A gorgeous new coupe from Mercedes-Benz. Looks great, drives great.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Click on any picture to see a larger version.
The first thing you’ll notice is the vast improvement over the last generation C-class coupe’s Honda Accord-like styling.
While I wouldn’t call the new shape breathtaking, it is stunning and was universally appreciated during my week with it. When I say universally appreciated, I mean I can not remember the last time I drove a car that got this many looks. It’s low and sleek, it’s muscular, and the cool diamond grille is flanked by a set of wickedly bright LED head lights, not to mention those now-familiar angry-eyebrow LED driving lights. The rear end wasn’t forgotten and gets a handsome wrap-around LED tail light signature and beautifully integrated tailpipes.
My review car’s Sport package adds some AMG bodywork and some sweet 18-inch rims.
The stunning interior is something to behold. The materials are lovely – basically everything is soft-touch plastic, the dash is wrapped in stitched Artico leather and the console is clad in a classy black ash trim. Mercedes’ flat-bottomed steering wheel felt absolutely fantastic in my hands – it’s one of my favourites!
The heated front seats are power adjustable with three memory settings on each side – we found them to be exceedingly comfortable, including on our lengthier times on the highway – and they are certainly supportive enough to be considered sporty too. I appreciated the automatic seat belt “feeder” – it hands you the seat belt and then retracts, negating the need to reach far back to grab your belt. My kids loved the “seat belt robot” too.
I find the interior styling very intriguing, particularly how the centre stack cascades from the dash into the console. Floating above it is a crisp, beautiful 7-inch screen controlled by Mercedes’ COMAND interface. This includes a rotary joystick knob as well as a touchpad. It’s not as intuitive as some of the basic touchscreens but it is easy to figure out and made sense to me. You’ll manage all the major functions here, including your phone, the incredible Burmester sound system, navigation and plenty of vehicle settings. I also like how Mercedes has completely minimized the use of hard buttons on the console – there are enough to get everything done, and nothing more than that.
There is of course a dual-zone automatic climate control system, and you’ll find a large panoramic sunroof overhead. Because of the roof’s shape, the glass panel will pop up and out before it slides back – obviously that never looks great from the outside.
My review vehicle had some very solid driver assistance technology – adaptive brake, attention assist, collision prevention assist, crosswind assist, active park assist with front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and of course a backup camera.
We really enjoyed the dressy little analog clock and the LED ambient lighting, both of which added a modern, luxurious touch to our surroundings.
The coupe’s twin rear seats are divided by a console and frankly, they are not comfortable for adults. There is not enough head room for me (at 5’10”, I had to sit with my head angled) and there wasn’t enough leg room either when seated behind my own driving position. I found it quite claustrophobic as well.
There are two sets of ISOFIX child seat anchors and although we no longer use these, two of our kids were very happy with the room back there. Rear passengers get some cupholders, a 12V plug, the all-important ashtray and adjustable air vents.
I liked that Mercedes allows me to remove the cupholder “organizer” in the console to leave me with a big, rubberized storage bin. That’s useful flexibility. Mercedes carpets the space under the armrest’s clamshell lid, and you’ll find a couple of USB plugs there as well.
The C300 has a power trunk lid that opens to expose a smallish 400 litre trunk. The rear seats split 40/20/40 for some flexibility, and that allows you to continue using the seats while transporting longer, skinnier items.
Under the Hood
The all-wheel drive coupe is motivated by a turbocharged 2 litre 4-cylinder that cranks out 241 HP and a very impressive 273 lb.ft of torque at only 1300 RPM! The power makes its way through a 7-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes rates the C300 at 10.4 L/100 km (23 US mpg) in the city and 8 L/100 km (29 US mpg) on the highway. We did a lot of driving in the coupe, and ended up putting 1000 km of highway travel and a full week of city driving on it. We averaged 8.3 L/100 km (28 US mpg) which I found very impressive.
It’s no barn-burner, but the 3594 lb (1630 kg) coupe scoots from 0-60mph (0-100 km/h) in 6.0 seconds which is very respectable and does not feel slow. The power delivery is creamy smooth and completely linear, so you won’t ever get slammed back into your seat. Pick up one of the hairy-chested AMG C63 coupes (with 469 or 503 horsepower!) if that’s your thing. With all that said, the C300 has plenty of power around town and on the highway. For a turbo 4, I thought the engine sounded pretty good but you won’t hear it very often unless you’re putting the go-pedal down.
DYNAMIC SELECT allows you to choose between four driving modes – ECO, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ – which alter the throttle response, shifting points, steering effort and the firmness of the suspension. Actually it’s five modes, because there’s also the customizable Individual mode. They are very transformative modes, which go from a super comfortable, cushy coupe in Comfort mode to a significantly stiffened and more responsive coupe in Sport and particularly in Sport+ mode.
The transmission is mostly very good. It’s smooth, but I found that on rare occasions, it got confused when I stepped on it. It almost felt as if I had surprised the transmission with my aggressive call for power, and it took a second, then banged down a few gears and got a move on. I also found occasional lurchiness, particularly at lower speeds, but this was quite rare. If you’re into having more control, you get paddle shifters and the manual shifts are reasonably quick.
The car’s handling is outstanding. It’s happy to be thrown into curves and is very balanced. The ride is outstanding as is expected in a mid- to upper-range Mercedes.
I didn’t really get a chance to put the all-wheel drive through its paces – the roads were dry and the system remained, to its credit, transparent to me. The C300 engine has a start-stop system and I felt that it could definitely be smoother. You would feel it start up every time when you’d take your foot of the brake. Speaking of brakes, the C300’s are quite powerful. Visibility out of the car is quite good for a coupe, even out of the back.
I found the powertrain was nicely suited to the “entry-level” C-class coupe. There’s enough power to do anything, and everything is done smoothly. The shape is athletic and seductively-styled, the interior is modern and luxurious. This is the new Mercedes and I love it!
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was out of this world. She loved this car, and she doesn’t even like coupes. Other than the fact that she would prefer to have two more doors, she said she wouldn’t change a thing about it.
The C300 is an absolutely delightful car to look at and to drive, and to be seen in.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Mercedes-Benz Canada.
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Pricing: 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe
Base price (4MATIC Coupe trim): $48,100
Options: $890 brilliant blue metallic paint; $250 dark ash wood trim; $3,400 Premium package; $3,000 Premium Plus package; $2,000 Sport package; $1,800 AIRMATIC agility system; $1,000 Burmester sound system
Price as tested, not including freight: $60,440