You might say that it was something of forbearer to the current day CLA, the 2002 C230 Sport Coupe was an entry point into the Mercedes-Benz dynasty at the dawn of the millennium. Fifteen years later, the design has aged incredibly well. The aerodynamic front with its swept back fascia still looks fresh and the tall rear treatment, which seemed awkward upon launch, almost looks fresher in 2017 when tall rear treatments are on trend.
Hyundai and Honda have a similar tall and stubby backend on the latest version of the Civic and Elantra. It’s almost as if the C230 grew into its looks over time, which is not often the case.
Comparing the 2002 C230 to the CLA, the older design seems to have a sense of purpose and solidity missing on the low-slung CLA. Front-wheel-drive proportions play a role, but there also something more honest about the C230’s purposeful design that makes the CLA seems too flashy and a bit gimmicky, like it’s trying too hard. Long live the reverse-aging C230.
[Images: Mercedes-Benz, Honda]