The smallest coupe that Mercedes-Benz makes could also arguably be said to be the best, at least from the point of view of an enthusiastic driver. This improved second-generation C-Class Coupe targets two-door versions of BMW's 4 Series and Audi's A5 more effectively than the Three-Pointed Star has ever managed to do before.
When we first tested the original version of this second-generation C-Class coupe, we were particularly impressed by its surprisingly sharp handling dynamics. This attribute continues with the revised range but here, perhaps the most important news is the introduction of fresh mainstream petrol and diesel engines beneath the bonnet. The range kicks off with the new 1.5-litre petrol unit fitted to the base C200, a model available either rear-driven or with 4MATIC AWD. This powerplant puts out 184hp and a useful 280Nm of torque, plus it features clever 'EQ Boost' technology which uses a 48volt on-board network with a belt-driven starter/alternator. When accelerating, 'EQ Boost' system can assist the engine with an additional 14hp, bridging the brief moment until the turbocharger has built up its full charge pressure. Mercedes has also developed a 2.0-litre version of this petrol engine.
As mentioned, there's a new four-cylinder diesel too, the previous 2.1-litre unit now replaced by a state-of-the-art 2.0-litre powerplant with 194hp. As before, across the range there's a standard 'DYNAMIC SELECT' driving modes system - and you can add to that with optional 'DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL' adaptive damping. At the top of the range lie the fearsome Mercedes-AMG models, offered with V6 or V8 power. The V6-engined C43 4MATIC now puts out 390hp, 23hp more than before. That's enough to take a C43 Coupe from rest to 62mh in just 4.7s. Beyond that lies only the V8 C63 AMG model, with a 4.0-litre V8 Biturbo engine offering either 476 or 510hp.
The styling of this revised second-generation C-class Coupe isn't much different, a revised front bumper slotting under the smart diamond radiator grille which is flanked by standard-fit LED High Performance headlights. As before, a high beltline and frameless doors with free-standing exterior mirrors aim to underscore the sporty character. One particular highlight is the long drawn out dropping line typical of a coupe. In contrast to the C-Class Saloon, the dropping line extends further past the rear wheel arch. To underscore the Coupe's sporty disposition, the suspension is 15 millimetres lower than that of the Saloon.
Inside, the cabin gets the option of the fully-digital instrument display, a 12.3-inch TFT screen that replaces the conventional dials using technology borrowed from larger Mercedes models. You can customise the layout between three display styles - 'Classic', 'Sport' and 'Progressive'. As before, flowing forms characterise the centre console as well as the door and rear side panelling, which smoothly merge into one another to emphasise the coupe character. There are front sports seats specifically designed for this Coupe variant and featuring automatic belt feeders for added convenience. The choice of materials and the finish have a hand-crafted feel with high-class appeal and aim to deliver a fresh take on modern luxury.
The only area where this second-generation C-Class Coupe really needed improvement was when it came to the most affordable petrol and diesel engines. Now that these have been brought up to date, this car looks a very complete package indeed. No luxury brand - come to think of it, no other brand of any kind - offers a wider choice when it comes to coupe motoring than Mercedes-Benz. This C-Class Coupe may be the marque's most affordable offering when it comes to this kind of car, but it still feels of very high quality indeed. But that you would expect. What might be more of a surprise is just how satisfying a driver's machine this model can be, especially in its more powerful forms thanks to clever suspension and a hi-tech range of engines.
The top C63 AMG variant is a potential BMW M4-beater and even more affordable versions - the volume diesel derivatives for example - can be remarkably rewarding on the right road, even if the sporty AMG add-ons do slightly affect running costs. You could argue that many potential Mercedes buyers won't especially value this car's surprisingly dynamic repertoire - and you might be right. Important though, we think, for the Stuttgart brand to show that it was capable of providing it. If that was the intention, then the job's been done well.Click here to find out more about our Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe range