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Mercedes Benz C Class Detailed Expert Review - December 01, 2011

40.2 - 138.78 lakhs
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Introduction

Dec 01, 2011 : Expert Review By

2011 Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde Review:  German Aggression

A warm welcome to all of you in the brand new year of 2012. Celebrations and party mood has still not passed and we all would love to be dangling in the joyous spirit throughout the year of 2012.

The highs of New Year spirit will be further raised with the oncoming Auto Expo 2012, which is to be held from 7th Jan to 11th Jan at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Among a slew of launches, there would be one from Mercedes-Benz showcasing their Concept-A and other AMG race cars.

Mercedes-Benz is a brand whose association with India goes way back into history. Even today, the recognition a Benz enjoys among the Indian populace is second to none.

Mercedes Benz C Class Expert Review, C Class Road Test - 115730 | CarTrade

The C-Class is Merc’s entry level sedan in today's high end luxury segment, which resembles a battle field with other fierce German warriors such as the BMW 3-series and the Audi A4.

2011 saw Mercedes-Benz tweak the C250’s looks among other upgrades. This move can be seen as Benz’s response to the increasing sales of its fellow countrymen and also to redefine C-Class’ entry level image to a more sporty one.

We drive the Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde and find out more about its German aggression.

Exterior

The looks of Mercedes Benz have always been a signature of the brand. They have a common theme without being identical, which is the case with Audi. All the A’s looks reminiscent of each other and identifying one of them takes more than just one look.

Coming back to our gorgeous lady, the new C looks as if it got all the necessary pampering done from the guys of “Villa Salazar”. The new design now makes the C larger than its predecessor.

Avantgarde, which was bestowed to us, is the closest to a racy looking C-Class. The car even when parked has loads of attitude and aggression oozing out. The contrast colored panoramic roof flows in line with the front glass shield and reaches rear.

The longish hood makes it even more enticing to look at. The V-look is evident from the front. The massive three pointed star emblem can’t be given a miss due to its prominent positioning on the radiator grille. The grille has matte finished front inclined vents and can gasp in tons of air when needed.

The contours on the bumper have a sculpted feel with the headlight design complementing side air scoops on the bumper. The front bumper has protruding lips type of air scoops in the middle, while the ones on either sides have inverse design of the headlight.The air scoops also house the chrome treated day running lamp streaks.

The headlight design is a combination of curves and straights. The Intelligent Light system houses a single barrel bi-xenon headlight, length covering LED indicator and a C-shaped side light.

Side profile with those LM-5 twin spoke 17inch wheels looks very sporty. The nose first look with the front emblem tearing the winds before the rest of the body is nice. Long hood with an intermediate smaller compartment and the even smaller looking boot sums up the side profile.

The body coloured ORVMs have indicators in a frenzy pattern inscribed on them.The shoulder lines are gentle and not too aggressively climbing towards the rear. The “Blue EFFICIENCY” tag is a small touch on the side. The door handles merge in with the doors completely.

Aggression however is not a uniform design theme on the new C, which is little disappointing.  The long hood, sporty air scoops and the large characteristic looks don’t find a continuation till the rear.The rear design has been kept simple and it doesn’t reflect the performance design which the front endorses. The butterfly wing shaped tail lamps with horizontally stacked LED strips for brake and indicators look decent. The chrome tipped logo and the model syllables are neatly placed on the upper line of the boot.

The single exhaust beneath the bumper, which is also chrome treated concludes the rear design. We would have liked the rear design to be in sync with the overall sporty character of the car. 

Interior

It’s a Mercedes-Benz so the complaints and cribbing of a sadly finished interior won’t be much. Get inside the C250 Avantgarde and you are welcomed by all the instrumentation.

The gizmos and gadgets run an orchestra to commemorate your entry in the vehicle.If fine suiting, fine dining and an exquisite taste for all the supreme things in life define you then the Mercedes-Benz C250 Avantgarde can be a humble addition to your collection.

The 3 spoke 12 button steering wheel greets you first as soon as you get inside the cabin. The steering wheel can b electronically adjusted for its rake and length settings. The chrome Benz logo sits in the middle of the wheel.Just let your eyes travel beyond the steering wheel and you can see triple barrel instrumentation. The instrumentation is done in shades of white and grey, which looks really stylish. The central barrel which houses the speedometer has a 3D display with all the necessary information display on fuel consumption, gear engaged, tripmeter and also other host of informations that the vehicle wishes to communicate.

To one’s disposal after the central armrest is the Jog dial controller for the Audio 20 System.The dashboard has a tactile grained surface finish to it. It houses the PARKTRONIC at the top. The 14.7cm TFT Central display screen is followed by the Audio 20 setup, which has a phone pairing option too.

The THERMATIC climate control system senses the ambient weather conditions and sets its self to the optimum settings. Reaching Siberia conditions doesn’t take time at all and is just a crank away on those aluminum finished dials.

The rear section gets an air-con system too but without controls. Some sort of control arrangement for the rear would have been a nice touch.The Avantgarde badge fits well under the Air-con. The tag is not too loud but just a subtle touch.Leather clad auto-transmission shift stick stands firm on the front central console.The Panoramic sunroof when activated opens in two stages with the front and rear section getting rolled towards the central beam. The illumination coz of this is really nice as the entire cabin gets lit up with the outside sunlight.

Interiors of the Avantgarde boast of leather upholstery. The ARTICO man made leather beige colored seats do its bit in giving its bit of comfort to the passengers. The seats can be electronically adjusted and come with memory package.The memory package can save upto 3 permutations of font seat arrangements. I loved the electric seat arrangement button on the door trim, which saves the hassle of digging besides the door for the same. I am 6`1 but I had no issues sitting inside it with my legs almost stretched in the driver’s seat.

My favorite position in the extremely down and legs stretched. It gives this pseudo super car driving position. But in my attempt to be a supercar driver, the one sitting at the rear won’t enjoy it much.The rear legroom is not too generous, which is a slight deviation from all the positive vibes of the front. All the luxury cars that feature in this class come fully loaded with advanced features. These features are basically to make it less human driven and more towards the computer driven scheme.

The C250 CDI is no less than a technological innovation and comes with lots of gizmos.The Blue EFFICIENCY that Mercedes endorses is an environmental friendly package. It optimizes the fuel consumption using advanced aerodynamic measures. The optimum utilization of resources is done by combined efforts of different equipment.

Thus, there are sensors monitoring every behavior of the vehicle and accordingly it takes the necessary action.The Audio 20 audio system with 6-CD changer  and 8 on board speakers together form a good audio setup. The tracks can be selected with the help of the media button on the steering wheel, which displays tracks on the central instrumentation. This avoids getting distracted from the central display while driving.

The Intelligent Light System has bi-xenon headlamps and operates in as much as 6 different modes depending on the different driving conditions. The PARK-TRONIC sensors are very sensitive and emit ultra sonic signals from the front and the rear of the vehicle; it can detect even the minutest obstruction that comes on way of the vehicle.

C250 CDI comes fitted with 6 airbags throughout the car. The Front airbags deflate in two stages sensing the severity of the car crash.NECK-PRO Head restraints promise avoiding whiplash injury in case of an accident. The NECK-PRO restraints move up by 30mm and forward by 40mm on an rear impact occasion.

The Coffee mug displayed on the central instrumentation is the ATTENTION ASSIST system. This system detects the drowsiness of a driver and alerts with audio alerts. It works between speeds of 80km/h to 180km/h. It monitors the steering positions and the vivid vehicle behavior and then intrudes to alert the driver.Then there are other usual features like auto lights, auto wipers etc, which have found a place in basic cars as well. 

The Benz C250 has its share of spacing at different levels throughout.The Glove box on the front dash provides enough spacing for the mundane needs as well as it can carry a Netbook along with other documents very swiftly.There is a small ash tray section immediately under the Thermatic air-con system. Twin cup holders on the central console. The central armrest splits open into two for central storage. The central storage also houses the USB/AUX input options.

There are utility nets around the lower platform. The door trims have spacings for small nitigrities. In case you wondering where a bottle of water can be snugged in, the utility webs can contribute here.Front co-passenger seats have storage options under it.

Central armrest for the rear passenger splits open in many folds to take in necessary documents and two glasses.Luggage space is a generous 475 litres with hooks for shopping bags.

 

 

Performance

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde comes with a 4- cylinder 2143cc engine. This mill produces a peak power of 204 bhp at 4200 rpm and a super impressive torque of 500 Nm at 1600 – 1800 rpm. Its super high performance cousin, the C63 AMG has a 6208cc V-8 engine producing a jaw dropping 457bhp at 6800 rpm and a neck breaking torque of 600Nm at 5000 rpm with 7G Tronic shift.

All luring figures of the C63 AMG can be a massive distraction. However, our C250 CDI Avantgarde is second in rank to the supreme AMG, which is impressive.

The C250 CDI has a 5 speed automatic transmission. I wonder how evil would a plane Jane manual shift be on this unit (evil smirk).

The confident steering feel and the sporty stance makes one temp to take her really hard and high. No matter for how long you have her, one can’t have enough of her.

Take her on the highways and you would feel as if you playing a high definition Need for Speed game in 3D. One can just fix targets to overtake and after you complete pronouncing “Mercedes-Benz”, it’s just a speck on your rear view mirror.

Low ground clearance of 145mm makes the car hug the streets completely. High speeds cornering is fun, especially on ghats, where the 225/45 R17s start making the squeaking sounds.

Push her harder, and your ears witness the symphony of the engine. The roar is to pacify you and make you realize of the actual credentials of a Benz.  In our attempt to set the fastest speed, we clocked a max of 190 km/h. Reaching more was possible but then the Indian road conditions didn’t favor our hooliganism on the road.

Braking is very effective and was one of the encouraging points to support our performance driving on highways. So bringing the 1655 kg (kerb weight) vehicle to a standstill was not a task at all. There were no panic moments too thanks to the effective ABS system.

The transmission no doubt is smooth in auto mode, but when shifted to manual is little too sensitive in the sense shifting to lower gears is easy but then while shifting for higher gears if you shift it with little effort, it switches to Auto Drive immediately skipping the manual mode.

The engine won’t start until the shift is engaged in N or P. So in case of traffic situations if the engine is OFF, you have to shift it to N/P to start it and then again shift to D, which can become quite an exercise. This could have been avoided by enabling the engine to be cranked only by pressing the brake in D mode itself instead of shifting the stick.

The best fuel efficiency figure that we managed to squeeze out was 9.5 km/l and the worst was 8.5km/l.Over and above, the C250 CDI is a pleasure and yes the changes that have been made from the previous generation is very evident. 

Specifications
Technical Specifications
 Make Mercedes
 Model Benz
Variant C 250 CDI
Price (Ex-showroom Mumbai in Lakhs) 33,75.350
Engine Capacity (L) 2143/4
Power (PS/RPM) 204/4200
Torque (Nm/RPM) 500/1600-1800
Transmission 7G- DCT
Dimensions in mm
Length  4596
Width 1770
Height 1447
Wheel Base 2760
Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL 12
Tyre size Front 225/45 R17
Tyre size Rear 225/45 R17
Top speed KMPH 200
Tank capacity in Liters 66
Kerb Weight (Kg) 1655
Turning circle Radius 5.5M
Boot Capacty in Liters 475
Mercedes Benz C Class Competitors
Competition Specifications
Specifications
Mercedes
Benz
BMW
3 Series
Audi
A4
Variant C 250 CDI Blue Effeciency 320d 2.0TDI
Ex showroom Mumbai in Lakh 33,75.350 28,90,000 31,48,005
Engine Capacity (L) 2143/4 1995/4 1968/4
Power (PS/RPM) 204/4200 184/4000 105/4200
Torque (Nm/RPM) 500/1600-1800 380/1750-2750 320/1750-2500
Transmission 7G- DCT 8/AT Multitronc
Dimensions in mm
Length  4596 4624 4701
Width 1770 1811 1826
Height 1447 1429 1427
Wheel Base 2760 2810 2808
Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL 12 15 16
Tyre size Front 225/45 R17 225/55 R16 225/55 R16
Tyre size Rear 225/45 R17 225/55 R16 225/55 R16
Top speed KMPH 200 235 200
Tank capacity in Liters 66 60 63
Kerb Weight (Kg) 1655 NA 1590
Turning circle Radius 5.5M NA NA
Boot Capacty in Lters 475 NA NA
Conclusion

I personally have learnt some lessons from the C250 CDI. The most important of them is one must not be scared to take an expensive car in bylanes. Initially, I was very skeptical of taking a car like the Mercedes-Benz in bylanes but then once seated inside, the car gives you the immense confidence to take it anywhere.

Some also face a myth that these expensive cars are difficult to be driven on normal roads as the instrumentation can be confusing. It’s very wrong, as soon as you get in such cars it doesn’t take long to get yourself familiarized with the buttons and features.

It’s a very important aspect for all cars, as not many drivers are familiar with high end cars and it becomes a decision making point for them. The drivability of a car should be such that even someone driving a Tata Nano can drive this too.

The Mercedes Benz C250 CDI is also a very practical car. It is no doubt priced more than the BMW 3-Series and in line with the Audi A4. Debashis Mitra, Director Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India claims that the C-Class sells 25% more units compared the BMW 3-Series and 40% more units  compared to the Audi A4.

 

So the German Aggression called Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde is indeed fierce but what needs to be seen is who wins the final battle among the three. 

Mercedes Benz C Class

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