I was recently driving in traffic when I saw a vehicle I had long forgotten: a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. Or maybe a C-Class Hatchback. I’m not sure exactly what the proper term is, as it was certainly a hatchback, though it had sort-of-coupe like proportions — but either way, it’s rare.
Here’s a little overview of it. The second-generation C-Class came out in 2001, and it was initially offered only as a sedan. In 2002, two other body styles joined the lineup: a station wagon model — the only C-Class wagon ever sold in North America — and a coupe, or a hatchback, or whatever you want to call it. It was initially offered only with a 4-cylinder, but eventually Mercedes offered it as the C320 coupe with a V6, too.
Not surprisingly, this weird interloper to the C-Class range wasn’t especially popular, and Mercedes-Benz pulled the plug on the C-Class coupey-hatchback after the 2005 model year, following just four years on the market. Mercedes also pulled the plug on the wagon that same year, bringing an end to weird versions of the C-Class.
Or, at least, they pulled the plug in North America. The C-Class coupe lived on overseas, where Mercedes-Benz released a second-generation version with an odd story: it was styled to look like the third-generation C-Class, which debuted in 2008, but it was actually based on the second-generation 2001-2007 model — and, thus, included the same architecture and overall shape. This model was given its own name, the CLC, and sold through 2011 before the coupeish-hatchback finally went away in favor of a traditional C-Class Coupe.