It’s been three years since the Mercedes Coupe Sport all but disappeared…but after pressure from a number of different directions, the German manufacturer has finally decided to continue building it…which means the continuation of a long history of coupe production within the brand.
Today, the Coupe Sport is reborn under the pseudonym CLC. But don’t be fooled, this is more of a restyling exercise rather than a completely new model…The platform remains unchanged, but it now comes with all the latest mod-cons… Some 1000-plus components are new to this version…
Mercedes is offering the CLC with six different engines. Two of which are six-cylinder. There are two diesels and four petrol engines, and all come with a six-speed manual gearbox, or a five-speed auto for the 4-cylinder units, or the 7G-Tronic for the V6 variants.
The biggest changes are in the styling. The Coupe Sport was starting to seriously show its age, and Mercedes has been hugely successful in giving this latest version an injection of youthfulness. The front end comes from the C Class, while the rear has been completely re-modelled. From the side, the little coupe keeps the same silhouette. Opt for the Sport pack and the CLC comes complete with 18-inch wheels.
The interior has also been brought up-to-date. The instrument panel is new, as are the steering wheel and dash. The CLC also gets the latest in in-car navigation. Sport seats are standard. The feeling inside is one of class.
For our test, we went for the CLC 350, complete with 272bhp V6 engine. We troed it with each of the two gearboxes that are available, but it was the 7-Gtronic that we found most enjoyable. The manual ‘box is too sticky and we felt you could get more out of the engine with the staging of the auto.
When it comes to roadholding, the CLC isn’t quite at the level that we’ve come to expect from Mercedes. The new C Class blew us away, and in comparison, the CLC was disappointing, no doubt a sign of the age of the chassis. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the way it handles, it’s just that you would expect some sort of improvement seven years down the line from the original. In that time, the competition has really raised the bar. The Mercedes CLC has some good qualities…but it doesn’t have that special something that so often makes the German manaufacturer’s products stand out from the crowd…