Review: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008)


Comfortable, well-equipped cruiser with a sporting edge to its handling. Excellent crash test rating. Good reliability record.

A 3 Series Compact drives better. Indicator stalk is awkward to use. Manual gearbox isn't the best. Some build quality niggles.

Recently Added To This Review

8 October 2012

180Ks can suffer cat converter problems and the bill to put them right can be as much as £4,000. Read more

1 February 2012

On 200K valves may not seat properly and require modified valve springs, a job costing £1,900 at an MB dealer. Read more

14 December 2011

Turbo failure on C220CDIs after 6 years or so not unknown. Vital to keep turbo oilway clear and to change engine oil at least once a year. Read more

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008): At A Glance

Forget the previous Mercedes Benz CLK. This new Sports Coupe is an entirely different sort of animal. For a start, note the emphasis on 'sports'. Not a word that could honestly be used to honestly describe any derivative of the old C Class, including the CLK coupe and cabrio. The steering of the older car was far too light for that.

The new C Class does have some meat in the helm. And, though the new coupe feels like a boulevard cruiser on the motorway, get it onto a tricky, uneven, badly surfaced road riddled with hairpin bends and it really comes into its own. Throw the car into a corner and, despite the traction control taking over, you can actually feel every nuance of the front wheels biting again after the understeer.

Mercedes Benz C-Class Sports Coupe 2001 Road Test

What does a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008) cost?

List Price from £29,035
Buy new from £23,397
Contract hire from £262.75 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4343 mm
Width 1728 mm
Height 1406 mm
Wheelbase 2715 mm

Full specifications

All the C Class Sports Coupes are very well equipped with a long list of standard goodies. These include MB Assyst service indicator, adaptive front airbags, side airbags, ABS, Automatic Child Seat Recognition, air conditioning, Brake Assist, electric reverse kerb view door mirrors, ESP, 2/3 split-folding rear seats, outside temperature gauge, Speedtronic cruise control, and multi-adjustable seats and steering wheel. There is only one trim level, with optional Evolution and AMG Evolution equipment packages, and a long list of optional extras including a Panoramic Glass Sliding Sunroof that turns most of the top into glass.

My main criticism of the car has to be its 'integrated rear spoiler' which apparently does a great job to promote downforce on the back, but splits the rear window horizontally like that of an Audi A2, making it very hard to see at a glance exactly what's going on behind. And I also have to have a go at the foot operated parking brake, which is fine in an automatic when you can left-foot brake anyway, but almost impossible to use in a manual in steep and tight conditions.

But don't let that put you off. If you're after a prestigious coupe that's also good to drive, Mercedes now offers you one. BMW, Audi, Peugeot's 406 coupe and posher VW sales are likely to suffer as a result.

Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008) like to drive?

It's got some performance, too, provided you pick the right model. For the time being this has to be the 197bhp 230 Kompressor. It emits a pleasant snarl rather than the strange, anodyne noise of the 163bhp 200K. And, when allied to the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, it's got enough grunt to be considered sporting. Whether a BMW 330 or 328 owner would agree is a different matter, but it's in the same league as the 323i.

Daimler Chrysler make a big thing of 'tronics' with the new car. You can have a 'Linguatronic' voice-activated car phone and audio system; 'Parkatronic' sensors front and back to tell you when you're too close to the car in front; 'Speedtronic' cruise control with audible speed warnings; and a 'Sequentronic' semi-automatic gearbox.

We tried Sequentronic box allied to the 143bhp (232lb ft torque) 220 Common Rail Direct Injected diesel. Not the sort of engine you'd normally expect to find under the bonnet of a 'Sports Coupe'. The change lever is arranged so that 'N' is over to the right, with 'R' behind it. The lever is sprung to sit in the middle where pushing it forwards promotes a downchange and pulling it back gets you an upchange, which is the natural way this sort of shifter should work, just like in rally cars and Touring Car racers. But it will obviously confuse anyone who has managed to get themselves used to the back-to-front Tiptronic arrangement. Slip the MB's lever over to the left or just leave it and you get a fully automatic shift.

In the coupe I found that the Sequentronic worked best on downshifts, but was slightly slurry on upshifts unless you lifted massively to help it find its way. But, having found the six-speed manual an odd match with the 2.2 CDI in the C Class saloon, I was happier with the Sequentronic in this car.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
C160 37 mpg 11.4 s 183–188 g/km
C180 Kompressor 37 mpg 9.7 s 183 g/km
C200 CDI 44 mpg 11.7 s 172 g/km
C200 Kompressor 35 mpg 9.1 s 192 g/km
C220 CDI 43 mpg 10.3 s 174 g/km
C230 30 mpg 8.4 s 222 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

25–51 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Battery goes flat after just 2 weeks - what's the fault?

I have owned my 2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe 220 diesel since new. It has now done 95,000 miles and has been regularly serviced and immaculately maintained. However, for the past few months, I’ve not been using it much and found that the battery goes flat after just two weeks. I’ve taken it to my local dealer and they cannot find any fault. There has to be a fault. I should not need to keep recharging and carrying a spare battery. Can you offer any suggestions?
The most likely fault is a light. Boot light: take the bulb our. Glove locker light: take the bulb out. Interior light, switch it off completely so it does not come on when you open the doors.
Answered by Honest John
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What Cars Are Similar To The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupe (2001 – 2008)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Coupe and Compact premium.

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What do owners think?

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