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MERCEDES-BENZ C CLASS

C220d AMG Line Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic

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Mercedes-Benz C-Class - By Jonathan Crouch

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

The Mercedes C-Class has sharpened up its act and in doing so has become a force to be reckoned with. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

This much improved version of the fourth generation Mercedes C-Class features a package of significant enhancements. The exterior revisions are subtle but inside there are important changes, including the option of a fully-digital instrument cluster. As previously, the core range is built around saloon and estate models and there are fresh entry-level petrol and diesel engine options. Plus the driving experience has been enhanced with the optional application of Mercedes' latest autonomous driving technology.

Background

This fourth generation '205' model series C-Class has delivered a stronger proposition with a greater focus than was the case with its predecessors. That's been necessary for two reasons. First, stronger competition in the mid-sized premium badged executive saloon and estate segment, not only from the usual suspects, BMW's 3 Series and Audi's A4, but also from cars like the Jaguar XE and the Lexus IS. Secondly, there's been the fact that Mercedes buyers have had an alternative to this car in the shape of the brand's similarly priced and comparably sized CLA four-door coupe. Since this MK4 model's original launch at the end of 2013, Mercedes has gradually broadened out the range, first with fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG performance derivatives, then with sleek Coupe and Cabriolet body styles. By early 2018 though, it was clear that a little more remedial work would be needed to keep this car competitive with the best of the opposition, hence the introduction of the heavily revised version we're going to look at here.

Driving Experience

The C-Class has for some time been, and will continue to be, a car with a clear focus on comfort and refinement - at least in its mainstream guises anyway. It was the first model in this class to offer the option of air suspension, though most buyers stick with the standard steel springs. As before, across the range there's a standard 'DYNAMIC SELECT' driving modes system - and you can add to that with optional 'DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL' adaptive damping. All models come as standard with 9G-Tronic automatic transmssion, which now features nine speeds and buyers certainly aren't short of engine options, with most still likely to want a diesel. There's a base 160hp 1.5-litre unit in the C200d. But most buyers opt for the 2.0-litre 194hp unit on offer in the C220d variant, which offers the option of 4MATIC 4WD. The entry-level petrol unit in the base C180 is a 1.6-litre 156hp powerplant, but ideally you'd stretch to the more modern, much perkier 184hp 1.5-litre engine installed in the C200 which features the brand's latest 'EQ Boost' technology using a 48volt on-board network with a belt-driven starter/alternator. When accelerating, 'EQ Boost' system can assist the engine with an additional 14hp, bridging the brief moment until the turbocharger has built up its full charge pressure. 4MATIC 4WD is optional. Mercedes has also developed a 2.0-litre 258hp version of this petrol engine for the C300 derivative. Beyond that lie only the Mercedes-AMG high performance derivatives. The first of these, the 3.0-litre V6 C43 4MATIC, now puts out 390hp, 23hp more than before. Beyond that lies only the V8 C63 AMG model, with a 4.0-litre V8 Biturbo engine offering either 476 or 510hp.

Design and Build

You'd have to know the C-Class quite well - or be a Mercedes sales person - to immediately notice the exterior aesthetic changes made to this revised model. The design of the front and rear lights is defined by clear-lined contours. On both the saloon and the estate, the bumpers have been re-styled both front and rear and the sportier 'AMG Line'-trimmed models get a sleeker front apron and rear diffuser. Large wheels emphasise the rear and communicate a stylishly sporty character, while 'intelligent' Multi-Beam LED headlamps that adapt to toad conditions are now optional. Inside, the alterations are more obvious, with the introduction - as an option - of the fully digital instrument display already familiar from the brand's E-Class and S-Class models, complete with touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons. This is complemented by now-larger centre console screens that can be either 7-inches or 10.25-inches in size, the latter format used for the top 'COMMAND' multi-media set-up that many customers will want. Otherwise, it's much as before, with a broad centre console swooping between the front occupants. In the back, rear seats space isn't especially generous but there's a very class-competitive 480-litres of boot space too. With the estate, the figure's 490-litres.

Market and Model

Prices haven't changed too much, as before sitting mainly in the £30,000 to £50,000 bracket. There are two main body styles, saloon and estate - plus coupe and cabriolet derivatives too. And for the four door and the station wagon, three trim levels, 'SE', 'Sport' and 'AMG Line' before you then get into the super-serious Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC and C63 high performance models. As for equipment, well that's more generous than it used to be. Media connectivity will be important to likely customers, so every C-Class comes as standard with an 'Audio 20' multimedia system featuring two USB ports, an SD card reader, Bluetooth connection and media interface. Many though will want to upgrade to the 10.25-inch 'COMAND Online' centre-dash screen that boasts fast 3D hard-disc navigation and access to a Concierge service that'll connect you through to help with every aspect of your journey. This can connect into a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display. There's now an optional wireless charger and an 'Energizing' comfort control system that links various interior functions to create a series of relaxing themes. Plus there are now two optional audio upgrade choices - a 9-speaker 225-watt set-up and the top Burmester surround sound system. Safety-wise, 'Active Brake Assist' autonomous braking is standard. And there's an optional 'Driving Assistance' package that delivers the 'Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC' system enabling 'level 2' autonomous driving capability.

Cost of Ownership

The new 1.5-litre EQ Boost petrol engine fitted to the base C200 enables a useful improvement in efficiency to be possible, so don't automatically opt for a diesel this time round. It features a clever starter/alternator that during deceleration recuperates kinetic energy and charges the battery. For auto models, there's also a gliding mode that operates at cruising speeds, switching the engine off, before seamlessly re-starting it when you brush your foot against the throttle. And a 'recuperative brake with intelligent engine stop' function which also works when the vehicle is coasting. Mercedes says that internal friction is much reduced with this new four cylinder unit. It manages 53.3mpg on the combined cycle in a 2WD saloon model on standard wheels, while emitting 123g/km of CO2. As for the new 2.0-litre diesel engine fitted to the C220d, well it performs to the latest super-stringent Euro 6d-TEMP standard and uses a particularly efficient 'step recess' combustion process - named after the shape of the combustion case in the piston. Internal friction is also reduced here - by around 25% - and the engine's more compact, leading to significant efficiency benefits. A C220d saloon 2WD model on standard wheels manages up to 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 117g/km. What else might potential C-Class buyers need to know? Well maintenance costs will be kept down thanks to an ASSYST Plus service indicator on the dash that'll calculates precisely when a dealer visit might be needed. And residual values will be as high if not higher than anything else in the class.

Summary

Is this improved Mercedes C-Class good enough to score conquest sales from its key competitors? Only a positive answer will do for Mercedes. Potential Audi customers will like the high technology - the intelligent headlamps, the autonomous driving kit and so on. Wavering BMW buyers may be tempted by the sophisticated petrol engine technology. And both groups will appreciate the class-leadingly luxurious cabin and the impressively high likely residual values. Don't get me wrong - Mercedes still has work to do with this car, primarily in terms of weight-saving in comparison to rivals. But on the evidence of this model, the signs are that its rivals are going to have to up their game.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class -

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

Introduction

Mercedes is on a bit of a roll at the moment and the improved fourth generation C-Class clearly demonstrates quite what a task its rivals face. June Neary takes a look.

Will It Suit Me?

I'm not sure whether it's just me but Mercedes saloon cars have always had a very masculine air to them. It's something I've long felt about BMWs but not Audis. That's why I'd never been hugely drawn to the Mercedes C-Class in the past. It looked tidy, functional but never seemed possessed of much in the way of flair. The latest MK4 model is undeniably handsome but I fully expected that trend to continue. Our test car was a C220d diesel and I began to harbour images of those cream-coloured taxis you walk out of German airports into but when it arrived it was finished in a very attractive metallic colour with a decent set of alloy wheels that looked anything but utilitarian. I began to see why Janis Joplin wanted a Mercedes-Benz quite so badly.

Practicalities

Although I had been secretly hoping for one of the more powerful models, the C220d would, in truth, be more than enough car to satisfy my needs on a daily basis. I recall the previous generation car feeling far less solid than this design. Drop inside and you'll see where this Mercedes differentiates itself. There's now the option of the fully digital instrument display already familiar from the brand's E-Class and S-Class models, complete with touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons. This is complemented by now-larger centre console screens that can be either 7-inches or 10.25-inches in size, the latter format used for the top 'COMMAND' multi-media set-up that many customers will want. Otherwise, it's much as before, with a broad centre console swooping between the front occupants. I didn't think rear seat room to be especially generous but there's a very class-competitive 480-litres of boot space too. With the estate, the figure's 490-litres. I was also pleased to find a generously-sized fuel tank which meant that the C220d has a range of up to around 900 miles.

Behind the Wheel

It's easy to get a comfortable driving position thanks to the multi-adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat and once inside you'll appreciate the restyled dashboard. And on the move? Well, the AGILITY SELECT driving modes switch allows the driver to select between Comfort, ECO, Sport, Sport+ and Individual settings. And you can add to that with optional 'DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL' adaptive damping. All models come as standard with 9G-Tronic automatic transmission (which now features nine speeds) and buyers certainly aren't short of engine options, with most still likely to want a diesel. There's a base 160hp 1.5-litre unit in the C200d. But most buyers opt for the 2.0-litre 194hp unit on offer in the C220d variant, which offers the option of 4MATIC 4WD. Petrol-wise, there's a 1.6-litre 156hp C180 version, then a C200 derivative which has a 184hp 1.5-litre powerplant featuring the latest 'EQ Boost' technology using a 48volt on-board network with a belt-driven starter/alternator. When accelerating, 'EQ Boost' system can assist the engine with an additional 14hp, bridging the brief moment until the turbocharger has built up its full charge pressure. 4MATIC 4WD is optional. Mercedes has also developed a 2.0-litre 258hp version of this petrol engine for the C300 derivative. Beyond that lie only the Mercedes-AMG high performance derivatives. The first of these, the 3.0-litre V6 C43 4MATIC, now puts out 390hp, 23hp more than before. Beyond that lies only the V8 C63 AMG model, with a 4.0-litre V8 Biturbo engine offering either 476 or 510hp.

Value For Money

I'd begun to think of the Mercedes C-Class as a really viable proposition until I came to the bottom line. The most affordable C180 version is priced at around £30,500, which is still quite a slug of cash for what is a compact family car. Mercedes can generate reams of data that indicate that because of its high resale price and low day to day running costs, that buying a car like this actually works out cheaper than choosing a top-end Mondeo or similar. It's why compact executive cars have pretty much killed off the mainstream sector that used to be populated with cars like Omegas and Scorpios. Couched in those terms, the C-Class isn't bad value for money at all, and when compared with rivals from BMW and Audi, the old Mercedes-Benz premium, where you had to pay around £1,000 extra for a car with the three-pointed star on its bonnet, just doesn't exist any longer. Small wonder sales are quite so strong.

Could I Live With One?

I'll be frank and admit that I didn't expect to bond with the Mercedes C-Class. After spending a week with the car, I found it to be charming, fun to drive and its sheer economy was liberating. Would I buy one? That's a toughie. The problem is that there are any number of cars for half or two thirds of the Mercedes' price that fulfil those criteria. I'm not a big badge snob and would sooner pay less up front but that's a very personal opinion. Speaking objectively, it's difficult to see how Mercedes could have done much better when building a mid-sized executive car.

Trim - Leather

  • Leather - Black (£0.00)
  • Leather - Saddle brown (£0.00)
  • Leather - Cranberry red (£0.00)

Paint - Metallic

  • Metallic - Brilliant blue (£685.00)
  • Metallic - Obsidian black(£685.00)
  • Metallic - Iridium silver (£685.00)
  • Metallic - Cavansite blue (£685.00)
  • Metallic - Selenite Grey (£685.00)
  • Metallic - Mojave silver (£685.00)

Exterior Body Features

  • Metallic paint (£685.00)
  • Solid paint
  • Designo metallic paintwork (£895.00)
  • Designo Magno Paint (£1,795.00)

Paint - Special

  • Designo metallic - Diamond white (£895.00)
  • Designo metallic - Hyacinth red (£895.00)
  • Designo magno - Selenite grey (£1,795.00)

Paint - Solid

  • Solid - Polar white (£0.00)

General

  • Coin Series: AMG Line Edition
  • Coin Description: d
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 30
  • Safety Concerns?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 36E
  • Service Interval Mileage: 15500
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 92
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 84
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 194
  • Badge Engine CC: 2
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • AdBlue: True
  • Generation Mark: 4
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • EC Urban (mpg): 53.3
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 72.4
  • EC Combined (mpg): 64.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 42.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 53.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 64.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 56.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 55.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 6.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 5.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 4.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 5.1

Engine and Drive Train

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 82
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 92.3
  • CC: 1950
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: COMMON RAIL
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: NORTH SOUTH
  • Compression Ratio: 15.:5:1
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • Gears: 9 SPEED

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 6.9
  • Top Speed: 149
  • Engine Power - BHP: 194
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Power - KW: 143
  • Engine Power - RPM: 3800
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 295
  • Engine Torque - NM: 400
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1600
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 40.8

Weight and Capacities

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1585
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2165
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 66
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1800
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Max. Loading Weight: 580
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 455
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Roof Load: 75
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): N
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.2

Emissions - ICE

  • CO2 (g/km): 114
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • CO: 0.059
  • HC: N
  • NOx: 0.02
  • HC+NOx: 0.029
  • Particles: 0.0013
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 134

Tyres

  • Tyre Size Front: 225/45 R18
  • Tyre Size Rear: 245/40 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 18" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: AMG 5 TWIN SPOKE
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Length: 4686
  • Width: 1810
  • Wheelbase: 2840
  • Width (including mirrors): 2020
  • Height: 1442
  • Height (including roof rails): N

Fuel Economy

  • 64.2 MPG (Combined)
  • 53.3 MPG (Urban)
  • 72.4 MPG (Extra Urban)
Fuel Tank Size: 66 Litres

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