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2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe: Enthusiast Handling Meets Tri-Pointed Star Perfection

At the northeast tip of the United States lies idyllic Maine, a state known for lighthouses, wonderful small towns and lobster. Yes, Homarus Americanus is a “to die for” gift from the deep seas of the North Atlantic. It was in Portland, Maine that Mercedes-Benz held the media launch for the newest coupe to the family, the 2017 C300.

The new C300 Coupe is a ground up build on perfection. Lightweight construction to reduce weight, excellent aerodynamics, and a dynamically configured chassis, with optional air suspension, form the basis for a high level of suspension comfort, low road noise and tire vibration, agile handling, and driving pleasure.

Choose your 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe in rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD) guise. AWD versions command a $2000 premium over the RWD’s base price of $42,650. Both chassis configurations feature handling limits well above the everyday abilities of your average Joe or Jane, so why not choose the safety and enhanced traction of the 4MATIC version? It may not snow or ice up in your part of the U.S., but it rains everywhere and 4MATIC’s traction bonus is just that – a bonus. 

Both trims feature a 241 horsepower, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine; mated to a quick shifting seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted shift paddles. Plant your right foot, and the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe moves out with alacrity.  Zero to sixty mph clicks off in an impressive 5.9 seconds. 

Our tester was outfitted with the optional AIRMATIC air suspension -- an electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping system that lets you choose your desired driving style using the lower console mounted “Dynamic Select” switch. Choose from five driving modes, all which provide unique driving parameters. We spent most of our time carving up roads in “Sport” mode, and found the C300 4MATIC’s handling near neutral and a blast to drive. Nothing could throw the C300 Coupe out of kilter, not even an unexpected road undulation in a sweeping corner at a reasonably high speed.   

Non AIRMATIC-equipped cars still share in the handling fun. Base underpinnings front and rear include an independent multi-link suspension with coil springs, single-tube shock absorbers and a torsion bar. Again, road imperfections, like washboard surfaces, do little to unravel the car’s rock steady persona.

As expected in any Mercedes-Benz, the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe provides many standard (and optional) safety systems. Much of the safety technology that you find in today’s Mercedes-Benz automobiles is tested at very high levels, including Formula 1 racing. If it’s good enough for Mercedes Petronas Team drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, it’s good enough for us.

C300 Coupe interior fit and finish standards are first rate. Start the C300, and seatbelt “presenters” deploy to ensure this lifesaving feature is easy to access. Well-bolstered seats coddle you when needed, and hold you fast when you have a “Hamilton” moment. Grasp the thick, flat-bottom leather steering wheel, and peer out of the windshield amidst an ergonomically correct cabin. The center console features an available 8.4-inch fixed display to adjust many vehicle features, including Dynamic Select drive configurations. Available 13-speaker Burmester audio can either soothe your soul, or thump your body, depending on how deeply you delve into the 590 available watts.

Prices for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe begin at $42,650 and reach into the high $50s fully optioned. Is this too much to pay for the second smallest sedan in the Benz portfolio? That's for you to decide. If you can't swing the $40,000-plus price tag, you could always buy a 3-year-old C250 model with about 30,000 miles on the odometer. A quick search of used retail prices on NADAguides.com, as of this writing, results in a savings of over 50 percent. Of course, the older model won't have that brand new baby S-Class Coupe smell or swag. 

thumbnail About the Contributor
Brian Armstead has been involved in print, radio and television for over 40 years.  He is President Emeritus of the Washington Automotive Press Association, and his vehicle reviews appear in several publications in the U.S. and Canada. Brian is also a regular guest on automotive radio and television programs, and contributor to several web sites.