My new car, wait for it, is a Mercedes Benz C230 Sports Coupe V6 A/T. While not everyone's cup of tea, it has certainly changed my perspective.
I like the lines of the car, especially viewing it from the front to the back. I still have to get used to the back. But those wheels, O boy! I love those wheels, which are 17-inch equipped with very wide tyres.
The cabin is well insulated, spacious, comfortable and safe. The drive is smooth and very comfortable for a vehicle with a sports suspension, although I find it a bit light in the back.
The sound is pure delight
The sound of the sports exhaust and engine is a real delight to my ears, especially in the higher rev ranges - remember it's a V6, with 150 kW and 245 Nm of torque. The engine remains smooth throughout the rev range and it is not a problem for this engine to reach the 6 100 r/min mark quickly.
The car is a bit on the heavy side, but once on the move it picks up speed quickly and does not have a problem shifting through all seven gears.
Mercedes Benz claims a 0-100km/h in 8.4s and a top speed of 234km/h. It is not the fastest of all sports cars, but there is always a faster car out there.
I think Mercedes has maintained a good balance between performance and comfort. The Sports Coupe is an excellent high speed cruiser and is in its element when used for long distance driving. The wide tyres and sport suspension contribute to very good road holding.
I like the rear-wheel drive setup because it does not understeer as quickly as some of the highly powered FWD cars. The Merc is equipped with ESP to ensure that you will always have control over the car. The ESP light is very shy and will only flash in the most extreme conditions.
The seven-speed auto' box has three settings; standard, comfort and manual. The manual setting being my favourite, allows you to change gears with the paddles behind the steering wheel and it also makes the throttle pedal more responsive.
The manual mode provides for enthusiastic driving and will only shift to the next gear if the rev counter is at the red line. You have to be very sensitive to feel the gear changes when using the comfort setting. It does take time to get used to the automatic gearbox, but it provides for comfortable motoring.
What is the fuel consumption I hear you ask? If you really need to know, with very spirited driving in town the onboard computer will display figures of around 16 l/100 km but with open road cruising it will go down to 8 l/100 km. The average is normally between 11 l/100 km and 12 l/100 km.
Overall, I think the Sports Coupe is something different - sporty, very comfortable and good looking with Mercedes Benz quality and reliability. More power will always do. A C350 version is available in Europe and if it was available in SA, I think this would be the one for me.