8 / 10
There’s no external AMG badge but the Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Sport sprinkles some of the performance division’s magic dust over the mid-spec compact two-door.
The Sport part of the badge arrives more than a year after the launch of the C-Class Coupe and sees Mercedes follow Audi’s S-Line and BMW’s M Sport – branding that plays on the luxury manufacturers’ sportiest models.
The Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Sport costs an extra $8150 over the regular C250 Coupe, but at $78,050 it’s about the half the price of the C63 AMG Coupe.
That premium adds an AMG Sports Package worth $6350, with a visual spread of 18-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels, lip spoiler, black artificial leather sports seats, red seatbelts, AMG floormats and red interior stitching. You can also coat your Coupe Sport in an exclusive ‘designo magno platinum’ paint.
AMG engineers, not just designers, are involved in the C250 Coupe Sport, though.
The suspension is tuned by AMG, there are bigger brakes, a quicker steering rack, a sports exhaust and a revised seven-speed auto that offers speedier shifts in Sport and Manual modes. Those last couple of upgrades are particularly important, because the Sport doesn’t gain any extra power over the standard C250.
The 1.8-litre turbocharged, direct injection four-cylinder still has 150kW, backed by 310Nm, going to the rear wheels. It’s an engine that doesn’t sparkle with the same kind of verve or poke as the 155kW 2.0-litre direct injection four-cylinder turbo found in the rival Audi A5 2.0 TFSI Quattro (from $80,900), and the C250 is seven-tenths slower in the 0-100km/h acceleration run – 7.2 v 6.5 seconds.
Switching the transmission’s selectable modes from Efficiency – where the engine can feel a bit flat down low and throttle response is smooth but leisurely – to Sport or Manual makes things far more interesting, however. Here, there’s an immediate reaction from the accelerator pedal to the slightest right-foot pressure, and as revs rise quickly there’s a raspy engine note to savour courtesy of that sports exhaust and a retune of the engine’s electronic mapping.
Brake hard for corners and the auto will also blip the throttle automatically on the downshift, which is a nice sporty touch – even if you can achieve the same effect by pulling your fingers back on the left-sided paddleshift lever. For this model, it would have made more sense to have Sport as the default transmission mode – especially as the throttle isn’t overly sensitive or the downshifting overly aggressive for city driving.
The ride does live up to the AMG badge, though. It’s notably stiffer than the regular C250 Coupe’s and the suspension fidgets around if the blacktop isn’t smooth. It won’t crash into potholes, though, and there are upsides when the scenery ahead becomes a stretch of curving bitumen. Body control is even tighter (as well as the driver’s thanks to those AMG-style sports seats) and there’s a reassuring sense that grip is almost limitless – certainly on the road – from the brilliant Pirelli P-Zero tyres.
The revised, quicker steering completes the series of changes that do make the Sport a more dynamic drive than the regular C250 Coupe, with better responsiveness as the driver’s hands move from the quarter-to-three position (or 10 to 2 if that’s your preference).
It adds to the good level of feel provided by the C-Class Coupe, though the BMW 3 Series Coupe is still the overall pick for steering in this segment.
That leaves the rest of the Coupe package, which offers plenty for the money. Our view is that the two-door C-Class body brings the requisite good looks that should almost be mandatory for the coupe class. The Sport’s black AMG wheels and lowered ride height add to the visual drama.
Inside the Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Sport, there’s the usual two-door impracticality of getting into the rear seats compared with a four-door C-Class and in the back there are only two individual seats. There’s genuine leg space for adults, though, and headroom is decent – but those over 5ft 10in will argue for the front passenger seat.
The boot offers 450 litres, too – a bit more than a two-door 3 Series.
As a 2011 model debutant, the C-Class Coupe already benefitted from the interior makeover given to the C-Class sedan that same year. It was a big change, too – transforming the C-Class cabin from being short of the standard expected from a luxury car to one that’s brimming with quality materials and smart design.
Parking sensors and a reverse view camera are part of the standard equipment in the C250, as is a stop-start system that helps keep fuel consumption to an official 6.9L/100km combined – a smidgen ahead of the A5 2.0 TFSI S-tronic (7.0L/100km) and well ahead of the BMW 325i Coupe auto (8.7L/100km).
You can also have your C250 Coupe Sport in (CDI) diesel.
Some extra kilowatts wouldn’t have gone amiss for the Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Sport, so it isn’t quite magic. But to give the German car maker credit its due, it hasn’t played blatantly on the AMG angle and the Sport – if you can live with the harder ride – brings worthwhile benefits over the regular C250 Coupe.
There’s a hint of AMG flavour, without the usual associated price tag.