Should it surprise that most customers for the new C-Class coupe will settle for the version that provides all the style but not the most sizzle?
Premium product, premium price: All the same, the entry ticket to the C-Class Coupe show will be buy the best seat in the house.
Best as in best-selling, that is. Whether the $77,400 C200 entry edition also transpires to be the best-driving edition of this new family remains to be seen –logically the AMG version that tops for performance should hold that mantle.
Yet when it comes to the value argument, then in speaking to the expected volume breakdown for the new model, Mercedes Benz New Zealand anticipates especially brisk business for the cheapest of the four incoming variants.
“We believe that the trends that we have seen with C-Class sedan will also provide a pointer for the coupe,” explains Ben Giffin, general manager of the Auckland-based distributor.
“In the past the C250 was a very big seller for us, but the performance and the economy now of the C200 has brought that car to the fore. We feel that it will be the same for the coupe; we believe the C200 edition will become our volume driver.”
That’s not to diminish the strong Kiwi taste for AMG product means the top dog is a fiery 375kW/700Nm bi-turbo 4.0-litre C63 S, which we pictured on display at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne over the weekend.
Yet, at $172,900 – plus another $10,900 for the Edition One dress-up on the photographed example - the V8 monster stands very far apart from the other models – though the gap will be filled in time by the recently-announced C43 edition with the new twin-turbo V6.
Meantime, there’s also something new with a C300 at $97,900, also using the same 2.0-litre petrol as the C200 but in a higher state of tune – 180kW and 370Nm, versus the base model’s 135kW and 300Nm.
Giffin believes the C300 might prove to be a wild card – perhaps even moreso than the surprise diesel choice, a $93,900 C250d with maximum outputs of 150kW and 500Nm.
Nonetheless, the C200 is expected to at least lead the charge initially, which is why it has been loaded up with a lot of equipment, some of which doesn’t come in the equivalent-engined sedan. That explains, at least partly, the price premium the two-door has over the sedan; otherwise it’s simply because Benz feels the new car’s swoopy shape deserves a fatter tag.
All coupes are fitted with a long list of standard equipment that includes sat nav, dual-zone climate control and an extensive safety suite that consists of nine airbags, automated emergency braking, 360-degree camera and blind spot warnings.
However, the C200 coupe also achieves addition fare over the equivalent sedan in the form of 18-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and sports steering as well as an AMG body kit and LED headlights.
“Ultimately this car is being tailored for a sports-orientated customer – it’s not the family saloon and we’re not positioning it that way.”
Giffin agrees the shape alone will be a strong selling point. It carries similar front end styling to that of its four-door sedan sibling, while the tail end features a look similar to its larger S-Class Coupe sibling.
“It’s a car that has the looks of an S Coupe, it has the award-winning design also of a C-Class sedan and it creates a really great-looking silhouette.”
A 60mm longer bonnet, low greenhouse, high beltline and frameless doors with free-standing mirrors are ingredients intended to make for a sporty look, so too a ride height 15mm lower than the sedan’s.
Although practicality is secondary to pose value, it does provide better consideration to occupants than its predecessor. Being 95mm longer, 40mm wider with a 80mm-longer wheelbase than the outgoing version lends a more spacious cabin with extra shoulder, elbow and head room than before.
Inside the Coupe resembles the sedan, although it features individual touches and panels to give it a more sporting feel, including sports seats designed specifically for the Coupe.
The diesel’s standout feature is economy: A claimed average fuel consumption of 4.4L/100km makes it 1.8L/100km optimally more efficient than the C200. The C300 is rated to return 6.6L/100km. The C63, of course, is a bigger drinker still, at 8.7L/100km.
Naturally the tables are turned on 0-100kmh times: The C63 easily leads the charge with a claimed ability to hit the motorway limit from a standing start in just 3.9 seconds. The C300 does it in 6.0s, the C200 in 7.4s and the C250d in 6.7s.
The diesel has a nine-speed automatic, larger 19-inch alloy wheels, full leather interior trim and keyless entry with push button start above the standard equipment of the C200 Coupe.
The C300 also comes with a higher grade of standard gear, including a top-shelf Burmester audio system, internet-enabled sat nav and a sports exhaust system.
Apart from having the biggest engine, the AMG also provides unique - and wider - suspension, bigger wheels and tyres, active engine mounts, an electronic limited slip differential, high-performance brakes and a performance exhaust.
On top of that, the cabin is fitted with heated front bucket seats trimmed in Nappa leather, a digital TV tuner and a panoramic glass sliding roof.
If that doesn’t seem special enough, there’s the Edition 1 package. This delivers bigger wheels – 19s at the front, 20s on the rear – enhanced aerodynamics, ceramic brakes and the eye-catching decoration of a Selenite Grey matt magno paint offset by yellow decals.
The derivative also delivers AMG matt carbon trim, yellow stitching and yellow accents on the dials.
Meantime, Mercedes has also announced changes, most of them superficial, to the next size down front-drive CLA line. The updates are set to land in New Zealand around July-August.
The updated CLA, left, is identified by a new nose with a fresh bumper design plus a slightly re-designed “diamond-look” radiator grille.
Improved connectivity and a hands-free opening function for the boot and wagon hatch are among other upgrades.
While Europe is to see a new super-efficient 1.5-litre 180d BlueEfficiency diesel engine capable of eking just 3.5 litres per 100km, that engine seems an unlikely choice at the moment for Nw Zealand, where the 2.1-litre remains on the cards.
The CLA AMG 45 4Matic also adopts the upgraded 2.0-litre engine that recently slipped into its A-Class equivalent. This makes 280kW/475Nm and, as in the A45 AMG, is hooked up to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The updated engine powers the CLA45 AMG coupe to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, while the Shooting Brake takes an extra one-tenth of a second.
The refreshed interior gets more liberal slabs of chrome plating, while the seats get a new-look upholstery. The instrument dials have been restyled, and now get red needles.
Improved connectivity now includes voice-operated iPhone Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while a new-look 8.0-inch free-standing touchscreen is optional.
Also optional on mainstream models is an LED headlight package instead of the standard bi-Xenons. The CLA45 AMG now gets these as standard.