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Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2011 review

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Mercedes-Benz has bolted to the front of the mid-sized prestige field, helped by the recednt arrival of the new C-Class arrived a few months ago. And their position can only improved by adding the C-Coupe. This is a sweetheart of a car: stylish, lovely to drive, lavishly equipped and with some very frugal engines on offer.

PRICE AND VARIANTS

The Coupe range arrives with one diesel and three economy-targeting ‘BlueEfficiency’ petrol engines -- all mated to an updated  seven-speed sequential automatic transmission – with a blistering V8 joining them in the C63 AMG next month.

But for now the bidding opens with the $58,900 C180’s turbocharged 115kW/250Nm 1.8-litre, which delivers a 0-100km/h time of 8.9 seconds and fuel economy of 7.3 l/100km. That fuel figure puts it over the LCT bar, but with a penalty of just $331.

The C250 petrol and C250 CDI diesel are both $69,900, and escape the LCT slug as their fuel consumption gives them a ‘home free’ card. The C250 carries a turbocharged 150kW/310Nm 1.8-litre, and gets to100km/h in 7.2 seconds with fuel consumption of 7L/100km.

The C250 CDI gets a 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre twin-turbo diesel that hits the 100km mark at a respectable 7.1 seconds, and delivers frugal economy at 5.1L/100km. It benefits from a stop-start system, and while similar technology is on petrol versions in Europe our petrol quality prevents them coming here.

Topping the petrol coupes – at least until the $154,800 C63 AMG arrives shortly with its V8 – is the $99,900 C350’s 225kW/370Nm 3.5-litre V6, which slashes the 0-100km/h time to 6.0 seconds, with fuel economy of 8.3L/100km.

DESIGN AND FITOUT

The newcomer works the coupe style well, with a short front overhang, sharply raked front and rear windscreens and a rising shoulder line towards the somewhat hefty tail. The optional panorama sunroof is shielded only by a blind, and while the glass is UV-shielding, you still notice the extra glare.

Standard equipment levels are impressive, including a Comand control system with Suna traffic warnings in the C250 and C350, and the cabin is fitted with premium materials and finishes.

It feels snug around the driver, but perhaps too snug in the rear seat where legroom is somewhat compromised. Perhaps the Merc engineers stole some of the space to donate to the boot, which is fantastic: deep, wide, easily accessible and just 50 litres less than the sedan.

DRIVING

The C250 we mainly tested feels taut and controlled on the road, and it’s easy to slip into the feeling of being part of the car. The engine sounded a little harsh on take-off, and there was some lag from low down, but once the turbo wakes up it streams along happily.

Gears can be changed with the sequential shifter on the centre console. But it’s not needed in the face of the well-designed and positioned steering wheel paddles, with their tactile lip edge that almost urges you to keep tickling them from one cog to another. Changes are swift and smooth, and prompt you to wonder why anybody would need a twin-clutch transmission when a single can work this well.

The diesel C250CDI on the other hand pulls strongly right from the start, and gives powerful response all through the rev range. The C-Coupe suspension is softer than you’ll find in the German rivals, but stops well short of wallowing. We hit some appalling rural bitumen that put extra bounce into its step, but didn’t ever cause it to step out of line.

Would we buy one? Yes, and despite the better performance of the diesel, we’d probably go for the C250 petrol with its 110kg lighter weight and touch.

Pricing guides

$18,888
Based on 108 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$11,500
Highest Price
$69,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
C63 AMG 6.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $46,500 – 58,740 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2011 C63 AMG Pricing and Specs
C350 BE 3.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $23,500 – 31,900 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2011 C350 BE Pricing and Specs
C250 CDI BE 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $18,500 – 25,740 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2011 C250 CDI BE Pricing and Specs
C63 AMG 6.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $40,900 – 52,360 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2011 C63 AMG Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$11,500

Lowest price, based on 90 car listings in the last 6 months

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