The Mercedes-Benz lineup used to be nice and simple, but how the times have changed. The German manufacturer now cranks out more than a dozen model lines, and it will populate another niche next year when it launches a C-class coupe. Simultaneously, the Euro-market CLC—which was sold here briefly in the early 2000s as a C-class coupe—will be killed.
The new C-class coupe, which we've caught here almost without disguise, looks sleek and semi-compact. A nice kink in the shoulder line almost touches the taillights, and goes on to blend into the rear spoiler. The headlights and taillights draw a direct connection to the C-class sedan, and the short notchback makes the new C-class coupe look more substantial than the CLC. The overall impression is not unlike the second-generation CLK, the car replaced by the new E-class coupe.
Typically, carmakers try to differentiate coupe versions from the sedans they are based on, usually with different lighting units and fascias. Mercedes hasn’t done so here, and we think we know why: The company needs to underscore the new car's status as a member of the C family as strongly as it tries to obfuscate the E coupe's relation to the C-class. After all, the E-class coupe and convertible share much with the C, but they are styled to resemble the E-class—and expected to collect a substantial premium from buyers.
Similar mechanicals for less money could make the C coupe the more interesting car. It will come with a number of powerplants from the company's parts bin, likely including several variations of its 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder, producing between 154 and 201 hp; a 228-hp, 3.0-liter V-6; and the 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6.
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