The Mercedes CLC200 is a sports coupe from the Mercedes C class range, which was introduced to the market in 1993, with the CLC spinning off into a line of its own in 2008 and remaining in production until 2011, when it was replaced by a new C-Class Coupe. The CLC was based on the W203 platform, with its successor, the C-Class Coupe, based on the new W204.
The CLC200 is cleverly styled to appear to both male and female drivers, and especially to youngsters in the market for their first Mercedes, looking for a sporty performer that is capable of punching somewhere well above its weight. It shares the distinctive elongated look to the bonnet with its pricier rival, the SLK, whilst delivering a little more of the sedan look and feel at the same time, derived as it is from the C-Class base (albeit with over 1000 modifications to its components according to Mercedes). A standard sedan it is not, however, with just two doors, a short back, and an overall look that is unmistakeably Mercedes. That said, the C Class routes have ensured that the CLC200 really is a coupe that is capable of seating 4 people comfortably. There is plenty of headroom throughout and plenty of legroom, even to the rear, where 2 good-sized adults can be accommodated without problem.
The CLC200 comes in 3 formats: the entry-level CLC200 Kompressor, the CLC200 Kompressor Evolution, and the top-of-the-range CLC200 Kompressor Evolution+.
The CLC200 sports a 1.8L 16V l4 supercharged petrol engine giving 135kW of power and 250Nm of torque, coupled with a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is shared with its 3 Series sedan contemporary but manages to deliver 15kW more while also reducing fuel consumption. Expect to use around 7.8L/100km with the manual and 8.2L/100km with the automatic. A diesel model comes in the form of a 2.2L coupled with automatic transmission, which offers outstanding fuel economy at 6.3L/100km.
The drive lacks the throaty roar of a high-spec sports model but is suitably perky given its 1.8L petrol and 2.2L diesel engines. The drive position is comfortable and the steering is suitably sensitive, but not overly so thanks to the addition of a variable track ratio, which reduces the steering effort required as the speed of the car increases. It takes a little while to get used to if you’re accustomed to driving a car with a constant-ratio setup, which is generally the norm, but once you get the hang of it, it makes for comfortable and enjoyable driving.
Standard equipment for the CLC200 includes parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connectivity, high-quality audio system with CD player, sports seats with cloth upholstery combined with Artico (the brand’s imitation leather) trim, multi-function display, dual air-conditioning, cruise control, dual-zone air conditioning, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, fog lights, heated door mirrors, alloy wheels, headlamp assist, split-fold rear seats, full-size spare, and tyre pressure warning system.
At the top of the range, the CLC200 Kompressor Evolution+ also comes with 17-inch alloys, bi-Xenon headlights, glass panoramic tilt/slide sunroof, electronic front seats with memory, multi-zone climate control, adjustable steering column, Artico seats, and maple woodgrain trim. It also benefits from a DVD-based satnav system and a handy keypad for entering phone numbers, satnav details, or radio frequencies.
Options across the range include a Harman/Kardon sound system with 6-stack CD changer, heated driver and front passenger seats, metallic paint, AMG wheels, and an alarm system.
Safety features include ABS (anti-lock braking system), brake assist, electronic traction and stability control, and 8 airbags – front and rear side-impact airbags, twin front airbags, and rear ‘windowbags’ that extend between the two pillars.
Competition for the CLC200 comes from its Mercedes successor, the C Series Coupe, as well as from models further up the Mercedes range in terms of price and specification, such as the SLK. It was launched at the same time as the BMW’s 1 Series coupe and competes to some extent with that brand’s Z3 also, while the A3 coupe also gives the CLC200 a run for its money. Pricewise, the CLC200 competes strongly, offering more kit for less money and extra cabin space into the bargain.