Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 200 Review
There is no other reason to buy a Mercedes-Benz car except for one; it is a Mercedes-Benz! They pioneered selling nice luxury cars when others were sceptical of their market acceptance in India. Their most popular car from the well spread portfolio continues to be the C-Class.
Been there for 7 long years, it was about time the C-Class got a complete makeover except for this time the makers took it a tad more seriously than ever before. It now flaunts lines similar to the revolutionary ultra modern S-Class and inside too, it chooses to drape in a similar fashion.
They have also made this one lose weight by making it follow a strict diet. Based on the recent MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform, even the ride and handling has been tuned up. Well...the German War just got reloaded as this Stuttgart soldier has got a super life and ammo upgrade. Would recommend reading this review before you wire-transfer that premium amount in favour of others.
All would unanimously agree that Mercs look the most elegant of the lot. For those who think otherwise sure have some justification on why the S-Class keeps sweeping away all the awards like a daily affair.
It’s admirable when the past is used as an inspiration to design future cars. The new C-Class, as the makers claim, draws inspiration from classic cars of the 30s where the dramatic design played a pivotal role in shaping them. The sloping line on the silhouette stands testimony to it. It begins around the front headlights before gradually dropping towards the rear highlighting the rear half also symbolizing the new real wheel drive platform. A similar trait can be seen on the S-Class as well.
The new family grille with twin separate bars features on this one too. The aggressive face of the earlier generation has been made a lot more subtle with wrapped around headlights, multi LED turn indicators and eye brow shaped DRLs. These headlights automatically adjust while turning and cornering.
The front bumper also gets its share of folds and creases with a wider air intake scoop. It gets a central air splitter too. The air scoops on both sides have no fog lamps reason being the brighter eyebrow LED strips which have replaced them. Also, fog lamps will soon become a thing of passé in modern cars.
Look at it from rear quarter angle and this new entrant makes sure it leaves an interesting impression. Even with a higher ground clearance (Yes! we Indians are privileged) the ride height looks fine. The solid 5-spoke alloys compliment the overall elegant appeal. The longish hood looks contrasting to the stubby rear as the lower half gets an inverse with a long rear overhang and shorter front.
If the C-Class passes by at night, chances are you would mistake it for its elder sibling. They have replicated and tastefully recreated the rear of the C-Class to make it closely resemble the S-Class. The wide boot lid gives a larger car feel with body hugging tail lights which are an extension to the strong shoulder line. There is chrome embellishment on the boot lid with a lesser generous of a line on the rear diffuser. The twin sections that the chrome line makes gives an impression of twin exhaust pipes. In real, the exhaust pipes are smartly tucked beneath the rear bumper.
The amount of comfort making measures that have gone inside the new C-Class will make you mistake it for their flagship offering. Mercedes-Benz too endorses great pride in accepting the inspiration the designers took to elevate the passenger experience of this car.
The overall feel is better than the earlier version but it would take time for someone who has been in a C-Class earlier as the new trim lines, gadgets, features and options bid farewell to the simplistic style. The new steering wheel feels good to hold and also comes with basic controls to operate the infotainment screen as well as access the multi information display in the instrumental cluster. The cluster layout has also got a change with cleaner display of digits. It has a graphic indicator which displays scores for different driving styles.
The front dashboard paired with the large central console is the best in the segment. There are instances where it exceeds the E-Class as well. The upper cave of the front dashboard is positioned higher. There is matte aluminium finished bar running along the width.
The best aspect has to be the floating central console with a glossy wooden skin which also has an amazing finishing. The tablet screen sits at the top of the dashboard giving all the essentials of information and interestingly is not a touchscreen unit. The reason for that is to make the driver do the most minimal movement thus reducing distraction.
One can operate it with the help of a centrally mounted touchpad unit. It operates even on the slightest of the touch with a simple slide and click. The user can shuffle between different entertainment options, car settings and also access navigation system with it. The in-car entertainment system is supported by a high fidelity 13-speaker Burmester sound system. It is an absolute treat to the audio senses.
Let’s talk about the main decision making points of the interiors. It is a known fact that many preferring a Benz over competition do so with a biased towards the comfort offered. With the new C-Class, their biased views would get a stronger support as the increase in overall construction has freed up impressive space for occupants inside. The rear passenger area gets generous legroom without the knees brushing against the front seat. The higher transmission tunnel that runs in between can make three passengers feel the squeeze.
However, the chauffer driven will have nothing to complain about. The chauffer himself will have no more complaining to do as the seat comfort and the area around it feels truly impressive. The large tunnel has been tastefully hidden with a distracting wooden glossy slab which also gets numerous options and buttons to play with.
It looks different and feels more upmarket than ever before but how does it drive? To begin with, it is based on the all new lightweight Modular Rear Architecture platform, which is among the four primary platforms on which all future Mercedes-Benz cars will be based on. The merits of MRA have reduced the overall weight, increased efficiency and rigidity of the new car.
While the more popular diesel variant will launch in the first quarter of 2015, it is the 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine which had made its way into India. It makes a healthy 181.04 bhp of power at 5500 rpm and 300Nm of torque between 1200rpm to 1400rpm. With lesser weight to haul the ride and handling have shifted upwards compared to the earlier version but are still not the best in the segment especially if you compare it with that of the BMW 3 Series, a car that’s bang on in terms of agility around corners.
The petrol motor demands to be pushed to the stronger mid range where it feels livelier. If you are in for some performance styled driving the new C-Class is clearly not the sedan for you but then if you wish to crunch on those extra miles with a cushy and comfort ride, then you are driving the right sedan. The lazy response can be forgiven for the smooth and linear power delivery. The engine is paired with the most acclaimed 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission which works much well in sync with the cruising powertrain.
To bring in certain individuality in driving style, it gets five vivid drive modes namely Economy, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ or Individual to choose from. These modes mainly alter different characteristics such as the throttle response, transmission shift and the steering feel. To get these modes activated, there is chrome dipped and knurled oscillating switch mounted just beside the touchpad on the wooden central console.
The vehicle is in Comfort mode as a standard setting which maintains a balance on all aspects. A slight push on the agility switch and the Eco drive mode is selected where the engine behaviour along with the in-car air conditioning is remapped to deliver the best fuel efficiency. This mode is a boon especially after a peppy highway dash but the lack of throttle response gets highlighted. You can’t really complain about it as it is only in this mode where you end up scoring more points for efficiency.
Get out of the green eco zone and you are greeted by the Sport mode which changes the steering feel, throttle response and also shifts the transmission pattern for a more dynamic style of driving. Still not happy with it? Shift it to the Sport+ mode where the engine feels high on response and the first thing that you notice is the added growl on the tachometer where the needle shifts higher giving more breathing space while also making the shifts crisper and shorter.
Overtaking, travelling confidently at higher speeds and quick lane shift become very easy on this mode. There is also an optional manual shift mode where the paddle shifters come into play squeezing out the maximum potential of the engine.
Replacing the famous soft ride trait of the earlier C-Class, the new variant comes with a stiffer ride setup which has its share of highs and lows. The quickness of the vehicle to take corners at high speeds has gone up but the stress felt on uneven harsh road conditions has also increased. Even the low profile 225/50 R 17 tyres which look amazing contribute to the hard ride quality.
However, one can stay assured about the under body not scraping on those tall speed breakers especially the ones near toll booth. After driving cars like the CLA45AMG, it is scary to even look at these mini mountains but with the new C-Class and its raised ride height and tall ground clearance, one can drive over them with a free mind.
The new C-Class is not a car that you would love taking around corners as for those kinds there is a BMW 3-Series which continues to be the best in terms of handling and overall performance. The snobby Brit XF too, which sits a segment above but comes for the same price, is not far behind when it comes to holding corners even with its large dimensions. Should a C-Class owner care for all this? Read our conclusion.
|Variant||C 200 CGI|
|Power in PS/RPM||183.33 / 5500|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||300 / 1200-1400|
|Wheel base mm||2840|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1545|
|Ground clearance mm||NA|
|Tyre Spec||225 / 50 R17|
|Features||C 200 CGI|
|43.2 cm (R 17) 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in vanadium silver||Yes|
|LED Intelligent Light System with variable light distribution, active light function||Yes|
|Panoramic sliding sunroof||Yes|
|Rear bumper with insert in black diﬀuser-look grain ﬁnish||Yes|
|Suspension with higher ground clearance||Yes|
|Mirror Package – electrically folding mirrors and automatically dimming exterior driver’s mirror and rear-view mirror||Yes|
|Drive mode selector (AGILITY SELECT) to select 5 diﬀerent driving modes||Yes|
|Steering wheel with gear shift paddles||Yes|
|Front door sill panels with ‘Mercedes-Benz’ lettering, illuminated||Yes|
|Front seats in ‘Cobra-look’ – electrically adjustable||Yes|
|Interior Lighting Package||Yes|
|Trim in the centre console in high-gloss brown line structure lime wood||Yes|
|Upholstery, ARTICO leather (black/black or silk beige/black)||Yes|
|Adaptive Highbeam and Headlamp Assist Plus||Yes|
|Automatic climate control THERMATIC – two zone||Yes|
|KEYLESS GO starting function||Yes|
|ADAPTIVE BRAKE with Hill-Start Assist, priming and brake drying in the wet||Yes|
|Audio 20 CD with touchpad: Multimedia system with high-resolution 17.78 cm colour display with Navigation, Garmin® MAP PILOT||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||C 200 CGI||328i Sport Line||1.8 TFSI Multitronic Technology Pack|
|Power in PS/RPM||183.33 / 5500||245 / 5000||170 / 3800|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||300 / 1200-1400||350 / 1250||320 / 1400|
|Gears||7G-TRONIC PLUS||8-Speed Steptronic||Multitronic|
|Wheel base mm||2840||2810||2808|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1545||1585||1545|
|Ground clearance mm||NA||140||NA|
|Tyre Spec||225 / 50 R17||225 / 45 R18||225 / 55 R16|
The popularity of this car compelled Mercedes-Benz India to prepone its launch. The new C-Class has gone through a major transformation which is evident in its exterior styling. The S-Class inspired cues leave an impressive touch. Taking advantage of the additional length and width which has gone up by 95mm and 40mm respectively, the cabin feels a lot more welcoming. They have layered it with top notch equipment, features and comfort again thanks to its World Car of the Year sibling.
The reason behind topping this sedan with dollops of luxury is to cater the chauffer driven class, who won’t mind lack of enthusiasm of driving an agile sedan as long as they feel pampered with a spacious cabin and tons of features to write home about.
Agreeably, it is the only one offering everything at this price especially if you consider the S-Class inspired interiors at half of its price but then there is a slight problem. This particular version being a CBU is available at Rs.51 lakhs (On-Road) which makes it supremely expensive.
Playing the devil’s advocate, for the same amount of money one can also get a more niche Jaguar XF or a more powerful BMW 3-Series or even a value for money A4. So clearly the new C-Class can pinch even the niche class but not that the knowledgably sane aren’t aware of it as they roll out diesel and CKD variants soon, which will further deepen the rivalry spoiling the consumers with multitudes of choices.