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Driven: Benz beefs up C-Class Coupe

All class: The Benz C-Class will face even more competition than the top-selling BMW 4 Series with the arrival in the next 12-24 months of both the Audi A5 and Infiniti Q60.

Mercedes-Benz banks on repeat buyers for latest C-Class Coupe

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Mercedes-Benz logo29 Apr 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

MERCEDES-BENZ expects the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe will be more popular than the wildly successful C204-series model it replaces, thanks to loyal customers as it looks to keep new and existing rivals at bay.

The latest version of the two-door, four-seat Benz arrives in showrooms with an initial four-variant line-up, topped by the brutal C63 S, while the AMG-lite V6-powered C43 will join the range by the year’s end.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto that the new C-Class Coupe would appeal to owners of the previous model, as well as people new to the brand.

“It is a huge pool of buyers and they will come back,” he said at the media drive of the two-door in Victoria.

Mr McCarthy said that the company’s “finance products and guaranteed future value” would draw loyal customers back to the new model, and added that the average age of the entire C-Class range had dropped to people in their 40s, while the Coupe was attracting buyers in their mid-20s.

He said the company is expecting the new-gen Coupe to outsell the C204-series model that was regularly one of the best sellers in its class, even late in its model life.

“Current indications are very strong. It drives really well, it’s well equipped, it’s well priced. People will buy it because of how it looks and also the badge plays a factor of course. But it is a really good-looking car and people want to be seen in it and people want to buy it.”

The luxury mid-size coupe segment has become increasingly competitive in recent years with BMW’s 4 Series leading the pack in sales since 2014, but new arrivals including the Lexus RC have also had an impact, with the Japanese model outselling the run-out C-Class Coupe and Audi A5 in the first quarter of 2016.

It is about to get even more competitive in the coming years with Infiniti’s striking Q60 lobbing before the end of year, while Audi’s second-gen A5 is likely to arrive next year.

Mr McCarthy acknowledged the competition but expressed confidence in the C-Class against its rivals.

“There is more competition. Is there more pressure? We will do very well with this car. As will our competitors with theirs.”

As previously reported, the range starts at $65,900 plus on-road costs for the C200 Coupe and tops out at $162,400 for the bahn-storming Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe.

This pricing represents increases of between $4000 and $7890 over the equivalent C-Class sedan variants.

There are few equivalent variants of the old model as Benz has changed up the specification levels for the new coupe.

The C200 uses Mercedes’ familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injected turbocharged Euro 6 petrol unit, delivering 135kW and 300Nm and matched with a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus dual-clutch transmission.

This is enough to propel the two-door from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds, while consuming 6.0 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle, with both of those figures matching those of the equivalent four-door sedan variant.

Benz’s sole diesel, the C250d, uses the 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel pumping out 150kW and 500Nm – more than the BMW 420d’s 140kW/400Nm – and driving the rear wheels via a nine-speed 9G-Tronic DCT.

This makes for a 6.7-second 0-100km/h sprint time and brings fuel use down to just 4.4L/100km, which is 0.1s slower to 100km/h and 0.3L/100km thirstier than its four-door twin.

The most powerful non-AMG variant is the C300, which is powered by a 180kW/370Nm turbocharged four-pot petrol unit, paired with the 7G-Tronic shifter and offering 0-100km/h performance in 6.0 seconds and fuel use of 6.6L/100km. The equivalent 4 Series – the 180kW/350Nm 428i – does the 0-100km/h dash in 5.7s and sips 6.4L/100km.

At the top of the tree is the AMG 63 S with its 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo engine and AMG Speedshift seven-speed transmission smashing out 375kW/700Nm for a 3.9s 0-100km/h time and fuel use of 8.7L/100km.

All powertrains are Euro 6 compliant and are matched with idle-stop technology.

Under its skin, the Coupe gains a new four-link front axle with suspension decoupled from the spring strut, which “contributes to agile handling characteristics”, according to Benz, while a new multi-link rear suspension set-up helps ensure “straight-line stability”.

Light-alloy components used for the bonnet, bootlid and wings have helped reduce weight over the old model, but the body is now stiffer and stronger, aiding safety and dynamic performance, says Benz.

The new-gen C205-series C-Class Coupe is 95mm longer, 40mm wider and with an 80mm-longer wheelbase compared with the old C204-series model, making for more head, shoulder and elbow room in all four seats.

In $65,900 C200 form, the lengthy standard features list includes automatic belt feeders, auto dimming interior and driver’s side mirrors, Garmin Map Pilot navigation, brushed aluminium trim, DAB+ digital radio, Dynamic Select drive modes, electric park brake, 40:20:40 split-fold rear seat, multi-function display in instrument cluster, interior light package, keyless start, leather flat-bottomed steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, AMG floor mats and sports pedals, a 7.0-inch TFT colour display with touchpad control, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports and a five-speaker audio system.

It also gets AMG body styling, Active Parking Assist, LED head and tail-lights, cruise control with speed limiter, electrically folding and heated exterior mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, sports suspension with the Sports Direct-Steer system and AMG 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

Safety features include a 360-degree camera, nine airbags, a driver fatigue detection system, blind spot warning, Collisions Prevention Assist Plus Pre-Safe accident anticipation system, Brake Assist, Adaptive Brake with a hold function and hill start assist.

The diesel-powered C250d increases in price to $74,900 and adds leather upholstery, the Driver Assistance Plus package with Distronic Plus, Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Plus, privacy glass, Keyless-Go which includes keyless entry and automatic boot opening and closing, a nine-speed auto and 19-inch 14-spoke AMG alloy wheels.

Extras for the $83,400 C300 Coupe include a sports exhaust system, a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system and the Comand Online connectivity and multimedia system.

The $162,400 AMG C63 S adds multiple AMG styling and interior flourishes, an Intelligent Light system, panoramic glass sliding sunroof, metallic paint, Nappa leather upholstery and additional safety features.

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe pricing*
C 200 Coupe (a)$65,900
C 250d Coupe (a)$74,900
C 300 Coupe (a)$83,400
AMG C 63 S Coupe (a)$162,400
*Excludes on-road costs

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