive — “a nice ass,” does it make sense to buy the coupe instead of the sedan? To more pragmatic shoppers, buying a coupe just doesn’t make sense; however, this car was not designed nor built for pragmatic shoppers. The C-Class sedan offers similar performance, costs less and offers more utility with the two additional doors, but the coupe appeals to a buyer’s emotions — and emotions almost always beat logic when it comes to car buying.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is available in two trims: C300 and the all-wheel-drive C300 4Matic. The C300 is well equipped right out of the box with standard features including power front seats with lumbar support, a 7-inch color display, keyless start, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a panoramic sunroof. Also standard is a unique seat belt extender. With the seat belt behind the front seat, it automatically extends from the B-Pillar, conveniently “handing” it to the driver or front passenger. The C-Class Coupe also features a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights and 18-inch wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSport Package
Add the Sport Package for $1,675 and you get AMG bodywork, upgraded wheels with high-performance tires, front brakes with perforated discs and the diamond grille in chrome. Inside is a flat-bottom steering wheel, aluminum pedals with rubber studs (so your wet shoes won’t slip off) and upgraded interior materials.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSafety
All C-Class Coupes come standard with Collision Prevention Assist Plus. CPA+ provides a visual and audible warning if the distance to the vehicle in front is closing too rapidly. If the driver applies emergency braking, the system will automatically increase brake pressure even if the driver does not. If the driver takes no action, the brakes will be applied automatically to lessen the impact.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceIntelligent Drive
Other optional systems that are part of what Mercedes calls Intelligent Drive include PRESAFE Plus, which detects slower-moving or stopped cars — or pedestrians — and brakes autonomously to prevent crashes at speeds up to 31 mph. PRESAFE can also detect imminent rear impacts, activating the rear hazard lights at an increasing frequency to get the attention of the following driver.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdditional Options
Even though the C-Class comes with a plethora of standard features, there’s still plenty of room for upgrades. Additional features include a rearview camera, a Burmester high-end audio system, a larger 8.4-inch high-res display, dynamic LED headlights and adaptive high-beam assist. Seats can also be heated and ventilated, and the available head-up display is a nice addition. Unfortunately, during our press drive we discovered that the head-up display practically disappears if drivers wear polarized sunglasses.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAutonomous Driving — Almost
The C-Class Coupe can also be equipped with DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with steering assist. With this system activated, the car can follow a set distance behind the car in front from speeds of zero to 124 mph. The car will also stay in its lane without any input from the driver, adjusting steering as necessary. However, the system is not fully autonomous yet — after 15 seconds drivers get a warning to put their hands back on the steering wheel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAir Suspension
The C-Class Coupe is also available with AIRMATIC air suspension that includes continuously variable damping control. The suspension can also be adjusted with the drive-mode selection, ranging from Comfort to the stiffer Sport setting. We did notice a considerable difference in ride on rough roads with different settings — the Comfort setting absorbs most of the bumps, while Sport seems to keep the car better planted on the road, even in high-speed turns on rough pavement.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceComing Soon
The C300 is currently the only C-Class Coupe available; however, other variants are on the way. Two different AMG versions will be on sale by the end of the year: the 362-horsepower AMG C45 and the extreme C63 that tops out at 503 horsepower. The convertible C-Class is also expected to arrive by fall 2016.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powers the C300, putting out 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. This same engine also powers the C300 sedan. The only transmission available is a 7-speed automatic equipped with paddle shifters. Acceleration is more than adequate — the C-Class Coupe can reach 60 mph in under 6 seconds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel-Efficient
Fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg in the city / 30 mpg on the highway. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive C300 weighs about 130 pounds more than the rear-wheel drive-version, and drops just 1 mpg on the highway. We saw a reported 26 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving, so the numbers do seem to be in line with real-world performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
While the exterior design of the C-Class Coupe is a great improvement over the previous generation, the interior updates are even better. The gearshift has been moved to the stalk on the steering column, freeing up space for a much cleaner design. The waterfall center console (Mercedes’ moniker) gives the car an upscale feel, especially when covered in the available natural-grain wood trim.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceControls
Controls on the dashboard are straightforward and simple for climate settings, and the driver can use button shortcuts to screens for navigation, phone, radio and car settings. However, the main interface is a center-mounted touchpad on top of the command controller. From what we could discern, there is considerable duplication in these controls and it becomes confusing when trying to make changes to navigation or other screens. We assume that after some time owners will figure out the functionality — at least for the actions they use repeatedly.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceComfortable Seats
Standard seats are covered in MB-Tex. We had a chance to sit in both these and the leather-trimmed seats and found that while the leather is a bit softer, there wasn’t much difference in the feel or appearance. Both were comfortable and supportive, even after spending most of the day in them.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
Rear-seat passengers actually have more legroom than we would have expected, although since the coupe is the same length as the sedan it does make sense. Front seats slide forward when the seatback is folded to allow easier access to the rear; however, it is still a bit of an exercise to get in and out of the rear seat.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrunk Space
This coupe has plenty of trunk space, and since the C-Class uses run-flat tires there’s extra storage space where the spare tire would have been. There is no button or release at the rear of the car; you simply wave your foot under the bumper to open the trunk — assuming you have the key in your pocket.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Although the C-Class Coupe may have the look of a sports car, it really is more of a grand tourer. Weighing in at more than 3,600 pounds — actually a bit more than the sedan — this isn’t a big surprise. That said, the C-Class provides a very smooth and solid ride — comfortable even when the road is quite rough, especially when equipped with the AIRMATIC suspension. The C-Class Coupe handles well and steering is precise, despite its heft.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePerformance
Acceleration is adequate but not terribly strong — but keep in mind that this is the base model of the C-Class Coupe. More powerful AMG versions are on their way for those who need/want more performance. We would have preferred the faster-shifting dual-clutch gearbox from the CLA. The 7-speed automatic seems to pause before downshifting during hard acceleration, and the reaction time is also a bit slow when actuating gear changes with the paddle shifters.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience4MATIC
We drove both the rear-wheel drive and 4MATIC versions of the C-Class Coupe and could not discern much difference on dry pavement. Mercedes expects about 40 percent of sales to be all-wheel drive, based mainly on geography.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
The C-Class Coupe is not a family car and doesn’t pretend to be — this is a stylish sports coupe designed for someone who is single or married with no kids. The sleek lines and bold grille will certainly stand out from the crowd — and for those concerned about appearances, the C-Class Coupe does not look or feel like an entry-level Mercedes. And with a comfortable ride, reasonable performance, available all-wheel drive, useful back seat and large trunk, the C-Class Coupe could easily be a very satisfying daily driver.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Bottom Line: An attractive and comfortable option for those in the market for a luxury sports coupe.
Pros: Attractive styling inside and out; solid ride; advanced safety features.
Cons: Transmission slow to downshift; confusing media interface; price climbs quickly with options.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

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