One of signature features is a sloping, teardrop shape to the rear, and while it can look truncated or odd on some models, it helps imbue the all-new Mercedes C300 coupe with a svelte form that hearkens back to the aero cars of the 1920s and ‘30s. The frontal aspect is boldly masculine, and the interior—like the sedan counterpart—appears richly appointed and upscale in color usage and material quality.
While not all materials are as solid feeling as one might hope, the C300’s cockpit is indeed a pleasing place to while away rush hour, and the latest version of Mercedes COMAND infotainment is lovely to look at, fast responding and rich in features—if lacking in intuitiveness at first. The back seats are useable for short jaunts, increasing flexibility, as does the decent sized trunk and pass-through into the interior.
This latest C-class, in two or four door form, has continued its march towards dynamic parity with competing BMWs; unfortunately, others have moved the bar, including Cadillac, Jaguar and Lexus. The Mercedes steering is light and accurate, body control and handling decent, but this comes at the expense of ride quality. The C300’s optional 19-inch wheels do indeed have a commensurately low profile tire, but others absorb our awful roads’ blight better. There’s also an apparent lack of solidity when big impacts go through the structure, though this may be more an acoustic trait than actual strength one.
The 2-liter, turbocharged engine and its 9-speed transmission partner are rather compelling; while 241hp and 273lb-ft are class average, the Mercedes mill has a free-revving willingness and low-lag nature that make the C300 feel fast on its feet. Those needing more can step up to V6 or V8 twin-turbocharged AMG versions; even this entry-level model is more than quick enough for most all situations.
There is undeniable panache and exclusivity to the 3-pointed star brand, even though Mercedes’ drive downmarket has made it the bigger selling luxury brand than BMW and Lexus. That so much is so right with the C300—and that its strengths are highlighted especially well in sleeker coupe form, means that this star will continue to shine brightly.
EPA ratings: 23/29mpg; 25mpg combined
0-60mph: 5.9 seconds
Price as tested: $57,975
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