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Our time with the swoopy and stylish 2016 Mercedes Benz C300 Coupe has drawn to a close.
Unlike most of our long-term cars, which stay in one primary location, the C300 spent time with both the Sydney and Melbourne offices, and as such had a wider range of the CarAdvice team through its long and heavy doors.
Curt introduced the car back in June as being the ‘alpha’ car of the Sydney garage, so taken were we all with its modern and distinctive style.
Then we read how Tony basically ignores any drive mode other than Sport-Plus, and sought to double the 6.6L/100km fuel consumption claim.
And most recently, Mandy penned her thoughts on the design of the stylish two door as it made its way south of the Murray to the land of the long black macchiato.
So now, a summary. What did we collectively think of the white coupe, and, given Mercedes’ continual success with the C-Class range, do we recommend it?
Andrew Beecher, Managing Director and CEO
I spent a fair bit of time in this car, both in Sydney in my daily inner city commute and Melbourne with my far longer regular round trip from the CarAdvice office down to the Mornington Peninsula (97kms each way – one set of traffic lights).
Most of time in Melbourne was spent in the C300 with my small family – one car-obsessed 18-month-old, my partner and our dog, alongside all the usual paraphernalia you need to carry with kids.
The Good: The aesthetics of this coupe makes it a genuine everyday head turner. In Sydney, on my first day in the C300, a neighbour crossed the road to ask me all about it – and that remained the theme on many outings in the swoopy coupe. It made me feel good every time I walked up to it, and I felt the same way even after over four months of living with it.
The white bodywork with the black glass roof and chrome trim highlights really showcased our C300 long-termer to its full potential. In terms of specifications, I can say with confidence that if I was to buy a C300 this is EXACTLY how I would option it.
Strangely, the C-Coupe is a tardis of load carrying. It is so big that I lost the dog in there and had to send in a search party. Once past the slightly constrained aperture it can swallow a bigger load than is initially apparent. Liked the ‘wave one foot under the rear bumper to open’ a lot – when it worked. When it didn’t it just made me look stupid.
In car tech? It's loaded with goodies plus a top notch head-up display; there really is little more to want for. I even grew to like COMAND – a first for me.
Drivetrain – sort of (see below). In Sports-Plus the C300 definitely gets up and goes – complete with a ‘barrrp’ on the up-change from the exhaust and a decisive thump in the back as the gear slots home.
The seats are lovely in every way – comfortable, great range of adjustments, heated, great to look at with their thin profile, and beautifully finished on the leather, perforations and stitching.
Adaptive and automated headlights – simply brilliant technology.
The Bad: The ride. I like sporty, however, sporty does not have to equate to unrefined. While I was probably more of a fan of the ride than some at CA – made even better by the excellent seats – the problem with the C300 is that just as I was thinking ‘this is not so bad’, CRASH is would go into a pothole or over a sharp edged road join. Plus, out on country B-roads it never really settles down like you would expect a coupe of this nature should and the constant jiggling does make it more wearing than you would like.
Long and heavy coupe doors are one thing. Failing to engineer more robust detentes is another. On even the slightest incline the coupe’s doors would stubbornly refuse to stay open. Combine this with our driveway, inserting an 18-month-old into his babyseat while stretching into the rear, and I ended up with bruises on my back from the frameless windows. This is really not good enough for a $90K car.
Drivetrain. Sorry Mercedes but this car deserves a six-cylinder rather than a four-pot. The engine runs out of puff too easily, and the boosty nature of it detracts from low stress cruising. Gearbox is not particularly rewarding to drive in manual mode.
Engine/exhaust note. Just no.
Burmester stereo. While the brushed steel speaker grilles look the business, it is let down with muddy base response and a lack of fidelity at higher volumes. Not terrible – but not great either.
Summary: This was one of the first long-termers through the garage this year where I would gladly hand over my own money for the car. It delivered the prestige sporty goods in spades and turned heads wherever it went. Living with the C300 was easy – a capable cruiser with a sporty side thrown in for good measure. However, the problem with the C300 is that it is just not sporty enough in terms of the engine outputs to deal with the compromised ride. So for me, I’d buy the C200 with the various AMG accessories, whip out the dental floss, debadge, and be happy.
Mike Stevens, Producer and News Editor
The Good: The C300 Coupe is ridiculously good looking with the standard AMG body styling kit and lower suspension height than the C-Class sedan. It offers a good balance between sportiness, comfort and economical driving. Power is good, but not overwhelmingly quick. The seats are nice, but perhaps a little too firm.
The Bad: On the road, the tyre and wind noise was more noticeable than I want from a premium car. And, even if it's really just a bit of a tourer, the 'C300' badge should somehow mean more noise and even more oomph, especially with its AMG looks – I guess I'm really just missing the six of previous generations. Interior doesn't feel as premium as it looks, and I really don’t like the COMAND infotainment system.
Summary: Frankly I'd take a 4 Series. It drives better – BMW understands a coupe should still be a fun car, a bit silly – and I personally reckon the cabin is nicer. I'm a bit of a lone voice on that one, though... and apart from the tail lamps, I actually think it's the better, meaner, looking car. Not by much though.
Paul Maric, Senior Road Tester
The Good: I was a big fan of the design. The exterior is appealing and in white it really looked quite striking. The interior was beautifully presented and it looks and feels like it's worth much more than it is.
It comes loaded with features and the handful of options fitted to our car was spot on. It's the exact configuration I'd have it in if I was to buy one.
The Bad: I didn't like the weight of the doors, obviously an issue with a coupe. There were rattles coming from the dashboard – a reader has suggested this is a common issue with Mercedes-Benz C-Class and has to do with the suspension mounts.
Not a huge fan of the gearbox, a little clunky and sloppy at times. Likewise the ride, way too firm at times and not befitting of a luxury cruiser.
Summary: As we said in the comparison, for a luxury car it ticks all the boxes, but I'd buy a 4 Series over it.
Tom Fraser, Senior Photographer
The Good: Ever since driving the C coupe earlier in the year, I've been going on about how impressive it is and how special it makes you feel. It's almost the complete opposite of the equivalent 4 Series in that it's built to be seen in and enjoyed as a luxurious object rather than to driven sportily on the weekends…
The Bad: And the latter shows when you drive it around some twisty roads at a fair pace. Unfortunately, it just isn't built for that type of driving. The suspension has a very odd feeling going over certain bumps, whereby the wheels feel detached from the chassis – which sends a huge jolt throughout the cabin. The gearbox too, takes a while to drop down gears and get going.
Summary: But yes, where it shines is the cafe strip. Spending circa $90K and entering that cabin, you immediately feel assured with spending so much money on a car. Everything is beautiful and that fragrance system is one of the best options I've seen in a car. It really does wonders to build an aura of expensiveness in the cabin.
I wasn't much impressed by the looks when it first came out, but it easily grew on me and now it's just drop dead gorgeous. Oh, and by the way, I totally agree with Beech saying that you'd buy the C200 and debadge it. All variants look the same and why spend more money to get a slightly higher tune four-cylinder car.
James Ward, Associate Publisher
The Good: It looks and feels like a more expensive car. It impresses wherever you go and people tend to look twice at it in the street. The level of standard equipment is excellent and the way Mercedes integrates technology in both infotainment and driver assistance is getting better and better.
The Bad: Once you’ve gotten over the ‘oh this is nice’ moment, there are some elements in the cabin that feel a bit light and flimsy. The trim on the door panels, for one. The back seats are small and very difficult to access, and having someone moving in and out all the time is a bit annoying. Plus, I’m finding the look of the curved roof becoming less favourable over time. From the front it looks a bit goofy.
Summary: It’s a lovely cruiser and a very stylish car – and I would recommend it… to my dad. There is something about a Mercedes coupe that has a bit of an ‘old man’ stigma about it. Plus, you don’t feel like driving it hard or sportily and so you’re better off saving money on the equally stylish C200 – or perhaps the C-Class estate?
The white coupe has now returned to Mercedes, with a shade under 8000km put on the clock over a period of four-months. We suffered a chipped windscreen thanks to a tip-truck on the freeway, and no servicing done other than a quick check over – and a clean bill of health – by Mercedes-HQ once the car arrived from Sydney (Curt drove it down).
As you can see from the feedback from the team, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is a highly desirable car, but the C300 as the ‘top of the non-AMG range’ is a bit underwhelming in the performance stakes.
Save your money and grab a C200 for all the right looks, or dig a bit deeper and go for the new 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe to get the right amount of go to match the show, without needing to resort to the full-tilt C63.
2016 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe
Date acquired – June 2016
Odometer reading – 7532km
Distance since last update - 1520km
Consumption since previous – 9.9L/100km
Click the Photos tab for more images by Tom Fraser