Mercedes was at pains to dispel the impression that the CLC was just a C-Class Sports Coupe with a facelift. The Stuttgart company claimed over 1,100 component changes but count every press stud, grommet and washer and you can amass 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 exterior retained much the same silhouette but looks a lot more modern in its detailing. The front end apes that of the C-Class generation that arrived in 2007, adding projection beam headlights and that Mercedes coupe touchstone, the big chromed three-pointed star in the centre of the grille.
The back end was also tidied up to good effect, with a set of slimline LED tail lights. Open the hatch and you'll find a variable luggage compartment with a capacity of up to 1,110 litres, proving that this coupe has a practical edge as well but the rear seats aren't all that spacious. The overall effect was of a more mature, dignified car that echoed the latest Mercedes design language very smartly. Build quality is notably tighter than on the C-Class Sports Coupe, with better quality interior finishes and superior panel fit.
The trim levels you'll encounter are the SE and the Sport but buyers had the option of whether to specify the panoramic glass roof. Equipment levels are reasonably generous and include parking sensors, sports suspension, sports seats, electric windows, climate control, ESP stability control and a clutch of airbags. The Sport model adds speed sensitive power steering, lowered suspension, a leather sports steering wheel and bigger alloy wheels.
Don't worry if your Kompressor engine sounds a little rough - they all sound that way. There should be no major mechanical defects, but check alloy wheels for signs of kerbing and make sure the ABS and traction control systems work effectively as the electronics have been known to fail. Trade experts reckon these cars are most desirable when specified in an attractive metallic colour with air conditioning and leather upholstery. You might bear that in mind when choosing a car as the right specification will make selling on easier.
(approx. Based on CLC 220 CDi) Allow around £50 for front brake pads and £25 for the rear, and about £400 for a full Mercedes exhaust system. A full clutch system would cost around £250 and a radiator is about £150.
From launch, the CLC was available with a quintet of four-cylinder engines with power outputs ranging from the modest (122bhp) to the muscular (272bhp). The engines were mainly carried-over from the C-Class Sport Coupe of old, and very good they have proved too. The 180K and 200K supercharged petrol units are real terriers, always on, always encouraging you to acquaint the accelerator pedal with the carpet. The 200 CDI and 220CDI are the diesel options and will be popular with those looking to cut running costs. The V6 petrols are fast but expensive to run and the CLC 160 arrived later with a normally-aspirated petrol engine.
The mid-range CLC 200 Kompressor is a fine choice and features a power output of 183bhp. Its 8.6 second 0-60mph time means it would struggle to out-sprint most hot hatchbacks but the 1.8-litre supercharged engine feels punchy and flexible enough with its wide torque band.
On the road, the CLC's aging underpinnings are betrayed to an extent by the way the car doesn't steer as sharply or corner in as composed a manner as the best handling coupes in its price bracket. It can still entertain, however, and the car works well for those primarily concerned with cruising about town and looking good.
Even when it was new, the Mercedes CLC coupe wasn't all that new but the design continues to hold water and there are few three-doors around for the same money with quite this level of class. It's not a car for the keen driver but it can entertain and has a strong engine range. It's probably best thought of as a more stylish, less practical alternative to a C-Class saloon than a sportscar in its own right.