Husbands, take note.
It felt like chivalry reborn: “Your seatbelt, madame,” the Mercedes-Benz C300 seems to say as it hands you the silky strap just after you enter the car.
Literally. An arm extends from the side pillar of the car to hand you your seatbelt.
And that’s just the start. From there this luxury coupe drives itself (with some caveats), signals when it needs you, pampers your passengers and accommodates everyone, all at an accessible price and with features typically found in more expensive cars.
Who This Car is For
- Drivers who want to reward (or spoil) themselves
- Singles, couples or drivers who occasionally have back seat passengers (this car seats four)
- Drivers who appreciate top-tier technology
- Drivers who love being surrounded by fine upholstery, design and finishes
- Early adopters who want semi-autonomous driving technology
- Buyers who want a car that is smart about fuel economy, too
This car is all about you – and maybe your passenger, if he’s lucky
The popular C-Class has a new sibling: the sexy C300 coupe. It’s a natural; when Mercedes-Benz introduced the C-Class sedan it was an instant hit for its quality luxuries, innovations and accessible price (the Coupe starts at $44,000; the model we test drove was $59,000).
But, one word: Sedan. Not everyone is ready to (or needs to) relegate their lives to the needs of back seat passengers. For those who can embrace their independence and want a luxury reward, this car is for you.
Here are 10 things the C300 Coupe will do for you (and your passengers, should you choose to share the experience):
1. Moves the front seats forward for you. And then it moves them back again. This is brilliant. Just pull up the chrome handle in the top of the front seat, fold the seat forward and then it automatically, electronically, moves forward creating an adequate amount of foot room for climbing into the back. We found the back seat to be fairly comfortable and the legroom was surprisingly fine, even with the front seat pushed fairly far back. Headroom was another story, though; the slope of the roof makes the back seat more comfortable for smallish passengers.
2. Hands you your seatbelt. Mercedes-Benz created the “Seatbelt Presenter” for coupes that, because of the design of the car, have longer doors and therefore, the seatbelt is hard to reach. The presenter extends from the door frame to hand you your seatbelt so you don’t pull a muscle trying to reach it.
3. Drives semi-autonomously when you want it to. Mercedes-Benz’s Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control paired with lane keep assist will take over driving duties as long as there are no turns (sorry, you have to do that yourself). Just set cruise control, keep your hands on the wheel (it still wants to feel you near) and let the C300 take over. It even comes to a full stop if necessary and picks up speed again when traffic ahead of you starts moving.
4. Projects key driver information on the windshield. Need to know the speed limit on the road you’re driving? Just look up. Need to know when the next turn is on your route? Just look forward. Need to know how fast you’re going? Yeah, you get it: head up display (HUD) puts this information and more right where you’re looking so you don’t need to glance at that beautiful touchscreen on the dashboard.
5. Lets you customize your drive experience. I prefer eco drive. Except when I don’t. The C300 Coupe lets you choose between four different drive modes: Comfort, Eco (which regulates air conditioning heated seats and other fuel-draining features as well as the engine speed), Sport and Sport+; a fifth setting lets you create your own custom mode. Eco fuel economy with sport power, please (OK, probably not).
6. Infotainment and driver settings at your fingertips—literally. A mouse-like controller lets you swipe to set the radio, navigation and more. Or, use the rotary dial right in front of it. Or, push buttons to get what you want. Almost every function is easily at hand so you’re never too far from that perfect song, temperature or destination.
7. A magic trunk. Really. In a coupe you need a functional trunk. Think about it: do you really want to fold the seat forward and climb into the back to get your case of paper towels from Costco? Or your shopping bags from Neiman’s? Clearly, the engineers at Mercedes-Benz agree, so they outfitted the trunk with a hands free trunk access (with the key is in your purse, just swipe your foot under the rear bumper and voila, it opens), a hook that hangs from the trunk’s ceiling to hold your groceries and a latch that unlocks the back seats so they can fold down to hold your skis, snowboard or that super plush rug you just picked up at Homegoods. A little side note about the trunk: it only opens with the auto kick function, a button on the key fob or a button near the driver’s seat; there is no hood release on the outside of the trunk itself. You’ll need to keep this in mind and remember to open the trunk for the bell staff when valet parking at a hotel.
8. Never lets a little rain spoil your fun. That’s because the C300 has rain-sensing wipers—just set it and forget it— and a panoramic sunroof that will close automatically if raindrops are felt. And, the sunroof has another cool feature: if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to take the time to close the sunroof before you get out of the car, you can hold down the lock button on the key fob and it will close the roof for you as you walk away. Pretty sweet.
9. Never lets a little snow spoil your fun. The C300 Coupe is available in 4Matic, the Mercedes-Benz lingo for all wheel drive. What this means is that you’ll never be stuck in bad weather because your car can’t manage the roads.
10. Makes you look great. Well, that goes without saying, right? But here’s why: Beautiful design on the outside; its graceful, elegant and swooping lines really capture the eye. But that panoramic sun roof gives all the coupe’s occupants a distinct glow, as do the interior lights, which have a sparkly, star-like quality to them. And if all that isn’t enough, the sense of pampering you get from this car will surely put a warm glow in your smile and a little swagger in your step.
The C300 Coupe is the first of a line of two-door siblings that will fill out the C-Class line this year; expect to see a convertible version and not one but two editions from the performance-focused (and super luxe) AMG line this summer. And then, let the spoiling continue.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Mercedes-Benz, which provided travel and accommodations, on the C300 test drive. All opinions expressed here are my own.