After the new S Class comes usually the new C Class with systems and functionalities found in its bigger brother, to set new benchmarks also in its D segment.
Driving the new C200 Luxury Line Limousine, we can say that the brand with the star has fully succeeded. This car stands out in its class, discreetly but with assurance… Just read further.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The C Class breathes the styling language of its bigger brother, if you look merely at the front and rear end. The profile of the C Class is then again marked by the bigger door window areas. The overhang over the rear wheels is slightly longer, and this makes the car look more elegantly stretched, just like the S-Class. The car is also some 6,5 centimeters longer than the previous C-Class generation, breathes panache, looks modern and is purposefully aerodynamic.
…also in the cabin
In the interior, the family resemblance with the top of the line S-Class is even more marked. Sliding behind the wheel, one immediately is overwhelmed by the two big digital screens, one in front of the driver, and another one in massive Tesla style on the centre console.
The Mercedes MBUX system is developed now close to perfection, and even novices soon find their way intuitively through the very logical buildup of the system. And if you would still get lost, there is always the voice command. Just say ‘Hey Mercedes’ and say what you want done…
We loved the 360° camera parking aid very much. The system is so clever, that sometimes you want the system to be even smarter, for example, in situations where one approaches a kerb with the front end of the car when parking in a bay, you would like the front end camera to start up automatically to show you how close you are. Now you first have to push the camera button on the centre console, or use reverse gear first.
You would also want the camera system to get into action automatically – even accompanied by an alert sound – if you get with one of the stylish 18 inch alloy wheels too close to a trottoir border, fence or other obstacle. Now you are left all too often to guesswork. Maybe there is a mode for it, but we did not find it intuitively. The seats are excellent, and adjustable in every conceivable way. Also the rear passengers enjoy enough legroom, thanks partially to the well curved backs of both front seats.
State of the art propulsion…
The 200 C has a 1,5 litre DOHC four cylinder under the hood, developing not less than 204 HP with 300 Nm of torque. If that wasn’t enough, there is also an E-boost of 20 HP and 200 Nm. A small battery will store kinetic energy when decelerating and braking, delivering then its power for the extra boost when called for. The performance leaves nothing to be desired: This 200 C accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in merely 7,3 seconds, its top speed is not less than 247 km/h. The engine is almost inaudible and superbly smooth, provided you don’t push your right foot too deep. When you accelerate hard from standstill or low speeds, the unit lets it heard as it frantically revs through the gears, and one clearly feels and hears that a smaller thoroughbred engine is at work here.
At motorway cruising speeds, things get silent and smooth again, not least because of the high final gear of the superb 9 speed automatic gearbox, ideally mated to the engine.
There are of course several driving modes to choose from, and we liked most the ‘ECO’ mode, where also the E-boost is best felt. The small capacity of the engine has its advantages in economy, and the manufacturer quotes 6,4 liters/100 km as average WLTP consumption. Don’t expect however this C 200 to be exceptionally frugal however in urban driving. This is a 1,5 tonne car and when you drive it with verve, power is needed. The official figure is 8,7 liters/100 km, and very short distance urban errands with very slow traffic will push the consumption well over 10 liters/100 km. There is no secret, in partial and varying load driving, diesels are so much better…EQ-boost or not.
Comfort is to be expected, and this Luxury Line C Class has the Agility Control Damper system as standard. The fundamental setting is already quite firm, so we opted for the comfort mode, which already supports a very spirited driving style with excellent stability and handling. Steering is also precise, and the C Class doesn’t’ mind being driven with verve. The seats also keep you firmly in place, and this goes for the passengers as well.
Road noise is well suppressed, and we enjoyed fully the Burmeister 3D surround sound system in our test car.
Our test car came fully equipped, from electronic adjustable seats to a panorama sunroof and keyless entry. This is how a Mercedes should be, although our less lavishly equipped 1,6 litre B Class which is now more than 4 years old pleases us every day we drive it. It is the balance, workmanship, thorough engineering, overall smoothness, solidity and pervading sense of security which make a Mercedes, and this C 200 continues the good tradition…
Hans Knol ten Bensel