All but an enthusiast would likely find this car sporty enough to satisfy their everyday need for speed be that on a commute or a longer vacation road trip.

Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec – The agile 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC easily and smoothly picked up the pace as the posted speed limits allowed along the picturesque Route 138 on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

The people we whipped past, who were watching fast flowing river, were better placed to comment on the sound of the sleek two-door machine. But inside the quiet cabin both of its occupants commented on the unexpected throaty rumble emanating from the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine under the long hood.

It truly bears the most obvious hallmarks of a true sports car in sight and sound. The question was whether the base model – if we dare dub any Mercedes base – could also offer performance. Not next to its sibling C 450 AMG Sport 4MATIC, set to arrive this fall with a 362-horsepower power plant at its disposal. Or the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and C 63 S, both of which feature a twin-turbo, 4.0L V8 matched to a seven-speed automatic. The latter two models output of 469 and 503 horsepower respectively positively dwarf the 241 horses pulling the C300.

That said all but an enthusiast would likely find this car sporty enough to satisfy their everyday need for speed be that on a commute or a longer vacation road trip. The C300’s seven-speed automatic transmission played a major role in putting pleasure into the two-day drive through rural Quebec. (The promise of a new nine-speed tranny in the 2018 model makes one wonder just how much more of an improvement can be expected.)

By the way, all-wheel drive is standard here in the Great White North. The four-mode drive system offers noticeable differences in the driving experience unlike many other multi-mode systems yours truly has tried. Eco saves the dollars but not at the expense of getting from A to B smartly.

Still not a fan of the stalk-mounted gear shifter but I’d likely get used to it if somebody gifted me a C-Coupe.

Quick mention: While the raked back coupe look limits the view to the rear style, it’s not enough to be distressing.

Comfort is definitely suited to the long drive, with Sport and Sport+ offering some fun while imagining you are either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg, MB’s F1 driver duo. Thinking they may expect more than the zero to 100 klicks in seconds offered by the C300.

Ok, racecar fantasies over. The C-Class Coupe cockpit is lovely: choice of colours for the leather upholstery and a variety of interior trim choice, including wood and carbon fibre.

Comfy up- front, less so in the back seat but anybody planning to drive at maximum passenger capacity on a regular basis is likely going to opt for the roomier sedan. The 16-way front seat adjustment spoils one for choice in positioning.

The 7-inch infotainment screen has a standard touchpad and large control knob for scrolling through the functions. Takes practice.

Technology-wise: Standard is Attention Assist, which prompts you to take a break when your ‘driving style’ suggests you are tired). Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Blind Spot Assist, eight air bags, and rain-sensing windshield wipers also come standard. There’s also crosswind assist that reacts to gusts of winds during highway driving – nary experienced a breeze on the drive.

There’s an available Intelligent Drive package, which includes automatic braking and some automatic steering that keeps the vehicle centred in your lane of choice. This should not be confused with systems that react only when you begin to drift out of lane. And there’s an ever growing list of other safety tech such as a 360-degree camera that monitors all sides when parking.

The starting sticker price is $48,100 for the base model and its standard equipment certainly makes it competitive with similarly equipped models, mainly from its German rivals.

Take one for a lengthy spin if you have 50 grand-plus burning a hole in your jeans (once you add some options you know what happens).

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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