Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Road test: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C 200 Coupe

Mercedes has given its eye-catching coupe a facelift as it delivers a more sophisticated kind of fun

It might not be able to match the practicality of the saloon, but there’s no denying that the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is the better-looking of the two siblings. Sure, your head might say the saloon for its capacious boot and all-round sensible image, but your heart will surely choose the sweeping lines of the two-door every time.

The 2019 facelift sees it receive minor exterior tweaks, including redesigned lights and bumpers. It is a subtle yet effective makeover – a bit of well-judged Botox, if you will. The body remains so dimensionally perfect that there was simply no further work to be done. Even in the company of its well-heeled German competitors, such as the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series, the strong, powerful lines of the Merc make it the most handsome of the three, by the skin of its star-tipped nose.

Inside the cabin, it’s a little harder to call. While it retains that inimitable C-Class elegance with the help of black open-pore trim and a neater display, those hoping to see improvements that bring it up to par with what its baby A-Class sibling is boasting these days will be disappointed. The multimedia screen is larger and better-placed, but it’s still a bit lacking in the graphics department and it’s still not a touchscreen. As a result, the centre console feels cluttered with unnecessary buttons. It’s the only glitch in an otherwise serene affair.

On a more positive note, there is now an option of a fully digital instrument cluster that modernises the whole thing somewhat. Also new with the facelifted model is “Energising Comfort Control”, an option that Mercedes says will use and combine the light, temperature, sound and fragrance settings to create “an oasis of well-being”.

Sitting in the Coupe is an entirely different experience to sitting in to the saloon. The much lower driving position and specially designed sports seats give a racier feel and hints at what’s to come once you take it out on the road. The automatic seat belt that comes out to greet you on arrival is a classy touch, as is the turbine detail on the start button, symbolising the fact that all engines in the range are now turbocharged.

There have been a few exciting new developments under the bonnet elsewhere in the world, mainly in the shape of a new petrol option in the

C 200. But sadly the UAE doesn’t seem set to be blessed with the 181hp four-cylinder unit, which comes with the added fuel efficiency of “EQ Boost”, a mild hybrid system similar to what Audi are putting into their newer models.

Instead, the larger 2.0-litre has 204hp and 300Nm of torque, offering plenty of low-down pulling power, which combined with the seamless shift of the nine-speed automatic gearbox results in an effortless, but ultimately still engaging, drive.

A smaller boot, combined with the low seating position, makes for impressively flat cornering, even if the steering could do with a little more feel. While it might not be laugh-a-minute, there is fun to be had in the C 200 Coupe – it’s just a more reserved, sophisticated type of fun.

Despite that reduced boot, the rear seats can best be described as “decorative”, but the Coupe’s unique driver-focused appeal makes it a car that simply feels good to own. And at this end of the market, that’s surely what it’s all about.

Updated: January 31, 2019 03:46 PM