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2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader September 2016

This time around, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe has a confidence and poise that seemed to be missing from previous generations. That could be down to the fundamentals. This is the 2-door version of the current-generation C-Class sedan, which only debuted in 2015.

The C-Class is traditionally one of the company's best sellers, so we can safely assume that there have been thousands of engineering and development hours put into this newest wave. With the coupe, Mercedes-Benz has lowered the ride height and widened the track (the space between the wheels on each axle). This enhances both the car's looks and its stability.

Speaking of looks, the C300 Coupe has simple yet well-considered lines at every angle. A mesh-type grille with chromed pinpoints at every intersection is a pretty option; the proportions are all small enough to not seem overdone.

It's also the timing of this car's debut that hints at extra confidence. C-Class coupes have often launched late in the sedan's generational cycle, as if it were an afterthought or an obligation. But with the 2017 model hot on the heels of its 4-door counterpart, the impression is that Mercedes-Benz knows it has a winner on its hands and no longer has to play second fiddle to BMW.

What's New for 2017?

The C300 Coupe is all new for this model year.

What We Like

Looks; ride; handling; equipment

What We Don't

A standard rearview camera would have been nice; limited rear passenger space, but it is a compact coupe

How Much?

$43,575

Fuel Economy

Under the long aluminum hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine developing 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission sends drive to the rear wheels in the standard car, or all four wheels in the 4Matic version.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption for the rear-wheel-drive setup at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive 4Matic version returns 23 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe ($43,575) comes in one well-equipped trim level.

Among the long list of standard equipment are 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, full LED lighting, rain-sensing wipers, sport suspension, keyless entry/ignition, driving-mode selection, dual-zone climate control, leatherlike upholstery, 6-way power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, a power-adjustable tilt-telescope steering wheel, a USB input and HD Radio. Safety features include forward-collision prevention with autonomous braking, driver-attention assist and self-dimming rearview and driver's-side mirrors.

Optional equipment includes adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, lane-keep assist, a blind spot monitoring system, leather upholstery, all-wheel drive, air suspension, heated/ventilated front seats, a heads-up display, upgraded audio system and a self-parking feature.

It's possible to fit two sets of golf clubs into the trunk, as cargo hold measures 10.5 cu ft. The rear seats also split and fold in 40/20/40 fashion to bring a little more stowage flexibility.

Safety

As well as those safety items mentioned above, the C300 Coupe has mandatory protection features such as stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and several airbags, including one for the driver's knees.

This car hasn't been crash-tested by any agencies within the United States, but the sedan on which it's based was awarded a maximum five stars overall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the sedan top scores of Good for moderate-overlap front impact and side-impact protection.

Behind the Wheel

Thanks in part to the use of aluminum in the hood, front fenders and trunk lid, there's a pleasing balance and neutral feel to the C300 Coupe, even with the all-wheel-drive version. It's ready and eager to turn into corners yet continues to feel secure in all situations.

The steering column plays host to turn signals, cruise control, wipers and a gearshift lever. For those occasions when the driver wants to do a little gear-changing, the paddle shifters (also mounted just below the steering wheel) work well enough. The steering system itself comes from the C-Class sedan, but it's been sharpened up a little here. That was a good call.

Dynamic Select is the name given to the method of scrolling through different driving modes. The driver can choose from a range that goes from economical to sporty, where the responses of the throttle, the transmission and the steering are adjusted accordingly. It's standard equipment and also deals with the air suspension's settings. The regular C300 Coupe rides just on the firm side of fine, but the air suspension (no other company currently offers this option) pushes the spectrum of comfort in both directions.

There's a general C-Class air to the cabin, which is no bad thing. Materials are of excellent quality, even the standard-issue leatherette upholstery, and the analog clock adds a touch of class.

Some people might find the center console a tad too wide; it feels a little constricting. But at least front occupants are saved the trouble of twisting around to grab their seat belts -- an automatic extending arm delivers it to a point just past the shoulder.

Engine output is good rather than great, providing adequate power for most people, and there are certainly no misgivings about fuel consumption. The chassis is easily able to handle more muscle, though, as the upcoming AMG version will no doubt illustrate.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Audi A5 -- The A5 is based on the A4, which is just about to be replaced by a new generation, so the current version is relatively old. If it has to be an Audi, it's probably best to wait.

2016 BMW 428i -- Superb to drive and also offered in hard-top convertible form, the 428i is the usual leader of this pack. At the very least, give this model a test drive.

2016 Lexus RC 200t -- A little less expensive than the Germans, the Lexus RC 200t offers great build quality and reliability but a rather uninspired chassis. Also, the styling won't be to everyone's taste.

Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe -- The E-Class sedan is just about to be renewed, but the outgoing generation is still really good. This will come with more space and a choice of engines.

Autotrader's Advice

All-wheel drive is $2,000, and the air suspension is about $1,200. Whether you need the former depends on where you live, but the latter is well worth it for the range of sportiness and comfort it provides.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe: New Car Review - Autotrader