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The Warsaw Voice » Business » February 27, 2015
Car Rewiev
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Mercedes C220 CDI BlueTEC AMG Line: Classy C-Class
February 27, 2015   
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The new-generation mid-range Mercedes C looks very much like the flagship S-Class model and it also resembles the S-Class in technical specifications and equipment. Sometimes, it is even dubbed the little S-Class. Could this be S-Class for half the price?

The Mercedes C-Class is one of the German automaker’s most popular models. It hit the market in 1993, replacing the now-iconic W201/190 model, which was dubbed the “Baby Benz” because of its diminutive dimensions. The new Mercedes was given the letter C and a factory code of W202. Today, the car is in its fourth generation, carrying the code W205.

What is the new Mercedes C-Class like? It’s certainly an attractive car, but it also causes puzzled looks—mainly because it is confusingly similar to the top-of-the-range Mercedes S-Class sedan. Since not many S-Class cars can be seen around plying the roads in Poland, wherever its smaller cousin appears, it is either mistaken for the S-Class or everyone begins to wonder what kind of Mercedes it is—especially since the new Mercedes C-Class hit the showrooms only at the end of last year. In addition to the visible stylistic borrowings, it is fairly substantial for a mid-range car. It is 4,686 mm in length, 1,810 mm in width and 1,442 mm in height, which further confuses the onlooker. Or perhaps that’s exactly what it’s all about.

The interior is spacious and comfortable for four adult passengers. They have a 480-liter trunk at their disposal. The passenger cabin features top-notch finishing materials. The dashboard is clear, though in my opinion overloaded with various small details and controls. These will no doubt delight many. Personally I prefer the economy of design offered by BMW and Mazda. Nor do I particularly like the glossy plastic of the new Merc’s dashboard. The large display looks a bit strange against it. The driving position is good, and the meaty steering wheel, which is slightly flattened at the bottom, lies perfectly in the hand.

As you might expect of the brand, the Mercedes C-Class is equipped with a swathe of safety features as standard: front, side and curtain airbags, adaptive brakes with an ABS anti-skid system, ASR traction control with a brake-disc drying function, and hill-start assist. The C-Class also offers a brake assist system (BAS) and an electronic stability program (ESP). From a technical point of view, the new C-Class has all the useful safety and comfort features offered by the brand, including air suspension. Also worthy of mention are items such as a head-up display (HUD), touchpad controls, Agility Control (adjusting the work of the shock absorbers to how you drive), lane monitoring, blind spot monitoring, Distronic Plus active cruise control, and a reversing camera. This last feature, combined with cameras in the side mirrors, shows the driver a 360-degree birds-eye view on the display.

The test-drive model was fitted with a 2.1-liter, 170 hp C220 CDI BlueTEC diesel engine. This is one of the best engines on the market and it runs smoothly, while also boasting flexibility and low fuel consumption. A maximum torque of 400 Nm is available from 1,400 all the way to 4,800 rpm. The 1,520 kg car takes 7.7 seconds to accelerate to 100 kph and can hit a top speed of 234 kph. Even though the average fuel economy level promised by the manufacturer (4.0l/100 km) is difficult to obtain in actual road conditions, my test-drive result of 5.8l/100km was impressive enough. Many may be surprised by the small capacity of the fuel tank. It holds only 41 liters of fuel, no more than a city car. On the plus side, the car’s seven-speed 7G - Tronic automatic transmission works smoothly and shift gears almost imperceptibly. The driver can also choose to change gears manually using paddles under the steering wheel.

The new C-Class can surprise the driver in many ways, including the price. The test-drive model fitted with the least expensive engine and with the basic trim level costs under zl.130,000. Meanwhile, the test-drive model fitted with an in-line diesel engine and a long list of optional equipment in the AMG line version will set you back almost zl.250,000—and that means close to the S-Class in terms of price. What’s more, if you choose the most powerful gasoline version, the V8 5.5-liter C 63 AMG, which offers a mouth-watering 585 hp, you may end up with a price tag similar to that of the cheapest S-Class (the Mercedes S 350 BlueTEC for zl.371,500). Does this mean that you can expect S-Class quality even though you’re buying C-Class? Not quite. Despite the similarities, these are two different models, completely differently positioned on the market, but if that doesn’t bother you...

Bartosz Grzybiński
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