SAY I DO? AutoTrader's Ane Theron reckons she would consider marrying the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe if it was a man. Image: AutoTrader / Ane Theron
Cape Town - These days, buying a car is almost a bigger commitment than getting married. Once you’ve signed the paperwork, it’s much harder getting out of a car deal than it is getting out of a bad marriage. If you buy a dud, chances are you’ll have trouble selling it. If you marry one, it can get equally messy.
So my question is: would I consider the C-Class Coupé as a potential life partner? Let’s first look at what us girls deem important.
He should be:
1. Safe and reliable
No-one wants a husband who forgets to pick up the children from school, or who insists on driving home after a few drinks. We want our guy to be our rock, and our safe haven. Does the C-Class Coupé fit the bill? It has standard ESP, Emergency Brake Assist, Acceleration Skid Control, 7 Airbags, Pre-Safe system, Neck-Pro Active head restraints, Collision Prevention Assist Plus* and Attention Assist.
The latter works just like someone repeatedly calling your name as you’re about to fall asleep watching a dead boring movie. If the car senses by your driving behaviour that you may be close to nodding off, it will send an audible alert and a steaming coffee cup diagram (“Attention Assist: Drowsiness Detected”) to encourage you to take a break.
2. Direct and Firm
Whether we like to admit to it or not, we’d all like to know the real answer to “does my bum look big in this?” Honesty and openness are the cornerstones of a healthy relationship. A good way to answer this question would be to say “no it doesn’t, but it looks so much better in the black pants.”
Is the C-Class Coupé direct and firm? Well, it’s not going to tell you that your Botox is in need of a top-up, or that your best friend is sexting your hubby, but its steering is deliciously direct, especially in the sporty modes.
The C-Class Coupé is not a small car, so don’t expect crispy, mountain goat-like Mazda MX-5 handling, but as a grand tourer, it’s grippy, perfectly balanced and very composed. As for physical firmness - who doesn’t love a firm and shapely behind? The C-Class Coupe’s rear-end with its wrap-around LED tail lights is its sexiest feature by far. A 66-litre fuel tank and frugal diesel engine will keep you going for miles and miles.
Images: Ane Theron
We want the type of guy who’s equally at home in the kitchen, whipping up a Pasta Puttanesca, as he is clinching a multi-million rand business deal in the boardroom. The C-Class Coupé is versatile too, in the sense that you can choose how you’d like it to feel on the road.
Each C-Class Coupe can be had with Agility Control suspension that adapts to every road surface, stiffer sport suspension, or Airmatic air suspension. As previously mentioned, you can also choose in which mode you’d like to drive, by flipping the optional Agility Select switch. You have a choice of Comfort, Sport, Sport + (in conjunction with Airmatic air suspension), Individual (also with Airmatic) or Eco modes. Sport + holds on to the gears for longer and will impact fuel economy negatively, so if you want spirited driving, Sport is a good setting.
For town driving Eco is best. As for other types of versatility, the C-Class Coupé is not exactly a family vehicle. Space on the rear bench is tight, and more suitable for stowing jackets or loose items than it is for seating actual people (but it’s not impossible). The boot, however, is HUGE, fitting all the Chardonnay and shoes a girl could want. A through-load feature is standard.
4. Well-dressed, attractive, and well-groomed
We definitely do not want to bump into our girlfriends at Pick n’ Pay when our guy is wearing yesterday’s vest with Bolognese stains, and slops. Your average South African man is not the most image-conscious, but fortunately your average German man is quite another story.
With German fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander and Wolfgang Joop, the Germans do have a slight lead over the Antipodeans in the style stakes. The average German guy on the street is usually relatively stylish, but the C-Class Coupé is Hollywood-handsome, inside and out.
Our 220d had the most gorgeous leather Cranberry Red interior (R15 400) that made us salivate every time we opened the frameless coupé door to step inside. And it was oh-so-hard to have to get out. Artico man-made leather is available at no extra cost. The dashboard layout, materials and design are emotionally very appealing, especially to us womenfolk, but I do prefer some of Audi’s infotainment system screens that slip neatly into the dashboard. A matter of taste, really.
5. Intelligent, intuitive and polite
What’s the point of having all of the above, but your dream guy can’t hold a conversation?
Guys that relentlessly yap on and on about themselves are not cool. Self-absorption is an obvious red flag and one should start running immediately - egotistical males (females too) make terrible life partners, and will usually put themselves first.
In general, guys should also be intuitive enough to know when you need some help, whether it’s giving the kids a bath, rubbing your feet or taking you out for dinner. (Here’s a tip: If your wife’s been giving you the cold shoulder at bedtime, try being helpful around the house without her having to ask.)
The C-Class Coupé is clever and considerate. It won’t ask if it can make you a cup of tea, but at least you can count on it to be supportive (the seats are marvelously so). Just know that you’ll be paying R13 500 for electric front seats with a memory function and 4-way lumbar support. Want climatised front seats? That will be another R18 500. The polite C-Class Coupé will also automatically hand you your seat belt, via the (optional) automatic belt feeders.
For the privilege of the 21.33 cm Comand Online infotainment system, you’ll pay R25 900. It includes Satnav and various USB ports and SD card slots, as well as the Comand controller in the centre console, with a touchpad. (The Comand system also has 10GB of storage space for music.) The good news is that there is a standard Audio 20 CD system available which also has the Bluetooth and a 17.8 cm display screen, with a touchpad for handwritten entries, and 2 USB ports. Thermatic auto climate control (with two climate zones) is standard.
Go to www.mercedes-benz.co.za for all the optional extras and their prices.
So, do we hear wedding bells?
We do! As long as we realise that there will never be any children - there’s no space for them. But then we can always do it Jacob Zuma style and take another spouse… Darn, you’d have to be a man to do that.
Facts & Figures
Base price: R 611 799
Engine: 2.1-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: 9G-TRONIC automatic
Power: 125 kW
Torque: 400 Nm
Top Speed: 234 km/h
Luggage volume: 400 litres
Fuel tank: 66 litres
Realistic fuel consumption 5.5 - 8 l /100 km
Warranty: 2 years / unlimited km
Maintenance plan: 6 years / 100 000 km
Also consider: BMW 4 Series Coupé