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In life, the pursuit of style normally involves a premium. However, fleet drivers mulling over the slinky C250d Coupe and the sensible C250d saloon can not only cut their BIK bills by opting for the stylish choice but also please their fleet manager, courtesy of lower whole-life costs.
The secret? Despite the coupe's higher price, it emits less CO2 and has 2.6% higher residuals than the four-door in diesel C250d form. Also available are less-powerful C220d diesel and C200 petrol models, plus the more potent C300 petrol - available in entry-level Sport and AMG line trim.
Style may be subjective, but the C-class Coupe's sleek silhouette is undeniably eye-catching. This impression continues in the plush, low-slung cabin, which was swathed in black ash trim, black leather and had slivers of aluminium in our test car.
A BMW 4-series looks sharp but lacks the Mercedes' glamour inside, while an Audi A5 Coupe is drab by comparison.
The Audi is also priciest at 72.9ppm, while the BMW and Mercedes are nearly identical at 70.6ppm and 70.7ppm respectively. It's a similar story with BIK costs. Lexus's hybrid RC300h, meanwhile, costs a substantial 79.4ppm, although BIK costs undercut those of the Mercedes.
Fire up the gruff diesel motor, however, and the Mercedes' impression of luxury starts to fade. The engine doesn't befit a £40,000 car, sounding slightly coarse even when accelerating gently. It does, however, fall silent when cruising around town and on the motorway, while the faultless nine-speed gearbox shuffles cogs smoothly and intelligently.
The engine produces more than adequate muscle, too, providing a consistent surge of acceleration when you put your foot down. There's little engine noise on the motorway, and wind noise is minimal, although the large tyres also generate a bit of noise.
In AMG line trim the C250d features lowered sports suspension that makes the ride quality decidedly firm, albeit still reasonably smooth. That said, sharp bumps shudder through the car. As a result, though, the C-class Coupe is adept around corners, with the weighty steering providing a good sense of control.
We found the seats weren't particularly comfortable, while those hoping to fit adults into the two back seats will be disappointed; adults of even average height are likely to find head- and legroom, lacking, and the small, high windows add to the sense of claustrophobia. Boot volume is reasonable, but the opening is narrow.
Other quirks include air-conditioning controls that are spread across identically sized switches that are hard to differentiate when driving, and creaky plastic dashboard buttons.
The stop-start system is also overly keen to cut the engine when you stop at junctions for even just a second.
The C-class Coupe may be less practical than its saloon counterpart and feature a noisy diesel motor, but it stacks up well against rivals.
Despite nearly identical costs, the Mercedes feels more upmarket than the BMW 420d, looks more premium and offers extra power. Consequently, it's a compelling company car choice.
Mercedes C250d Coupe
Model price range £30,955-£76,900
Residual value 41.9%
Service, maintenance and repair £2801
Vehicle Excise Duty £60
National Insurance £3421
Cost per mile 70.7p
Fuel consumption 65.7mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 112g/km (20%)
BIK 20/40% per month £125/£250
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 400 litres
Engine size/power 2143cc/204hp
Maxes out on style and beats rivals on costs, although engine refinement could be better
Upmarket interior and a class-leading cost per mile figure
Ride could be smoother and diesel engine not as refined as the best units