I adore the Mercedes-Benz C-Class because it is luxurious and sporting without drawing undue attention to itself. Our C350 coupe looks great, and it doesn’t have any of the frivolous creases or wings or gaping air vents that adorn some of its German rivals. The same is true of the interior: you get a lovely, no-nonsense cabin that is functional and elegant, yet devoid of silly styling flourishes.
That said, people do seem to be drawn to the Mercedes more so than with other luxury cars. My totally informal impression is that friends and family are far more impressed when I show up in a Mercedes than a BMW or an Audi. For many people, that sort of badge snobbery is incredibly important.
The Mercedes is refined and comfortable yet also offers plenty of performance and driving fun if you push it. I loved driving the C350 and found it a willing companion whether I was blasting down a highway on-ramp or just cruising through downtown. The Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe is an excellent car, and I would buy one over a BMW 3-Series or an Audi A5 every time.
Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor
The Mercedes-Benz C350 4MATIC has 302 hp and only two doors, but Mercedes doesn’t call it a sports car. If you look carefully, the word “sport” doesn’t appear anywhere in or on the car. That’s appropriate, because of all the things the C350 is, sporty isn’t one of them. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine has excellent grunt and sounds great toward the upper end of the tach, but the transmission’s response time when you pull the steering-wheel-mounted paddles is glacial. I appreciate the notion of shift paddles but the C350’s set doesn’t work well. With 4Matic all-wheel drive, the C350 at least does a good job of putting its V-6 engine’s 300 hp to the ground; you’ll never spin your tires leaving an intersection, no matter how hard you mash the accelerator pedal. I agree with Jake that the C-class is more luxurious than either the 335i xDrive coupe or the Audi S5, but I suspect that either one would run rings (four rings, in the S5’s case) around the C-class when the driving gets enthusiastic.
Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor
I’m not sure why Mercedes waited so long to release the coupe version of the C-class. It has a long-lived natural rival–the two-door BMW 3-series–and it couldn’t have cost all that much to engineer. That said, it looks decidedly dated to me, particularly from the side profile. The very large rear side windows resemble those of the early 2000s (E46) BMW 3-series.
The steering wheel feels great, but the steering is too light and overassisted for my liking. Overall this C-class didn’t impress me all that much, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I drove the AMG edition first. Had I driven this all-wheel-drive C350 coupe on a slick wintry morning and not a summery evening, perhaps it would have made a stronger, more positive impression on me. Personally, though, I’d rather have an A5 in my garage.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
With temperatures in the 70s during my stint with this C350, I hardly had the proper weather to put Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system to the test. But my previous experience with the system in larger S and CL models left me impressed with how well it grips in slick conditions. I can say that this C350 coupe felt little different from the rear-wheel-drive C350 coupe we tested late last year, perhaps a testament to just how unobtrusive the all-wheel-drive system is when it’s not needed.
I’ve loved this two-door C-Class model since it came out last year, and still think its exterior looks both rakish and elegant. The interior is equally handsome, and a break from the drab, monotonous cabins that used to plague entry-level Benz models. The contrasting stitching on the voluptuous bucket seats is attractive, and the depth and finish of the burl wood trim accents is intoxicating.
The C350 may not look as boy-racerish as some of its rivals, but it’s hard to argue Mercedes isn’t providing it with some serious hardware to have fun with. A firmer, sport-tuned suspension is standard equipment. Interestingly, the C-Class coupes are the only all-wheel-drive C Class models available here with Benz’s sweet, silky direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6. Order a C-Class sedan with the 4MATIC system, and you’re forced into the C300 4MATIC model. The C300 makes do with a smaller 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 74 fewer horses than the 3.5-liter six.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
2012 Mercedes-Benz C350 4MATIC Coupe
MSRP (with destination): $43,245
PRICE AS TESTED: $52,115
3.5-liter DOHC V-6
Horsepower: 302 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
WHEELS AND TIRES:
18-inch aluminum wheels
225/45YR-18 Continental ContiSportContact front tires
255/35YR-18 Continental ContiSportContact rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
Cargo: 11.7 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.0/33.0 in
Headroom (front/rear): 37.0/35.5 in
Power panorama sunroof
Automatic dual-zone climate control
10-way power driver’s seat
Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Harman/Kardon surround sound system
SiriusXM satellite radio
3-spoke steering wheel w/shift paddles
Burl walnut interior accents
Split folding rear seats
Rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers
17-inch AMG aluminum wheels
Sport body styling w/rear spoiler
Stability and traction control
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
4MATIC all-wheel drive – $2000
Full leather seating package – $1750
Lighting package – $1290
Headlight cleaning system
Adaptive highbeam assist
Bi-xenon headlights w/curve illumination
Multimedia package – $2790
COMAND system w/hard-drive navigation
3D map views
10GB music register and Gracenote media database
7-inch LCD screen
SD memory card slot
18-inch AMG aluminum wheels- $1040
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Lane tracking package – $850
The only other Mercedes-Benz C-class car offered with 4MATIC is the C300 sedan, which is powered by a less potent V-6 than the C350.