Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
4 minute read
19 Mar 2014
2:00 pm

Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the business

Mark Jones

Being a premium player in the market today is no easy job.

Being the most important model in your brand’s range of vehicles adds even more pressure. Success here is vital, and not every manufacturer achieves it.

SA is all about the big three – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – and the big question is, does the all new C-Class have what it takes to go one better than its rivals? The short answer is, oh yes!

The Audi A4 is the oldest of the trio at the moment and it is starting to show when it comes to technology on board and driving dynamics. I am sure the all new A4 that will debut in a few years time will address these issues. But for now, if you are looking for class-leading technology and driving dynamics, it is BMW and Merc that are top of the class.

The new C-Class is now lighter, offers class-leading aerodynamics, new economical engines and an array of safety features and options in an effort to set new bench marks in this segment. I am not going to even try and explain the exterior and interior packages to you other than to say that you have a host of options from Standard to Avantgarde and AMG to go with your choice of a sporty front end with a central star on the grill or you can opt for the classic sedan radiator grille with the star on the bonnet that is reserved solely for the Exclusive line.

The interior of the new C-Class is great place to spend time with pleasant touch high-class materials being used along with a decent amount of space and a healthy helping of modern styling. You will also notice a new innovative touchpad that takes care of most of the functionality of the head unit of the car once you get used to it. The other noticeable interior feature is the heads-up display that shows all important information like speed, speed limits and navigation on the front windscreen in your field of vision. There is a downside here, which is that if you are wearing polarised sunglasses then you battle to read the information.

Mercedes Benz C 250

For me though, the biggest plus with the new car is that the ride quality, handling ability and steering feel is a leap forward from the previous generation C-Class. Regardless of the model derivative I drove, the all new suspension did its job and did it well. And if the optional lowered sport suspension is not enough for you, you then opt for the first in segment air suspension and control it via the Agility Control function.

And while on the road, you can be assured that you have one of the safest cars on the road under you. You get ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn you of inattentiveness and fatigue, you get COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS that ensures that when the risk of collision persists and you fail to respond, the system is able to start braking the car at speeds of up to 200 km/h, and is able to stop completely from speeds up to 40 km/h.

Then you have the optional equipment like DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and integrated Stop & Go Pilot that uses lane markings to follow the vehicle ahead at speeds below 60 km/h, and BAS PLUS Brake Assist that can detect crossing traffic and boost the braking force if you fail to apply the brakes sufficiently, to Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist that can prevent the car from unintentionally drifting out of lane by applying the brakes on one side when the lane markings are broken and there is a risk of collision – and all the other assistance systems you have come to know over the years.

Mercedes-Benz C250, AMG Line, Avantgarde, Diamantsilber metallic

At the local launch in May this year we are getting the 125 kW / 400 Nm C 220 BlueTEC turbodiesel, and then the petrol turbocharged 115 kW / 250 Nm C 180, 135 kW / 300 Nm C 200 and 155 kW / 350 Nm C 250 BlueEfficiency range with a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes.

I think the all new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a very good car and it is going to make your choice in this segment that much more difficult. I would go so far as to say that regardless of badge loyalty, it will be impossible to ignore come purchase time.