Getting into the well-appointed interior of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC Coupe put a smile on our face. Those smiles quickly became frowns once we were underway, as the car seemed to broadcast every pebble hit directly to our backsides.
“Are you sure the car isn’t in Sport mode?” asks our passenger. It’s not; checking the settings confirms that the C300 is currently in Comfort mode. The name implies a buttery smooth ride, yet the noise and vibration levels were high enough to create a discordant experience between its luxury persona and reality.
One of the problems is under the hood. The C300 uses the same 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 found in the CLA, though here it’s mated to a traditional seven-speed automatic instead of a dual-clutch one. While the engine is sufficient for the 3,300-pound CLA, the 3,770-pound heft of the C300 is a bit much. Stepping on the throttle provides four-cylinder noise and not much else, leave you patiently waiting for speedier acceleration to arrive.
Unlike the engine, the exterior of the C300 4MATIC Coupe is positively lovely. The elegant S-Class design language works seamlessly on the shorter C-Class wheelbase and the plunging lines give the car an injection of much-needed class. After all, this is no longer Mercedes’ introductory offering; that distinction now goes to the CLA.
The S-Class influence continues to the interior of the C300 Coupe. Every dial, knob, and swath of leather feels worthy of the brand’s luxe history. Each surface implies wealth and gives the owner an experience beyond the $45,575 starting price. The optional Burmester stereo further elevates the interior experience by offering a concert hall-like experience with enveloping surround sound—an audiophile’s dream. Soft seat cushions help minimize the amount of jerkiness felt through the car, but the height at which the seat is set from the floor is far too high, at least for a 6-foot-4-inch individual, whose head is situated high enough to be knocked into the roof by an errant pothole.
We’d be inclined to enjoy the sporty ride could if the car’s engine was more inspired. But it isn’t. And while the exterior and interior are wonderfully designed, the driving experience leaves you feeling like Mercedes wasn’t sure if it wanted the C300 Coupe to be a sports car, a luxury car, or an economy car.
2017 Mercedes C-Class C300 4MATIC Coupe Specifications
|Engine:||2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/241 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 273 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm|
|Layout:||2-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe|
|EPA Mileage:||23/29 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H:||184.5 x 71.3 x 55.3 in|
|0-60 MPH:||5.9 sec|