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New Mercedes-Benz C-Class review: C is the new S, almost

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Is the new C-Class as good as the S-Class, often called the best car in the world? In terms of design and connectivity tech it is, but unlike the S-Class (more a chauffeur-driven car), the C-Class is clearly a driver’s car.

The fifth-generation C-Class, launched this week, is called the ‘Baby S-Class’ by the carmaker. “The letters C and S sit at opposite ends of the alphabet … in our portfolio, they’re moving closer together,” said Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz, about the new C-Class. But does the car deserve so much praise? Remember, Mercedes-Benz calls the S-Class the ‘best car in the world’!We recently drove the C-Class on hilly roads around Mussoorie in Uttarakhand.

What is the C-Class?

First launched in 1982, the world has seen five generations of the C-Class. It was launched in India in 2001, and over 37,000 units have been sold here. At one point in time, it was the entry-level Mercedes-Benz car in India, but now it is a proper luxury car in almost every aspect—be it comfort, connectivity, technology or attention to detail.

new mercedes c class review

What defines its design?

It has grown in size (almost the size of the previous generation E-Class), and the design is just like that of the S-Class, especially the rear area with two-section tail-lights. It has a longer wheelbase compared to the previous generation C-Class.

How is the cabin?

new mercedes c class review

The dashboard looks like a work of art and appears inspired from the S-Class. Technology features adopted from the S-Class include the large central screen (equipped with the latest generation NTG7, the company’s infotainment system), extensive personalisation and biometric authentication, wireless smartphone integration, and over the air updates to the car’s software. Front seats are very spacious, and the three-spoke steering wheel is oh-so-sexy.

There is so much ‘convenience’ inside the cabin that it feels like tailor-made around the occupant. For example, the central screen is driver-oriented, sunblinds in left and right rear doors, electric sunblind for rear window, the rear-seat backrest can be fully folded to access the boot, and ambient lighting that changes colours.At the rear, the large central tunnel means there is room only for two passengers.

Despite longer wheelbase compared to the previous generation model, the space to move around your legs is limited. The C-Class, clearly, is a driver’s car, instead of a chauffeur-driven vehicle.The boot space is limited—most of it is taken up by the spare tyre.

new mercedes c class review

Which engines power it?

The entry-level model (C 200) gets the 1496cc petrol engine (204 hp, 300 Nm). The 1993cc diesel is available in two output options (200 hp/440 Nm and 265 hp/550 Nm). The latter one propels the car ahead like a rocket, with a 0-100 km/h acceleration timing of just 5.7 seconds.

How does it drive?

In the petrol model, the cabin is eerily quiet, but in the diesel the engine rattle can be heard inside the cabin (which is normal for any diesel car). Once the engine warms up and you’re on the road, the rattle almost dies down. On smooth roads, the C-Class drives almost sticking to the road, and even while cornering at high speeds it doesn’t lose its line. But on bad roads or gravel, the ride turns harsh. A couple of times it scraped tall speed breakers as well while driving across villages near Mussoorie.

How good a buy is it?

Priced Rs 55 lakh to Rs 61 lakh ex-showroom, it is expensive. Its traditional competitors (BMW 3 Series for Rs 46.9 lakh and Audi A4 for Rs 40.5 lakh) come across as more value for money. But Mercedes-Benz India is currently enjoying its place in the sun, it has almost 5,000 bookings, demand is strong, and it can demand some premium. But it’s also a fact that the new C-Class, a mini limousine, appears far better than its rivals, and its competitor possibly is the equally priced 3 Series Gran Limousine.

Specifications

Variant C 200 C 200d C 300d
Fuel Petrol Diesel Diesel
Engine 1496cc 1993cc 1993cc
Power 150 kW (204 hp) 147 kW (200 hp) 195 kW (265 hp)
Torque 300 Nm 440 Nm 550 Nm
0-100 km/h 7.3 seconds 7.3 seconds 5.7 seconds
Price Rs 55 lakh Rs 56 lakh Rs 61 lakh

Competitors: BMW 3 Series (Rs 46.9 lakh) and 3 Series Gran Limousine (Rs 54.5 lakh), Audi A4 (Rs 40.5 lakh) and Volvo S60 (Rs 45.9 lakh)

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