REVIEW DATE: 11 Aug 2006
A Sports Coupe With A Diesel Engine Doesn't Sound Too Appetising. Try The Mercedes C-Class Sports Coupe With The 220 CDI Engine, However, And You May Want To Eat Those Words. Andy Enright Reports…
If you were designing a desirable sports coupe you'd probably consider a diesel engine a great place not to start. This is a market sector all about sophistication, style and sparkling performance. Pragmatic concerns like fuel economy don't count for much when you've already signalled your manifest lack of interest in all things practical by opting for a coupe shape in the first place. Mercedes seem to have ignored this set of rules with the C220 CDI Sports Coupe which now campaigns with a full 150bhp.
Today's diesel engine is but a pale imitation of its non-filtered high tar predecessor, and is all the better for it. The common-rail diesel unit fitted to the C220 CDI is one of the better units around, and the Sports Coupe shape is beguilingly pretty in the metal. Put them together and you have a quality coupe that will appeal to who exactly? Certainly not penny-pinching aesthetes, the C220 CDI weighing in from a hefty £21,940. Those looking for sharp performance will be seduced by practically every other coupe in this price bracket, which can post performance figures that are in a different ballpark/postal district to the bonny Benz.
Mercedes has never been afraid in ploughing an original furrow, however, the A-class being prima facie evidence of this, and the C220 CDI Sports Coupe is another example of the Stuttgart company refusing to slot their car into the sort of convenient pigeonholes that makes motoring writer's jobs far easier. You could see it as a rival to relatively affordable smart coupes like Alfa Romeo's GTV: a kind of junior CLK if you like. Mercedes however, would prefer you to see it as a rival to premium hatchbacks like Audi's A3, BMW's 1 Series and upper versions of the VW Golf. Lining the sleek Mercedes up against these more upright and dependable (read dull) luminaries is about as challenging as dynamiting fish in a barrel.
"Suddenly the C220CDi Sports Coupe doesn't seem such an eccentric idea after all…"
Take the A3 2.0TDI, the top specified diesel in the Audi Range. The Audi is a quietly confident mainstream hatch, whereas the Mercedes is, however much the company deny it, an affordable, and slightly more cerebral, alternative to the CLK Range. No, those rakish looks really don't lie: this is a coupe, not a premium hatchback: the Stuttgart design department will have to try again on that score. And as a two-door, more dynamic-looking C-class saloon or an entry-level CLK wannabe, it makes a lot of sense. It's smaller than a CLK of course - but you won't really notice any difference unless you habitually sit in the back.
With a consumption figure of 42.8mpg, the C220 CDI Sports Coupe boasts a theoretical open-road Range of well over 600 miles, you'll probably be bamboozled by next-generation forecourt technology at each visit to refuel! The latest facelift also saw the engine receive a sophisticated particulate filter system making the C220CDI fully Euro IV compliant.
Putting on the vaguely sensible shoes for a moment, you'll note that the C220CDI is only around £1,000 more than its C200K Sports Coupe sibling, performance of which is comparable. Factor in the fuel savings over three years motoring and you'll be over £1,000 ahead before you've taken into consideration the diesel car's superior residual value. Any marginal differences in speed are offset by the fact that you'll have greater Range and suddenly the C220CDI Sports Coupe doesn't seem such an eccentric idea after all.
You'll also get 315Nm of torque to destroy petrol powered rivals with on the open road giving the Mercedes effortless muscle through the gears. It's this quality that makes the car feel a great deal quicker than its rest to 60mph sprint of 10 seconds and 139mph top speed would at first suggest. No, it's not one of those diesels that you'd be hard pushed to differentiate from a petrol engine, having a sharp bark at start up and when you accelerate hard, but at part throttle it's creamily smooth, though it has to be said that Mercedes' curious inability to produce a decent manual gearbox is still evident. Best to stick with the sweet five-speed automatic.
The version in fact to go for with this car is not the standard C220CDI SE but the Sport edition variant which for around £1,130 more dresses the car up very nicely. The styling on the car has come in for some subtle revisions that most will find it hard to spot. Front bumper and grille have been redesigned for what Mercedes hope is a 'more powerful feel', while clear-lensed headlamps are now fitted as standard. The interior has been given a slight revision too, with a redesigned three spoke sports steering wheel that features silver control buttons, sports seats and silver appliqués in the centre console. The look is still rather generic Mercedes-Benz but at least there's a little more flair evident. Standard equipment includes a full complement of airbags, ABS, remote central locking, climate control and Mercedes' ESP Electronic Stability Programme. If you want more, there's the option of SE trim which adds various other goodies for £700 more.
Whilst we still can't quite figure out who'd buy it, a drive in the Mercedes C220CDI Sports Coupe has the ability to seduce. Smooth, sleek and a surprisingly affordable proposition, making your street that bit more beautiful need not cost the earth.
The results below show the top C CLASS deals on buyacar
|Mercedes Benz C Class C220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport 2dr diesel coupe|
|Price £28,190||Save £4,750|
|Mercedes Benz C Class C180 BlueEFF Executive SE 4dr Auto [Map Pilot] saloon|
|Price £23,940||Save £4,325|
|Mercedes Benz C Class C250 BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport 2dr Auto coupe|
|Price £29,558||Save £4,882|
|Mercedes Benz C Class C250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport 5dr Auto diesel estate|
|Price £29,626||Save £4,894|
|Mercedes Benz C Class C220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport 2dr Auto diesel coupe|
|Price £29,554||Save £4,886|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT C CLASS DEALS|
|For C-CLASS C220CDI SPORTS COUPE|
|OVERALL||7.6 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|
Let our car quote assistant help you configure your ideal new C Class - it's 100% free and easy to use...
Click below for more information: