First came the elegance, and now comes the verve.
The Mercedes C-Class coupe is a sporty complement
to the company's more sedate C-Class sedan. The
sport coupe is about 7 inches shorter than the sedan,
and its high snubbed rear and long sloping hood all but
shout "catch me if you can."
The coupe proved right at home on the curves of the
narrow "Corniches" that hug the cliffs of France's
d'Azur between Nice and Monaco, where we tested it. It
accelerated energetically with sharp bursts of
adrenaline when the road briefly straightened, while
crisp handling and an electronic stability system kept
us from plunking ourselves into the azure
Mediterranean below us. With a six-speed manual
transmission, the supercharged 2.3-liter
190-horsepower coupe sprints from 0 to 60 mph in
less than 8 seconds.
One of the car's coolest features is an optional sunroof
that stretches as a continuous glass shell from the
front windshield to the rear spoiler. When open-air
driving invites, the push of a button slides the sunroof
backward, while a glass louver that acts as a
windshield pops up in front. Because the sunroof
slides along the car exterior, it does not diminish
Mercedes says that the C230 coupe, slated for U.S.
release in July, will be priced below $28,000. It
promises to be a formidable competitor in the