2014 Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Sport review
Mark Higgins’ 2014 Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe Sport review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.
Mercedes Benz has enjoyed solid sales growth here, setting a new record last year thanks to the A & B class hatches and the C-class range, which has long been the biggest seller in the lineup. Launched here in August 2011 to coincide with the mid life upgrade of the sedan, the five model C-class coupe range starts at $59,900 (+ORC) for the entry level C180 Coupe, and tops out at $137,000 (+ORC) for the AMG C63, with its barnstorming 6.2-litre V8.For around half the price of a C63, there’s the C250 Coupe Sport that still delivers plenty of on road panache and enough dash to suit most buyers. Although it’s not a full-blown AMG like its big brother, the ‘Benz performance division has taken the C250 Coupe behind closed doors and waved their magic wand over it, so it can legitimately wear the ‘Sport’ badge.
Although the coupé has been around since 2011, it’s still a good looker and up to date from any angle. It shares its width and wheelbase with the sedan while being a fraction (9mm) longer, but the biggest difference is the steeply raked front and rear windscreens which are vastly lower, by (38mm) roofline. The coupé has a wide low front with a full width air intake under the two bar grilles that wears a large three pointed star. The wrap around headlamps, front spoiler and low set daytime running lights; give it a real on-road presence.
The Sport wears an AMG body kit that includes a front spoiler, side skirts, high gloss black door mirrors, and a boot lip spoiler and rear diffuser. AMG lowered suspension and 18-inch seven twin-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in low profile Pirelli P-Zero tyres, fill the slightly flared guards nicely.The Coupé has a high hip line that extends from the front guards to the large LED tail lights and its long bonnet, short boot lid and low roof give it a swoopy, flowing, integrated look.
Inside there’s a blend of sportiness and elegance to give the interior a rich ambience. The red stitching on the black seats, steering wheel and gear lever surround are complemented with red seat belts, a nice touch. The electrically adjustable, heated, body hugging sport seats are quite firm but cosseting with plenty of body and thigh support.
The electrically adjustable, flat-bottomed, thick-rimmed steering wheel has a good arc of reach and tilt with the obligatory paddle shifts as well as buttons for the phone, audio and multi information display. Down below are the brushed stainless steel Sports pedals with rubber studs for grip.Surfaces are non-glare and the controls and switchgear have a solid and tactile feel to them.
Splashed across the dash and doors are brushed aluminium panels. The three-dial silver faced, black needle instrument cluster also houses the multi information display and to its left is the screen for the audio and phone information and reversing camera.
ROOM & PRACTICALITY
Up front, the steeply raked windscreen and low roofline robs headroom for taller folk, however there is plenty of leg and shoulder room and the seatbelts are easy to reach, something that can’t be said about all two door cars.A
s you would expect in a coupé with a low roofline, rear passenger head is very tight, but legroom is not to bad. However the small side windows and rising bodyline could make it a bit feel claustrophobic for some. There are aircon/heating vents for the rear passengers as well as two cup holders and a storage area between the two seats.
The long doors open wide for easy access to the rear seats and close with a reassuring thunk. The 450-litre boot has a comfortable loading height and best of all, no intrusions from hinges. Under the floor is the space saver tyre. Bulky items can be easily carried as the rear seats fold down in a 60-40 split. The boot easily swallowed the weekly shop, with nothing falling over on the trip home.
When the ignition is switched off, the door mirrors fold in and momentarily shine a light on the ground, which is ideal on dark roadways or unlit driveways.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
The C250 Sport’s Dynamic Handling package driving system, comprising efficiency, manual and sport gives the driver three different set up choices at the push of a button. The default setting is ‘efficiency’ mode, which was fine for urban and even freeway driving. The ride was comfortable, gear changes soft and throttle response relaxed.
Push the button located just next to the gearlever into ‘Sport’ or ‘Manual’ modes and the C250 Sport lives up to its namesake. It instantly feels like a very different beast.The dampers become firmer and deliver excellent feedback and you feel every bump, dip and ripple, it’s magic. Throttle response is sharper, the electro mechanical power steering is more direct and the seven-speed auto changes gears with more purpose and at higher revs.
Although the firmer damping keeps the Sport composed and flat through corners, it’s never uncomfortable, just enjoyable. There’s no hint of body roll and it feels planted at all times. The heavily bolstered sports seats keep you in place and well supported even during the most vigorous cornering. Fade-free stopping power is courtesy of the big disc brakes and meaty Mercedes branded brake calipers.
The steering is very direct and superbly weighted; allowing you to attack corners with pinpoint accuracy and inspires confidence. We selected ‘manual’ mode for one windy stretch of coastal roads and played with the steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles. As much as that was fun, the seven-speed box and its electronic brain is so good, we left it in drive and it never disappointed.
Seeing through corners was sometimes a little challenging with the wide A-pillars and raked windscreen, but after a short while it became second nature and the reversing camera was a real help as the raked rear window meant a smallish aperture to look through. Overall, though, visibility was quite good. The power and economy from the four-cylinder 1.8-litre engine was impressive and its light weight meant it felt very balanced.
The C250 Coupé Sport has a 1.8-litre direct-injection turbocharged engine that delivers 150 kilowatts and 310 newton metres and shoots the coupé to 100kmh in 7.2 seconds, with the top speed electronically limited to 210km/h and the 59 litre fuel tank takes 95RON. It also proved to be quite economical, returning 8.7L/100km overall.
Coupled to the engine is seven-speed auto transmission with three modes, efficiency, manual and sport. As the name suggests, efficiency mode alters the shift points in the transmission and throttle response for maximum economy and it sometimes feels a bit flat.
However, selecting manual or sport modes improves throttle and gearbox response with the upshifts accompanied by a little turbo flutter and downshifts getting a rev boost. At low revs, the exhaust note can be a bit flat but push the throttle a little harder and it emits a nice sporty rasp most of the time. The engine puts out the same power and torque as the standard C250 sedans, wagons and coupes, it’s the sports and manual modes that make the difference to the coupe’s feel and performance.
RIDE & HANDLING
The AMG engineers have done an excellent job in tuning the suspension to provide a gentle ride while in efficiency mode, yet make it so composed flat and planted and fun in Sport and Manual mode.
You can really feel a difference between efficiency and the other two modes and given its ‘Sport’ moniker, that should be the default setting for the car. It’s never tiring to drive regardless which mode you’re in. The quick ratio steering is light at low speeds and superbly weighted as the speeds rise and very communicative. Providing outstanding grip as well as a comfortable ride are the Pirelli PZero tyres that only produced the slightest amount of noise over a variety of surfaces.
Mercedes have long set the quality benchmark and as you would expect, the fit, finish, and materials used throughout the C250 Sport were first class. The feel of the switches, controls and stalks to the operation of the centre console lid shows the attention detail and quality the brand is renowned for.
PRICING & EQUIPMENT
The C250 has hit a sweet spot with customers and is the biggest seller in the C-class coupé range and to ‘build’ a Coupe Sport goes like this. You start with a $70,990 C250 coupe then you add $3990 for the 250 Sports pack which included the sport body kit, 18-inch alloy wheels, sports steering wheel, Mercedes-Benz embossed brake calipers, drilled front brake discs, lowered sports suspension, sports pedals, speed-sensitive sports steering, ‘SPORT’ badges, sports exhaust system, sports tuning of engine and transmission in Sport and Manual mode and black leather seats with red stitching.
The C250 Coupe Sport also had the $2490 ‘Seat Comfort Pack’ which gave you power adjustable and heated front seats with memory, passenger mirror with reverse parking position and electrically adjustable steering column. The Driver Assist package of Active Blind Spot and Active Lane Keeping Assist added $2790. And finally the Vision Pack comprising panoramic glass sunroof with tilt/slide, a superb Harman Kardon surround sound system with 12 speakers and KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system for which sets you back a further $4990. Warranty – The Mercedes Benz warranty is three years unlimited kilometres.
Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist complete the C 250 Sport’s electronic safety suite, while occupants are protected by eight airbags (front, front side, rear side, full-length curtain).The C250 Coupe Sport also featured the optional Driver Assist pack that included lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring. A small triangle sits in each door mirror. When safe to switch to another lane the triangle remained blank, if there was a car nearby they glowed orange and if it was deemed unsafe, they glowed red. Venturing out of the lane got you an audio warning as well. Another feature was brake hold. By pushing your foot firmly on the brake pedal, it would hold the car until you pushed the accelerator.