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MAYNARD'S GARAGE- Coupe Appeal: Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4-Seater is Sweet, Simple, Complicated PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Maynard   
Friday, 28 June 2013 03:28

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The C-Class coupe is sold in three power packages with pricing that ranges from $38,000 to $63,000.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe is a lithe young thing with the looks, the pecs and the legs to go far in this segment of luxury two-doors.

It is a car in which to be noticed in a group of coupes that is appearance conscious. Among the choices are the Audi A5, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS and Infiniti G37.

The two-door Benz is a lifestyle car that sells on its want-appeal, not as a need for transportation. The C-coupe is sold in three power packages: 201-horsepower turbo four-cylinder (today's tester), a 302-horsepower V-6 ($44,105) and 451-horsepower AMG V-8 ($63,235). And the V- 6 can be optioned with all-wheeldrive for $2,000.

The four-cylinder C250 starts at $38,705 — and was $44,220 as tested.

There is a purity and simplicity to the styling and drivability of the C250. There is brisk power when the Sport setting is engaged. Fuel economy is good at 22/31 mpg city/highway on premium fuel. And the 17.4-gallon tank provides a wide cruising range.

The combination of rear-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension gives a secure, pushback feel on acceleration and in aggressive cornering. The steering has linear smoothness and precision that unwinds through a hefty steering wheel that reinforces a perception of control.

The good engineering can be felt in how the 3,500-pound car cuts left and right with flat direction. Braking is sure from the four-wheel discs, 11.6-inch vented and perforated at the front and 11.8-inch solid rear.

Sightlines are good over the short dashboard to the front fenders and then over the shoulder. The turning circle is tight at 35.6 feet but the doors seem long and weighty. That's an issue in tight parking.

Technically, this four-seater is a subcompact. The front has good shoulder room and a feeling of openness. The 37 inches of headroom is reduced somewhat by the standard panorama sunroof.

These glass roofs are dramatic features — at first. But soon they are features most appreciated by the back-seat passengers. And with a scant 33 inches of rear legroom those will be infrequent occupants.

Trunk space at 11.7 cubic may seem small by the numbers, but the usable room is functional and the seatbacks fold to expand space.

Benefits to buying a Benz include safety. New this year is a Hold feature on the Adaptive Braking, which allows the driver to lift from the brake pedal while the car is held in place at a light. During uphill starts, Hill-Start Assist helps prevent unwanted rollback.

And if the driver lifts off the accelerator suddenly, Predictive Brake Priming sets the pads closer to the discs for an immediate and forceful response, if needed In the rain, Automatic Brake Drying periodically applies the brakes just enough to sweep water from the discs.

There is a sweetness to the simplicity of this four-cylinder coupe. But the as-tested price gets into the V-6 territory.

The Sport package, $2,800, seemed aggressive for a fourcylinder. But the Premium package, $1,995, is a positive for its satellite radio and media interface, heated front seats, Harman- Kardon Logic7 audio upgrade.

Or even the $2,790 MultiMedia Package, includes a 7-inch screen for a rearview camera, which would be a help for this car. And I'm a proponent of KeylessGo, $650, which adds the proximity locking/unlocking and push-button ignition.

I'd also seriously considering the prepaid maintenance coverage, which would be $1,499 for four years. Basic warranty coverage is for 4-years or 50,000- miles. But just about any repair outside of warranty items could equal the cost of sensible protection. There also is a parking system for $950. And the Driver Assist Package, $2,950, adds electronic attendants to watch your lanes and blind spots.

If this were a rational decision, $25,000 could buy a snug Kia sedan with such niceties as a heated steering wheel, leather, cooled AND heated front seats, navi and rearview camera.

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Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 03:30