The Cold War that tore Germany apart for four decades, pitting East against West and one ideology against another, is today but a fading memory. However, there is another unrelenting Teutonic battle that continues to polarise opinion to this day. In contrast, this epic struggle is an all-southern affair between two global giants who share more or less the same philosophy. The Cold War may have thawed out long ago but the Car War rages on unabated in Germany. It’s Mercedes vs BMW , and it’s just heated up a notch with the release of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé.
The Mercedes C-Class Coupé has always been amongst the cream of the crop in its segment. It is inconceivable to think that this latest incarnation will allow its trademark high standards of comfort, drivability, reliability and just about anything else our reviews can cover, to slump even the merest smidgen. However, Mercedes have never quite had things their own way and competition has always been fierce, chiefly from the old rivals over the way at BMW whose current 4 Series arguably possesses more seductive looks and a clearer identity thanks to some canny re-branding. At this level, it’s a game of fine margins; one where every last detail is critical.
Basing our expectations on those lofty standards, how does the new C-Class Coupé measure up?
First impressions on viewing the official images reveal a general freshen up in the style department. The new Coupé is larger, and considerably so at that. The overall length of the car is up by 95mm compared to the outgoing model, most of which can be accounted for by the stretched bonnet, and also gains 40mm width wise. The Mercedes diamond grille loses one pair of chrome wings, as do the twin side air intakes, bringing the C-Class Coupé in line with Mercedes’ cross-range styling refresh. In fact, the entire car receives somewhat of a CLA makeover, perhaps with an eye on the BMW 4 Series and ultimately a younger buyer demographic. Comparing old with new, it’s hard to shake off the impression that the existing C-Class, even the sportier coupé variant, has something of the sedate, even staid look about it so. Essentially it all comes down to personal preferences. Those who appreciated the ‘grown-up’ demeanour of the C-Class Coupé may mourn the loss of the old model, whereas those swayed by the sleek and sporty design of the latest 4 Series might now be persuaded to reconsider. It’s a difficult and delicate balancing act.
As for the inner workings of the new C-Class Coupé, the suspension is 15mm lower than that of the saloon to emphasize that sporty feel on the road. A comprehensive range of six engines, four petrol and two diesel, are available from launch. Power ranges from the 184bhp 1.6-litre unit in the C 180 up to the 2.0 litre C300, producing 245bhp. Two less powerful 2.0 litre petrol engines will be offered in the form of the C 200 and C 250.
Inside, the stretched dimensions create more spaciousness with extra shoulder, elbow and headroom compared to the outgoing Coupé. Amongst the endless raft of standard C-Class features are a set of 17-inch tyres and more subtle touches such as automatic belt feeders. However, for that little extra something, add the AMG Line package. It upgrades the wheels to 18-Inch light-alloys and also throws in AMG bumpers and sills, a sports steering wheel and AMG sports pedals for good measure.
The stage is now fully set for the clash of the premium coupé titans. The BMW 4 Series already has its numerous admirers; count us in on that number. However, the new-look fresh-faced Mercedes C-Class Coupé has Munich’s finest firmly in its sights. Expect sparks to fly when the new C-Class Coupé arrives in showrooms this December.