The New Mercedes C-Class Coupe Is Competitive Luxury At Its Best

For a starting price of just $40,000, you can own one badass Benz.

Mercedes-Benz has been building cars for well over a 100 years, so we expect they know the business by now. Which is a good thing because on the face of it, selling a $60,000 car for only 40 grand makes no kind of sense.

The knockout new 2017 C-Class Coupe, which we just put to the test on the bucolic coastal roads of Maine, is exactly that, however.

Amped up in style, luxury and performance, we expect it has the competition weeping into their beer steins. Audi’s A5 is just plain dull and overdue for an update, while BMW’s admittedly enjoyable 4 Series Coupe feels a little less luxe.

That’s mostly down to Benz’s blockbuster design for the new car, which gets a longer wheelbase, widened version of the marque’s nifty new diamond-block grille along with swooping lines, frameless door glass, and a rear end which borrows a bit of panache from the S-Class Coupe, which will set you back twice as much.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque pairs with either rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive. It’s not the fastest car in its category, but getting from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds in as plush a ride as this feels pretty damn quick.

And five driving modes let you toggle between comfort and sport setups. Looking at that list – and the C-Coupe’s lissome lines – its hard to fathom how the base price can be just $42,650 for the C300, and $44,650 for the C300 4MATIC which can handle anything winter can unleash.

18” wheels and (optional) natty looking star-shaped rims give the C Coupe even more curb appeal. In a setting like the coast of Maine the car really gets a chance to show off. And it somehow has plenty of eye-drawing presence without seeming at all ostentatious.

The interior is really sweet and of a quality once only found in Mercedes’ top-tier sedans, so nice that it bucks the conventional wisdom that lower-priced models shouldn’t offer the same standard as their more expensive sibs. Here the other German marques have no hope of competing.

Sporty single-piece seats – upgrade to the full leather, it’s beautiful and well worth it – and a stylish dash enfolds the COMAND infotainment display and upgraded Burmester audio system, which sculptural speaker grilles.

The optional head-up display is just one of a smorgasbord of high-tech options offered on the C Coupe, including Mercedes’ class-leading driver assistance systems. While some will pout over the absence of Apple CarPlay, it wasn’t something we lost any sleep over.

The Brilliant Blue Metallic paint on our test car looked damned sharp, with just the right amount of nautical flair for the seaside setting. And the power panorama roof, a class exclusive, let us enjoy the scenery to the fullest.

Mercedes’ mid-range models used to be somewhat lackluster, attributable to the fact that buyers cared mostly about sitting behind a three-point star that wouldn’t break the bank. The new C-Class Coupe reflects a more competitive market and more demanding consumer in the best possible way.

For those who want to kick it up a notch, AMG versions of the C-Class Coupe are now being offered in two different trims, the AMG C43 and C63 S. With the kind of power the letters AMG convey, the C-Class Coupe becomes even more imposing.

At $67,000, the C43 belts out 469 hp getting it to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. And for $75,000, the C63 S offers 503 hp and a 0-60 clock of 3.8 seconds.

That’s the same as the new DB11 from Aston Martin, which not coincidentally now uses AMG engines. Even James Bond knows when to outsource….