While most manufacturers think luxury compact coupes need to be sporty, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class proves otherwise. The motoring world has become obsessed with chasing lap times and bringing down zero to sixty times, and it feels as if people can't appreciate a car just for being beautiful; it has to be fast too. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe wants to change that perspective: it's stunning to look at - especially compared to the bucktoothed BMW 4 Series - rides as a luxury coupe should, and delivers just enough power from its 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to entertain but not rearrange your internal organs. The interior is typical Mercedes and shows a design flair and sophistication that is hard to find elsewhere in this segment. But above all else, there is no pretense. This is not a sports coupe, this is a luxury coupe, and against the 4 Series and Audi A5 Coupe, Mercedes' commitment to its own ideology is a breath of fresh air.
The C-Class Coupe remains mostly unchanged for 2021, but Mercedes-Benz has added a few noteworthy features as standard that should help the C-Class stand out from the competition. Now standard for 2021 is a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that does a great job of lifting the interior, and the front seats now get heating from the factory.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class range of cars are some of the best looking in the executive sedan market, but the Coupe looks even better with its sleek and sculpted body lines. The Coupe features standard 18-inch five-spoke wheels, a panorama roof, and LED headlights. Optional extras include an AMG body styling package, 19-inch wheels, and gloss black exterior accents. Wider haunches than the sedan and narrow taillights also help differentiate it from its four-door counterpart.
Despite being classed in the same category, the C-Class Coupe is around 3.4 inches shorter than the BMW 4 Series Coupe. The total length measures 184.5 inches while it measures 79.4 inches from mirror to mirror. The car's overall height is 55.3 inches in RWD form while the addition of AWD raises this marginally to 55.6 inches. Regardless, both derivatives roll on a 111.8-inch wheelbase. The base model weighs 3,527 lbs, while the 4Matic adds some pounds for a final curb weight of 3,682 lbs.
The Coupe doesn't pretend to be a full-blown sports car; that's what its bigger AMG-powered siblings are for. Instead, the C-Class Coupe pairs its stunning looks with enough power to feel lively but never outright fast. Under the hood of the shapely German lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces a healthy 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear or all four wheels via a smooth and precise nine-speed automatic transmission. The C-Class Coupe doesn't feel like the fastest car in its segment, but it doesn't need to; the rest of the package contributes just as much in terms of the overall effect. But don't think this is a slow car; both RWD and AWD cars will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.9 seconds - that's as fast as a 1991 BMW M5 - placing them firmly in hot hatch territory.
As with the powertrain setup, the ride and handling find a comfortable middle ground between outright sportiness and refinement. But this doesn't behave in the same way as the C-Class Sedan - not at all. That's because the C Coupe has a bespoke suspension setup on the rear axle that makes it better to drive, giving you a healthy dose of mechanical grip and pliancy over bumps when cornering with some vigor. It maintains comfort levels - despite 18-inch wheels riding a little harshly - while allowing a certain amount of dynamism, too. Selective damping as standard allows you to change the C-Class's persona, stiffening things up in Sport and Sport + driving modes, but Comfort is where it's at its best.
It turns out that the RWD C-Class Coupe is the most fuel-efficient of the entire C-Class family, with EPA-rated figures of 24/33/27 mpg city/highway/combined. The AWD 4Matic manages 23/32/26 mpg. These numbers aren't the worst we've seen, but competitors such as the BMW 4 Series deliver better results at 26/34/29 mpg. The C-Class Coupe comes with a 17.4-gallon fuel tank, giving it a maximum range of between 452 miles and 470 miles.
No one buying a coupe will expect tons of interior space, but the Mercedes-Benz fares well. The front seats are sporty and offer generous support, all while looking rather fabulous. There is enough legroom and headroom for taller adults, too, with the figures suggesting 42 and 38.8 inches, respectively. It's a different story in the rear, however: the seating surface is hard and unforgiving, and the limited legroom prohibits taller passengers from ever getting genuinely comfortable. If you're going on a long trip, consider this car a two-seater, but for daily use, you can squeeze in four at a push.
The C-Class Coupe was never destined to carry a month's worth of groceries for the entire family, so if that's one of your prerequisites, then look elsewhere. For the professional who only carries a briefcase or laptop bag, or even a weekend getaway's luggage for two, this car will work just fine. The trunk lid opens up nice and wide, and a low liftover height means that you get to make the most of the 10.5 cubic feet of space on offer. Thankfully the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat opens up a significant amount more space. The interior offers a glovebox, center console storage bin, door bins, and four cupholders for smaller items.
There's a reason why people go for the three-pointed star: not only do you get a share of brand recognition, but you also get a premium driving experience, and these days a big part of that experience boils down to the features list. The interior of the 2021 C-Class Coupe spoils its occupants with heated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, a power sunroof, electric trunk closer, extendable sun visors, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and 64-color LED ambient lighting. Even the steering column is power-adjustable. Driver assistance features such as blind-spot assist with exit warning, driver attention assist, and Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe are also standard. Those looking to bolster the spec can add optional extras such as wireless phone charging and a head-up display, while cold-weather climes make the heated steering wheel an appealing option.
The C-Class Coupe's cabin is refined and elegantly proportioned, but it also comes with an impressive infotainment system. The standard 10.25-inch display is perched neatly atop the four air vents and looks rather futuristic. Unfortunately the C-Class Coupe does not come with the latest MBUX system. The COMAND system it utilizes is interacted with through steering wheel controls and a rotary controller, but the $1,250 multimedia Package adds a touchpad controller, COMAND navigation, and voice control. The C-Class Coupe's infotainment system also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, dual USB ports, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, and HD Radio. The standard 13-speaker Burmester sound system is perfectly tuned to blast It's Over By Ty Segall all day long.
The 2021 model year has seen no recalls by the NHTSA, but 2020 saw two recalls issued for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. These recalls included an inaccurate vehicle location reading for emergency services, and turbocharger oil feed and return lines that may leak. Mercedes-Benz will cover the C-Class Coupe with a decent four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, including corrosion, drivetrain, and roadside assistance for the same time/distance.
Mercedes-Benz is well-known for building safe cars, so you can't go wrong with the C-Class Coupe. According to the IIHS's review, the C-Class Sedan performed well enough to deserve a Top Safety Pick Plus award, so the Coupe should be a rather safe car as it shares much of the four-door's platform. Standard safety features include eight airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain, and front passenger knee airbags), LED headlights, blind-spot warning, driver attention assist, active brake assist, and cross-wind assist. Optional safety systems include a surround-view camera system and a slew of semi-autonomous driving systems.
In a market headlined by super sports cars, it is sometimes refreshing to find a vehicle that doesn't take things too seriously and focuses on looking good and being comfortable, over beating Nurburgring lap times. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is a good looking car from any angle, and in this segment of the coupe market, that counts for a lot. It might not have AMG levels of power, but its 255-hp turbocharged four-pot will still get you to sixty in the same time it would take a 1990s BMW M5, so it's not slow. On the road it delivers crisp, but not overly athletic, handling and the ride is suitable for long road trips. There's also a good amount of space for front-seat passengers and a usable trunk. The C-Class Coupe offers a lot of standard tech, including a newly standard 10.25-inch driver cluster. Safety systems abound, and you even get a good warranty. Merc has done well with its baby coupe - playing to its strengths rather than keeping up with the Joneses.
No Mercedes-Benz coupe will ever be cheap, but the C-Class Coupe can be considered entry-level. Still, to get behind the wheel of the cheapest one will cost you $47,200 excluding registration, taxes, and a destination fee of $1,050. To get all four wheels spinning on the 4Matic trim, you'll have to fork out $49,200. That is still well short of the starting price of $64,950 for the E-Class Coupe. Fully loaded, the 4Matic can cost up to $65k.
There are two models to choose from, starting with the base C300 Coupe and ending with the AWD C300 4Matic. Both are powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder inline-four engine producing 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to either the rear wheels or all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Standard features on both include dual-zone climate control, an electric trunk closer, extendable sun visors, a power sunroof, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and 64-color LED ambient lighting. Other than driving different wheels, the 4Matic does not differ from the base model. Because the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is not a full-blown sports car, it would not make sense to go for the more expensive AWD car. Stick with the classic RWD format and set off into the sun. Simple.
The 2021 Audi A5 Coupe is the cheapest of the German trio by a slight margin, but that does not make it the worst, not by a long shot. The A5 saw a refresh in 2020 and, as with the Merc, delivers a solid balance of looks, performance, and luxury without being too hardcore or sport-focused. The Audi A5 Coupe is also powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot but produces slightly more power at 261 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Merc, the Audi sends its power exclusively to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Gas mileage figures of 23/34/27 mpg city/highway/combined can be expected. The A5 is less dramatic to look at but provides a more engaging driving experience. The cabin is just as comfortable but once again fails to match the C-Class's design flair. Go with the Mercedes-Benz if you're after looks and luxury, or go for the Audi if you're a numbers person who values more power, better gas mileage, and a slightly larger trunk.
The BMW 4 Series has always been a strong competitor in the executive coupe market, but the 2021 model brings some mild controversy to the table in the form of a face only a mother could love. BMW's new design language has blessed the BMW 4 Series Coupe with a stupid face, but the rest of the car remains brilliant. The 4 Series Coupe is available in RWD and AWD guise, and power ranges from 255 hp and 295 lb-ft in 430i models and goes up to 382 hp and 369 lb-ft in the M440i xDrive. In its least powerful configuration, the BMW will return a more efficient 26/34/29 mpg city/highway/combined. It is on the road where this BMW truly shines: it is more engaging to drive and will put a smile on your face every time to guide it through a set of corners. Both cars are more or less equal in terms of refinement and practicality, so it boils down to style and grace, or pace with an ugly face.