A symbol of success

It might seem like a small thing, but removing two rear doors and fiddling with the roofline to turn a saloon into a coupe signifies a significant increase in status.

It’s as if the degree of selfishness required having only doors for you and your passenger means you don’t have to think about anyone else.

Sounds daft, but we all unwittingly subscribe to it. Coupe equals success, no two ways about it.

So when you start the process with a Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon, already a sharply styled and desirable premium product, you can rest assured that the end product is probably going to be something of a handsome beast, with the requisite image boost as well.

Lower door count aside, the C-Class Coupe differs significantly from the saloon with a number of changes that result in few panels being shared between the two.

The roofline is lower for a start, a major change and one that helps to visually lengthen the car for a sleeker look.

The tail kicks up in a more significant manner too, with lights and bumpers tweaked in line with the revisions to the saloon made earlier this year.

A further bonus is that all UK versions get the AMG Sports package as standard. While that may mean that all the Coupes you see could be mistaken for an AMG version at first glance, that’s no bad thing.

This is a handsome, distinctive and desirable coupe, which are crucial factors of why you would want to buy one in the first place. On the mechanical front the Coupe inevitably follows the lead of the saloon, which means rear-wheel drive for superior handling and weight distribution.

The engine choice is also slimmed down slightly, but with three petrols (excluding the fire-breathing AMG) and two diesels, there’s something to suit all needs.

Likely to be the most popular choice is the C250 CDI that nets you a healthy 201bhp but a more important 369lb.ft of torque available from just 1,600rpm - a shade above tickover then.

Mate it to the excellent seven-speed automatic transmission as you will want to do, and you still get a remarkable set of figures. A top speed of 149mph and 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds is quick by any standards, but for a car that is also capable of achieving more than 53mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 139g/km of CO2 is remarkable.

The bald figures stand up when you move from the showroom brochure to the road itself. You sit ensconced in a slick and appealing cabin, helped by the same revisions that the saloon and estate benefited from including better materials and smarter finishes.

The Comand satnav and audio unit now has updated screen displays, Google search function and Bluetooth audio streaming. Front seat passengers have a panoramic view thanks to the deep windscreen and long doors, and although rear seat occupants give up a little headroom it is sufficient to cover most eventualities.

The four-cylinder diesel unit is refined and smooth right from start-up and with the transmission in Drive, it shrugs forward with little effort from the driver thanks to the generous torque.

Smooth shifts up and down the seven ratios with a keenness to get into higher gears keeps noise levels low and fuel efficiency high, but it only takes a further squeeze of the throttle or a flick of the steering wheel-mounted paddle to access a lower ratio and increase the acceleration.

Push it fully to the floor and it surges forward with real purpose with a faint thrum from under the bonnet being the only indication that the engine is working hard.

The looks suggest a certain level of dynamism in the driving experience and the C-Class Coupe doesn’t disappoint.

That classic rear-drive layout gives the driver the confidence to exploit the power on offer at every opportunity, and even with the watchful eye of the stability and traction control systems switched off you feel confident with the grip and traction available.

The steering and suspension, also tweaked in line with revisions made to the saloon, strikes an excellent balance between comfort and precision. With Sport and Manual modes for the transmission and dampers that automatically adjust for more enthusiastic driving, the Coupe is genuinely responsive when pressed while maintaining a supple ride in more relaxed driving.

Turning a saloon into an attractive coupe sounds like the work of a moment, but in truth, creating something from an existing template with sufficient distinction and a personality of its own is far more complicated. The C-Class Coupe proves that Mercedes still has the nous to do just that.