Mercedes C180 Coupe

We hit the road in entry-level C-Class two-door coupe

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The C180 is the cheapest C-Class Coupé by some margin – although at £30,000, it’s still expensive. And while the engine is smooth and refined, it feels sluggish compared to the rest of the range. The car also emits the most CO2 in the regular line-up. It scores on interior quality and visual impact, but our advice would be to save up for the faster and more efficient C220 CDI fitted with a seven-speed auto box.

Does entry-level always mean bargain basement? This C180 is the most basic Mercedes C-Class Coupe you can buy – so we took the keys to find out if it can keep pace with the rest of the range.

It’s not cheap, at £30,720, and you don’t get a particularly big engine for the money. The 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo offers only 154bhp and 250Nm of torque – low figures for the premium class.

Price, not pace, is the key benefit. This variant undercuts the next most expensive C-Class Coupe, the 168bhp C220 CDI manual, by nearly £2,500.

However, with emissions of 169g/km, the C180 is the most polluting model in the line-up – with the exception of the C63 AMG Coupé – and is much more expensive to tax as a company car than a 146g/km BMW 318 Coupe.

On the move, the turbocharged powerplant is smooth and quiet. Just don’t expect fireworks when you plant your right foot. The gentle surge of acceleration will seem alien to anyone used to driving torquey diesels from the three-pointed star. Still, there’s enough shove to get up to motorway speed, and once there, the car is a relaxed cruiser.

Changing gear yourself is a rare experience in a Mercedes, but the rubbery action can’t match the precision of the rest of the package. The stop-start system is well integrated and unobtrusive, the steering has good feedback, body roll is kept in check and the brakes are strong. Even so, when you compare it with a 3 Series Coupe, the Merc has obviously been tuned with comfort in mind.

Remove the C180 badge on the boot, and passers-by won’t realise you’re in the base model, though. Every UK car gets the AMG styling kit, which includes 18-inch wheels, wide bodywork and suspension lowered by 15mm. And despite the sportier chassis settings and large wheels, the Coupé retains its composure on all but the worst road surfaces.

The styling can look a little bulky from some angles, but with the AMG trinkets attached, it certainly grabs the attention. Interior quality is excellent, and there’s even an element of practicality. The boot serves up a generous 450-litre capacity and the two spacious individual rear seats can be folded to create an even bigger load area. All in all, though, we’d opt for a larger diesel over this entry petrol car.

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