1 Aug 2011
AFTER almost a dozen years of having the old W202 and W203 generation C-class sedan-based CLK Coupe from the late ‘90s, with its bespoke bodywork and E-class pricing, Daimler decided to work the W204-derived ‘CLK’ replacement in with the related W212 E-class bits to create the C207 E-class Coupe (and ragtop).
But with that model kicking off from $100K, Mercedes identified a gaping hole in the $60K segment in which to take on the well-established BMW 3 Series and popular Audi A5 Coupe – hence the C204 C-class Coupe.
It also essentially replaced the Brazilian-built CL203 CLC hatch that was itself based on the previous-generation W203 C-class-derived Sport Coupe offered from 2002 to 2007.
Completely different bodywork from the windscreen backwards means the C204 is indeed substantially new, and features a 450-litre boot augmented by a folding split rear backrest to increase luggage capacity.
Aided by a more acutely angled windscreen than the W204 sedan, the C204 was lower by 41mm and boasts shorter rear overhang, as well as an upswept belt line, narrow C-pillars, elongated roof, and a glasshouse that extend beyond the rear axle.
Initially five models were released – the C180 BlueEfficiency Coupe, C250 BE Coupe, C250 CDI Coupe, C350 BE Coupe, and – from October 2011 – the C63 AMG Coupe - possessing a 336kW/600Nm 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 and AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed sports transmission.
The rest are mated exclusively to Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic automatic transmission driving the rear wheels.
Both four-cylinder petrol vehicles use a 1796cc 1.8-litre turbo-charged direct-injection twin-cam 16-valve BE unit.
The C180 Coupe delivered 115kW of power at 5000rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1600rpm, against the C250’s 150kW at 5500rpm/310Nm at 2300rpm outputs.
Meanwhile the C350 BE packed a 3498cc 3.5-litre V6 channelling 225kW at 6500 and 370Nm at 3500rpm.
Lastly, the sole diesel model leveraged Mercedes’ CDI common-rail turbo-diesel tech in the shape of a 2143cc 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine offering 150kW at 4200rpm and 500Nm at 1600rpm.
The C204 was built on the same 2760mm wheelbase as the sedan, but has a length/width and height measurements of 4590/1770/1406mm.
It followed its sedan and wagon cousin in using speed-sensitive hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering, as well as a three-link MacPherson front and multi-link independent rear suspension.
The ride could be lowered via a sports suspension option comprising firmer and 15mm shorter springs, stiffer shock absorbers and beefier anti-roll bars.
When it was new