Mercedes C-Class

Whether it is the lacklustre performance or basic trim, Mercedes' cheapest models rarely live up to the reputation of the badge. But that has not stopped the manufacturer from trying to improve things. The three-door C160 K Sports Coup� is its latest effort. Mixing entry-level prices with a dose of desirability, it is just got even cheaper.

Despite its lowly status, the base Sports Coup� is more than capable. The gearbox could be better, but the 120bhp engine provides decent performance and rea-sonable running costs. The problem is the price - it is still expensive.

Whether it is the lacklustre performance or basic trim, Mercedes' cheapest models rarely live up to the reputation of the badge. But that has not stopped the manufacturer from trying to improve things. The three-door C160 K Sports Coupe is its latest effort. Mixing entry-level prices with a dose of desirability, it is just got even cheaper.

With its 120bhp 1.8-litre supercharged engine, the base model can sprint from 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds - which is 1.7 seconds slower than the C180 K. The difference is less obvious on the road, where the Sports Coupe rarely feels slow. The weakest part of the drivetrain is the notchy manual transmission, with its overly sensitive clutch.

Despite the drop in pace, the car offers little advantage in economy over the more powerful variant. So why choose it? At £19,490, it is £1,155 cheaper than the C180 K. It is no bargain, but compared to the rest of the range it makes the most sense.

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