It’s noticeably better than the old car. For starters the front end feels more connected and willing to turn in, and in Comfort mode the steering has good assistance, building weight more intuitively than that of a BMW 4 Series Coupé. It doesn’t have buckets of old-school feel, and in Sport mode it becomes a bit too heavy, but you can mix and match the settings to compensate.
In Sport it pumps a bit more air into those springs and feels all the more planted as a result. It holds itself together admirably across ragged roads, and if you barrel into a bend there is a hint of roll, but once it settles, the C-Class Coupé earns your trust.
Even when the stakes are high in long, fast, sweepers, you feel you can rely on its inherent stability and balance. It’s still more of a blunt instrument than a 4 Series, which has a little more finesse, but there’s no doubting its effectiveness.
The Mercedes will outdo the BMW in terms of comfort, however, even in this sportier AMG Line guise. Toggle the Dynamic Select switch back to Comfort and it relaxes the springs, and even on 18in wheels it patters over the worst bumps and ridges. At speed there’s a bit of wind noise from around the door mirrors, the tyres kick up a bit of din over coarse surfaces, but the same criticisms apply to the BMW.
While the new, optional nine-speed automatic gearbox is snappy enough when you manually pull the paddles, in auto mode it slurs away through its many ratios without you ever really noticing. And when it’s at a steady 70mph in top gear the engine’s pulling just 1350rpm, so you barely notice that, either.
That said, whenever you need to accelerate, the gruff-sounding twin-turbo 2.1-litre diesel is the weak link, letting out a particularly coarse rumble. It’s reasonably quick, mind, but we reckon the more powerful C 250 is still a better choice, making even more sense in this Coupé than it does in the Saloon.
The interior looks fabulous and far more interesting than anything else in the class. However, when you start fiddling, the sense of quality does feel only skin deep in places; a wobbly bull’s-eye air vent and yet another rattle from a Stuttgart product are a warning that Merc needs to maintain, rather than merely rely on, its reputation for quality.
There’s no denying it’s a great place to sit though, with plenty of space up front a superb, low-set driving position and enveloping seats. If you’re tall and faced with a choice between sitting in the rear of a C-Class Coupé or a 4 Series Coupé, do pick the BMW. The Merc is okay for average-size folk, but suffers a noticeable deficiency in both head and leg room compared to its Munich rival. That said, the boot’s a good size, and folding rear seats add to its practicality.