DRIVEN: MERCEDES C250 CDI COUPE
A manual Merc, in this day and age? These things do still exist, as our man Garlick has been finding out
The C-Class has changed a lot over the years. The exterior has certainly grown up, but where in the line up does this car sit? It's not a CLK replacement, that hole being filled by the E-Class coupe, and it's far bigger and nicer than the stunted and frankly awful CLC. Which leaves it aiming squarely at the 3 Series coupe. A tough gig.
The C certainly looks like a proper Merc these days and the Coupe is undeniably handsome, even if there's a bit too much metal between the top of the rear arches and the windowline.
Our test car was the AMG Sport version, as all UK C Coupes are, including a 15mm ride height drop and stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars over the default settings. A £575 Dynamic Handling Package with adjustable dampers is a further possible upgrade, but even as standard is enough to have you seeking out the more interesting route home. While perhaps not quite as sharp as its obvious Bavarian rival, it's way better than any C-Class has been for a long, long time. The 204hp 2.2-litre diesel suits the car, too, and the obligatory mid-range shove is more than enough to sway even the most hardened diesel sceptic.
That would push our test car's already sturdy £40,630 asking price further into 335d territory though, at which point the Merc's charms are going to have to work that bit harder to convince.
MERCEDES C250 CDI COUPE
Engine: 2,143cc 4-cyl twin-turbo
Power (hp): 204@4,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 368@1,600rpm
0-62mph: 7.0 sec (auto 7.1 sec)
Top speed: 149mph
MPG: 52.3mpg (auto 53.3mpg, both NEDC combined)
CO2: 143g/km (auto 139g/km)
Price: £33,635 (£40,630 as tested)