Its a commonly held perception that the Chicxulub meteor that wiped out the Dinosaurs 66 million years ago did so instantaneously. However, scientific evidence reveals that the age of the dinosaur was slowly coming to an end way before the meteor exploded, due to climate and geological changes. Dinosaurs lived for 1 million years after the so-called Chicxulub extinction event. I can not help but wonder if the internal combustion engine is facing an extinction event of its own. The “Chicxulub meteor” for the slow demise of the ICE engine was caused by VW, and Tesla is the “Homosapien” species replacement.
The age of the petrol engine is not yet over, however with the Mercedes C200 Coupe I so wish it was. Prices for the C CLass Coupe start from £36,000 and can rise up to £76,000 for top-spec model trims. 2018 ushered in a raft of updates to the engine and interior equipment such as 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, a digital cockpit, standard-fit LED headlights, a larger 10.25 media display, a multifunction steering wheel, ambient lighting. On the mechanical side, the upgrades include adaptive damping and dynamic air-suspension and efficiency improvements to all powertrains. The C Class Coupe is available in rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive, a 9-speed auto is standard. Oddly you can get a six-speed manual but only with the C180 and only if you are desperate.
The model designation is fairly simple because there is only one model trim, AMG Line. This gets you “AMG-light” exterior body styling and 18-inch alloy wheels and that spindly looking front grille. Engine choices revolve around two petrol engines, the C180 and C200 and two diesel engines, the C220d and C300d. The top of the range AMG C 63 S Coupe is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and returns 503bhp to the few willing to fork out £76k.
On the outside the bog-standard C Class C200 Coupe AMG Line is a classy looking car, it says success… or corporate fraud. However you fund your lifestyle you can be sure the Coupe’s interior is just as classy. Yet for some time I have been somewhat wary of Mercedes build quality. Nice looking interiors, but do not feel as good as they look and on some occasions loose-fitting trim is standard. Indeed the Coupe’s interior is a copy-paste of the C Class Saloon. The exception is that the Coupe gets real man-made leather for the upper dash surface. But for once the nice looking interior does feel robust. The rear seats look comfortable but are not adult friendly and the boot measures 360 litres, as a comparison that’s less than a Volkswagen Golf.
The full leather driver and passenger seats are uniquely designed for the Coupe and are very comfortable. Compared to the C Class saloon you sit slightly lower in the Coupe. But this is no sports car, the comfortable seats give an indication that this car is built for cruising. Overall the materials, fit and finish is worthy of a premium luxury car brand, which hasn’t been the case for Mercedes in years gone by. Indeed Mercedes has lived off its luxury reputation often delivering products that didn’t feel as premium luxury as the marketing people led you to believe. That doesn’t seem to be the case in 2019.
This particular car has a number of upgrades, the optional Premium Package adds a reversing camera, heated front seats, upgraded sound system, Multibeam LED headlights, ambient lighting, wireless charging, and parking assist. But the best part of the upgrade is Mercedes’s latest 12.3-inch driver binnacle which compliments the new – standard – 10.25-inch infotainment system. The total package costs close to £3k.
Both digital display systems bring Mercedes right up to date with rivals, the user experience is moderately easy and intuitive to use. The multifunction steering wheel allows you to control both devices without having to take your hands off the wheel. And I do not like how the trackpad arcs over the rotary dial. The trackpad feels like PSI inducing over-kill. It’s much better to have one or the other. On the plus side, the trackpad has haptic feedback which gives the sensation you are pressing a physical button. The new voice assist works pretty well for a manufacture OEM voice recognition software. It’s not as quick or as accurate as Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google’s voice command but it’s not far off.
On the road, ride quality is enhanced by the optional £900 air-suspension. Mercedes does air-suspension better than any other brand – except Rolls Royce – The C Class Coupe just glides along pot-hole Britain’s worst and best roads. Overall the C Class is an elegant cruiser that isolates you from the outside world because very little noise escapes into the cabin. There isn’t that much feel through the steering wheel when tackling demanding roads, however, body-roll is suitably contained. Although the front end tends to pitch and lean if you want to enliven the driving experience through a twisty B-Road adrenaline rush.
So the C Class Coupe isn’t a driver’s car, it isn’t much of a driver’s car with standard suspension but I am fine with that. But what I dislike intensely is the pathetically powered 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. Yes it’s got a mild-hybrid system that is designed to reduce C02 emissions and yes it does boost power by 14bhp. But it still feels underpowered, 184bhp does seem like a lot, but 280Nm of torque doesn’t do enough to shift the weight as quickly as it ought to do.
As with all small-capacity, turbocharged petrol engines, the power is accessed at the top end of the rev range. Sure the 9-speed auto does it’s smooth and effortless best to make progress swift, but it does not feel swift enough if you want to press on. The C200 Coupe flounders from a standing start and complains bitterly when you want more power on demand, say for overtaking. The combined economy is OK, 34.7mpg OK.
The 1.5-litre engine in the C200 Coupe is merely there to make up the numbers, it’s a way for Mercedes to offset corporate C02 emissions, it’s the equivalent of planting a tree. I would much prefer a larger engine or full-fat hybrid than, or a fully electric powertrain than the engine used in the C200 Coupe. Sure the mild-hybrid technology is very interesting but the C200 Coupe is a Mercedes in name only. As long as diesels remain in the market I would certainly advise going for the C220d Coupe or C300d Coupe because you have better lower and mid-range torque and better economy. And if you do go for a diesel C Class Coupe, don’t forget to plant a tree.