2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

The C-Class Coupe is Mercedes-Benz's offering in the entry-level premium-coupe segment. Based heavily on the C-Class Sedan, with which it shares a platform, interior and engine options, the Coupe is more understated and luxury-focused than its competitors.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, the C-Class Coupe receives a standard split-folding rear seat and upsized 18-inch wheels for the C350.

Overview
The C-Class Coupe features a 1.5-inch lower roof than the sedan, along with an aggressive front fascia with inset LED lamps. Traditional coupe styling cues include a short front overhang, long hood and steeply raked windshield. Unfortunately, in an attempt to deviate from BMW's traditional "Hoffmeister kink" rear window styling, the roofline and inner C-pillar ended up resembling a Honda Accord Coupe.

The Coupe is available in two different flavors: the four-cylinder C250 and V6-powered C350. The C250 caters to the efficiency-minded with a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.8-liter unit capable of 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque from just 2000 rpm. Reaching 60 mph takes about seven seconds, and fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The more potent C350 uses a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 that cranks out 302 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, enabling zero-to-60 mph runs in under six seconds.For the latest model year, the C350 gained a stop/start system that shuts down the engine when the car comes to a rest to save fuel, then automatically starts the motor once the driver hits the gas pedal. Fuel economy checks in at 19/28 mpg.

While standard C-Class coupes are rear-wheel-drive, Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is optional on the C350. Surprisingly, the system doesn't exact any mileage penalty for the extra traction it provides.

Inside, the Coupe features what Mercedes terms "race-inspired" sport seats with integrated headrests, prominent bolsters as well as memory functions for the driver, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and split-folding rear seats for cargo flexibility.

The interior is dominated by an prominent trim panel (finished in a faux aluminum) which stretches from the center air vents along the passenger side dashboard, adding visual width. Behind an aggressive 3-spoke steering wheel lie deeply recessed tubular gauges featuring a 4.5-inch color display in the center of the speedometer, which can call-up numerous screens and functions related to audio, telephone, navigation and vehicle settings.

A fixed 5.8-inch central display screen is surrounded by a stepped hood that flows across from the instrument cluster and continues into the passenger side through a subtle character line. The head unit includes a Bluetooth interface for wireless audio streaming and hands-free phone operation, an FM phase-diversity twin tuner, MP3compatible CD drive, HD/AM/weatherband and a USB port in the center console.

Standard and Optional Features
Notable standard features are a panoramic sunroof, 14-way adjustable power seats, dual zone climate control and Bluetooth audio streaming.

There are two major options packages in the car. The Premium Package coddles with heated front seats, an iPod/MP3 Media Interface in the center console, a Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 surround-sound system and SIRIUS satellite radio. The Multimedia Package includes a COMAND system with hard-drive navigation, enhanced voice control for audio, telephone and navigation, a 7-inch color display, SIRIUS real-time traffic service, an in-dash SD memory card reader, an in-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer, a 10GB hard-drive with Music Register and a rearview camera.

New additions to the options list for the latest model year include the AMG Sports Package Plus, which brings enhanced exhaust tuning, a special sport interior with contrasting seatbelts, 18-inch sevem-twin-spoke wheels and a revised front suspension, in addition to a radar-based cruise control system, which is offered as a stand-alone option.

All C-Class models boast Agility Control, which provides the benefits of both soft and stiff shock absorbers. Each twin-tube shock absorber is fitted with a hydraulic by-pass piston that acts like a very soft shock absorber to effectively dampen road noise and tire vibration. However, over bumpy or uneven roads, the by-pass piston is out of the picture, which preserves the improved steering and handling response of a stiffer shock absorber.

To up the sportiness quotient, customers can opt for Dynamic Handling package. Available by special order only, this package lowers the suspension by 0.6 inches, stiffens the springs and dampers and includes a stability-control based torque vectoring system that slows the inside rear wheel in tight turns to cut down on understeer.

Occupant Safety
Mercedes-Benz has long been known for its safety features, and the Coupe will only add to that reputation. In addition to ABS and ESP stability control, the car boasts nine supplemental restraints including two-stage front air bags, a knee air bag for the driver and pelvic air bags which work together with curtain and side air bags to provide extra protection for front occupants in dangerous side-impact collisions.

Also standard is an "ATTENTION ASSIST" system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster.

Optional safety equipment includes the Lane Keeping Assist system, which alerts the driver by simulating a rumble strip vibration in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on. Part of the Lane Tracking Package, it operates at speeds above 37 mph via a system that recognizes lane markings, thanks to a small camera in the windshield and a computer that analyzes the video images.

The Lane Tracking Package also includes Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots behind and to the side of the vehicle. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, the driver gets visual and audible warnings.

Key Competitors
Besides the C-Class Coupe, those seeking a premium two-door coupe could also consider the BMW 3-Series Coupe, the Infiniti G37 Coupe, the Cadillac CTS Coupe and the Audi A5.