Even before Mercedes introduced the new generation of C Class, touted as the BMW beater, my opinion was rather high of the C Class drive I enjoyed in 2012. But then you could argue it was an AMG tweaked 3.5 litre engine.
As it happens, this time, I am armed with the experience of the official company test drive on a C250 AMG as well as the plain C200 I rented out to make up for some missing pages in my drive diary! So you end up getting a double-checked review of all this awesomeness.
UPSIDE: Enough power from fuel efficient engine, Spacious like a midsize sedan, one of the best all-round packages in a car
FLIPSIDE: Paddle shift not exciting enough, console design feels a little empty
THE PRICE IN AED: C 180 @ 148,000; C 200 @ 158,000; C 250 @ 169,000 onwards
THE SPECS: C200: 184 hp / 300 Nm torque / 0-100 in 7.4 sec as tested
C 250: 211 hp / 350 Nm torque / Fuel efficiency 9.1 km/L as tested
So has the C-class got even better? Let’s put this straight that the second car was as pleasurable as the first, even without the three letter badge. If you notice a slight shift in character, it’s how the new C class points to its rear-wheel drive scheme of things. Now, that doesn’t change things much on a straight drive but it just cannot help showing up on sharp bends, reminding you that you are better off pointing that nose into a corner before diving out of it.
There are certain cues the Mercedes has taken from the BMW and a definite improvement is the new gear stalk that has sprouted next to the steering. At the press of your thumb, it shifts to Park from any gear.
Both the C200 and C250 are driven by a 2.0L powerhouse variably tuned to part with 184 horses and 211 respectively. The power is well distributed with the seven-speed transmission that shifts rather well. The Sport Plus is the only mode you catch the hint of a shuffle while the Comfort drive remains calm and comfortable. There is no dearth of power at any point, with both the engines spinning out torque to the tune of 300 and 350 Nm respectively. So it was surprising when the C200 flattened out finally while getting past a road monster. There is a manual paddle shift but I wouldn’t count on them too much. An ample temporary solution to call in more power but the shift back to Automatic happens too soon!
This Mercedes too is equipped with blind spot monitors, forward collision distance warning and distance alert. Anyway, the well-placed, thoughtfully shaped pillars take care of the overall vision, while the sprawling glass roof adds to the panoramic feeling.
The striking presence of the new C Class come from the sculpted lines and the longer, sportier snout. The overall length is increased by 3.7 inches while the wheel base grew by a full three inches. Even when parked next to an E Class, the new entry level Merc sizeably measures itself up to executive comforts and space. The front and the rear stacks up the most impressive details of the design – the LED lamps in front, the three-line electric coil style lamps in the rear, which it shares with the S Class itself.
Cabin and Controls
The interiors in burgundy leather with black are as delicious as ever. The finesse of both the textured leather and the fabric on the pillars are true Mercedes class. The brushed aluminium trims are designed to be an impressive addition without ever being intrusive or loud – it’s a Merc!
A familiar looking thing (resembles an iPad Mini or a Galaxy 7” Tab) fixed onto the central dash is what takes care of the cabin controls – radio, media, telephone and vehicle settings. The C 200 doesn’t have navigation but the C250 came with one, which ironically chose not to show up for a whole day before popping up on touch – should be some minor technical glitch with the telematics.
Just above the rotary dial on the console sits something that looked like a shiny black toad – turned out to be a touch pad to navigate using your fingers. Aligned on its sides are the agility button, giving you the choice of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, and the start/stop button to save fuel the eco-conscious way. All this leave the dash clean, with just an array of airline style toggles and buttons lining the glossy black plastic, in case you don’t wish to operate from the tunnel console touchpad.
The C Class has marginally improved where there was only space for marginal improvement – and by this I mean the drive quality – but the entry-level Mercedes has leapt ahead as a family car. Look rear frontwards and you’ll know what I mean. The rear leg room is the best ever and the boot space is enormous – that is a large box, pun intended, ticked for families. Both the C Class sedans offered thigh support, lumbar support and a mechanical lever for to and fro movement, saving money where it really doesn’t bother you.
The C-class cabin music had pleased my ears to a smile last time, and it’s a repeat. The next most impressive thing in the cabin is the roof – a stretch of glass steeped into the rear windscreen, with a brief break in between.
The essential Mercedes C Class 2015
The Mercedes C Class compares well with the BMW 3 series in its exhilaration quotient with or without the AMG badge. The 0 to 100 in the C200 came up in 7.4 seconds and the 250 AMG a bit quicker. This compares with the larger engine tested in the previous model, but the new car is more than 200 kilograms lighter! No wonder the efficient C250 returned more than 9 km per litre of 98 Octane petrol.
With all fours well grounded, the C-class really lends itself to being pushed. You can feel the torque tugging at the rear wheels at corners just as you can feel it getting corrected as well. The new Mercedes C-class is no rogue or rebel on the road. It is a well-balanced, well-behaved entry level car that can keep your E-class a requirement for much later.
Drive Courtesy: Daimler Middle East / Drivemeonline / SIXT Rent a Car