Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon first drive

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon





The oldest car-maker in the world proves it’s in step with modern trends in the shape of the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon.


Over 30 years ago the big-car maker decided to bring its values and virtues into the medium sector with what was the first generation of the C-Class and now the fifth generation is about to make its mark, firstly with the Saloon and shortly to be followed by the Estate and a Coupe.

The Saloon is a significant 100kg lighter than the series it replaces and fitted with the newest petrol and diesel engines fuel consumption is down as much 20% while emissions are slashed as well, which instantly widens its appeal to business and fleet users who are expected to take a bigger slice of sales than before.

At launch this month there are C220 and C250 diesels as well as C200 petrol saloon but by the end of 2014 there will also be C200 diesel and a C300 diesel hybrid.

There is now more aluminium used in the body, it’s almost half now, and despite being about just 10kg each, the doors still shut with a familiar Mercedes-Benz solidity. Once inside you are surrounded by an extremely stylish piano black interior with bright detail highlights and high quality materials.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon Many details have been brought over from the S-Class and that will include the availability of a Hybrid with diesel and electric motors this autumn. Petrol engines have the third generation direct injection and diesels come with spray-guided multiple injection and there are two new six-speed gearboxes available matched to power outputs and the 7G-Tronic automatic is further refined.

A new four-link front suspension improves handling while the rear multi-link aids ride and stability and for the first time in this segment you can specify self-levelling air-suspension.

Mercedes-Benz engineers have developed their own touch-pad and head-up display and it will even respond to handwriting in any language. Appropriately, nice reference is the Carl Benz script now found on the windscreen.

The air conditioning system inside the new C-Class includes the ability to detect tunnels and stop bad air entering as well as providing fragrances which smell pleasant but do not permeate clothing.

There will initially be spec levels of SE, Sport for another £2,000 and AMG Line models are an additional £1,500 over the Sport. The initial 12-models cost from £26,855 to £34,355.

Fleet sales are expected to take at least 65%, automatic transmission is ordered by 83% of customers and the Sport versions will take over 40% of registrations with the C220 CDI diesel accounting for nearly 40%.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon Peter Kolb, MB’s senior test engineer said extensive development showed the new C-Class to out-handle its predecessor adding, “We have taken the systems from the S-Class and other larger models and developed them for the C-Class so all their benefits are now brought to more customers at a lower price point. We are very pleased with the results.”

Mercedes-Benz UK product executive Tom Corstjens added, “We are steadily making more and more conquest sales from other marques and also seeing our own customers moving up the brand. The new C-Class offers lower running costs so it becomes more attractive to private and business buyers.”

He added that MB UK expected the C220 to take 60% of Saloon sales while the
C250 and C 00 will each take about 20%.

When it arrives this autumn the estate versions of these will carry a price premium of approximately £1,200 at each point.

First impressions:
Whether you have breakfast, lunch or dinner there is always a ‘light’ option these days, but in the case of the new Mercedes-Benz C220 Sport that is all you get.

And that’s no bad thing because the new Mercedes-Benz C220 Sport is going to be a hard model to hand back to the salesman after a demo and you’ll want a second helping.

It does everything a larger Mercedes does, but it’s more agile and importantly, affordable than its stablemates.

The powertrain is well matched to deliver strong acceleration throughout, to cruise quietly and to sip fuel. I averaged a whisker over 50mpg in the C220 and in the more powerful and responsive C250 it dipped to 32.4mpg.

It rides very well and with the selectable settings it is firm or downright fun, handles confidently and turns tightly.

I would have liked still more rear seat legroom despite the fact it is a longer wheelbase than the previous series, but infront it’s roomy. Bootspace can be a bit tight for four cases but oddments room is very good.

There are two types of navigation available and the less expensive one on my test car was out of date regarding speed limits and even took me on a weird diversion for no visible reason. But at least I could enjoy a bit more time behind the wheel of what is probably the best C-Class so far.

Milestones. Mercedes-Benz C220 BlueTEC Sport Saloon. Price: £32,860. Engine/transmission: 2,143cc, four cylinder, 170hp, twin-turbo diesel, 7speed automatic. Performance: 144mph, 0-62mph 7.4 seconds, Combined Cycle mpg: 65.7mpg  (50mpg on test), CO2 emissions: 103gkm, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £20 Year Two rate onwards, BIK company car tax rating: 15%. Insurance group: 34. Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited mileage/30yrs anti-rust. For: Smooth, sophisticated, quiet, economical. Against: Rear seat legroom, bootspace, outdated satnav. Robin Roberts  Miles better news agency

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