NEW CAR ROAD TEST: MERCEDES CLC RANGE
PUBLISHED: 16:47 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 February 2013
Despite looking for all the world like a truncated version of the latest Mercedes C-Class, the CLC rides on the chassis of the older C Class. This is perhaps no bad thing as Mercedes needed a budget coupe that looked agreeably modern. Don't go exp...
Despite looking for all the world like a truncated version of the latest Mercedes C-Class, the CLC rides on the chassis of the older C Class. This is perhaps no bad thing as Mercedes needed a budget coupe that looked agreeably modern. Don't go expecting cutting edge handling and the CLC shouldn't disappoint.
Replacing the successful C-Class Sports Coupe has proved rather a knotty issue for Mercedes. The reason why this car has traditionally been such a strong seller is, rather unusually for a Mercedes product, price. To put that into perspective, you could buy one of the old Sport Coupes for less than £2,000 more than you'd pay for a top Hyundai Coupe. Put in those terms, it's not hard to see why this was a key model. The quandary Mercedes found themselves in was replacing this car without throwing massive amounts of budget at it and hence having to hike the prices. The result is the CLC, recognisably a C-Class Sports Coupe but brought up to date in certain areas.
What it resolutely isn't, despite wearing a similar front end, is a current C-Class. It sits on the chassis of the last C-Class and merely wears the face of the current car. While it might not be the last word in chassis dynamics, it remains a tidy handler with a solid range of engines.
The CLC is available with a quartet of four-cylinder engines and a couple of six-cylinder units with power outputs ranging from the modest (122bhp) to the muscular (272bhp). The engines are a virtual carry-over from the C-Class Sport Coupe of old, and very good they have proved too. The headliner is the CLC 350 and despite its position as the most powerful version, it's a good deal more relaxed than the Kompressor-engined versions at the opposite end of the line-up. Indeed if you take the 'Sports' section of the car's name at all seriously, a Kompressor may be a better bet, the engine being a real terrier of a powerplant, always on, always encouraging you to acquaint the accelerator pedal with the carpet.
Mercedes do much to dispel the impression that the CLC is just a C-Class Sports Coupe that's had a facelift. The Stuttgart company claims over 1,100 component changes but count every press stud, grommet and washer and you can account for 1,100 new parts rather rapidly. It certainly looks like the old car from the cabin, with much the same dashboard architecture, albeit garnished with uprated infotainment systems, seats and steering wheel.
The Mercedes CLC is nothing radically new. While this may be a damning indictment of some ostensibly 'new' rivals, with the CLC it's rather reassuring. The old C-Class Sports Coupe never really campaigned as an exemplar of sporting purity. Instead, it was a good looking car that offered Mercedes brand values at a modest price. The CLC continues that trend, updating the look and feel just enough to not look out of place in a gleaming Mercedes dealership next to more precious metal.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Mercedes CLC range
PRICES: £20,000-£28,000 [est] - on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 13-18
CO2 EMISSIONS BANDS: 163-262g/km
PERFORMANCE: [CLC 350] 0-60mph 6.4s / Max Speed 155mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [CLC 200 CDI] (combined) 48.2mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front & side airbags, ABS, ESP
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/heightmm 4343/1728/1406mm [est]
WHO TO SEE:
March 18th 2008