Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

What is it?

The C-Class Coupé expands the C-Class family from two - saloon and estate - to three, adding more elegant, two-door coupé lines and immediately giving Mercedes a model it can pitch against BMW's phenomenally successful 3 Series Coupé. It's been a long time coming, though the extensive range encompasses everything from the fuel-sipping C 220 CDI to a tyre-shredding 6.2-litre V8 AMG version.

Is it any good?

Mercedes-Benz is currently enjoying something of a renaissance with every new car it launches driving better than ever. That's true of the C-Class Coupé too, which manages to ride impeccably, handle tidily and steer with real precision. It's an accomplished cruiser, yet it's not so devoid of interaction behind the wheel as to discount it as a drivers' car.

If there's a weak link in the otherwise impressive driving experience it's the line-up of engines. Tested in 250 CDI guise - an engine that, while a bit vocal, has impressed in other Mercedes-Benz models - the thrills you might expect thanks to its mighty torque never really materialise. On paper it impresses, with a 0-62mph time of just 7.0 seconds and potential top speed of 149mph, but given that its peak torque arrives at just 1,500rpm it seems to need revving hard to produce its best.

Certainly there's none of the easy, swelling force that defines BMW's latest turbodiesel engines, so instead the C 250 CDI Coupé requires lots of finger prodding at the paddle-shifters to find the most suitable of the seven gears to make good progress. That's perhaps as much a fault of the ability of the chassis, its impressive poise highlighting the engine's shortcomings in producing instant pace to exploit the car's surprising agility. Winding roads aside, the C 250 CDI Coupé does excel at easy cruising, its unruffled progress at motorway speeds certain to make it a hit among business buyers who cover large mileages.

Should I call the bank manager?

You might need to, as it's not cheap. The C 250 CDI Coupé is £33,635 with a six-speed manual gearbox, or £35,120 with a seven-speed automatic. We'd opt for the manual, not least as it delivers greater efficiency thanks to the inclusion of a stop-start system. That's only £1,000 or so more than the lower output C 220 CDI model, making the C 250 CDI the obvious choice if you're after a C-Class Coupé that fills up at the black pump.

All UK cars come with AMG styling, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, a DAB radio and a plethora of driver and safety aids.

Summary

Less practical but prettier than its saloon relative, the C-Class Coupé finally gives Mercedes a model with which to fight the BMW 3 Series Coupé. It's not got quite the breadth of models on offer as the BMW, and it's not cheap, but it drives well, feels nicely built and comes decently specified as standard. A good addition to the range then, even if it took a bit of time getting here.

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