Did you know that the Mercedes C Class is the brand’s absolute bestseller, and that it is already built since 30 years?
The biggest market for the C Class is…China. The sedan version proves there to be the most popular.
Entering now since end 2021 in its fifth generation, the C Class is most liked on our shores in its “T “ station wagen version. That’s how we tested it, and we stayed also very traditional in choosing the diesel version, a drivetrain type in which the brand with the good star has written legends over the years.
And yes, we appreciated fully the smooth, carefree power and beauty of a diesel, which has grown in a noble mannered workhorse which ensures you absolute carefree mobility just everywhere on this planet of ours. We were again deeply impressed by the workmanship, the build quality of the bodywork and the timeless quality of the materials, last but not least the “compact S-Class” character of this C class, which now inherits much of the infotainment and electronics of the flagship Mercedes. Just read on…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Impressive inside and out
The Mercedes design team under the able direction of Gordon Wagener added some panache to the exterior of the latest generation C Class. So we have digital headlights, serious power domes on the hood, even quite a sporty and almost aggressive grille design in the AMG styled version. The car looks lean and elegant from any angle, with always a keen eye for aerodynamics.
The S Class character of the car comes completely into its own when you step inside. The array of digital instruments and the massive centre touchscreen is certainly convincing, and yes, this Mercedes brings you fully into the digital age. The degree of sophistication is enormous and you are well advised to read the instructions carefully, spend some time with it to discover the wonderful world of digital info Mercedes has in store for you. The second generation of the MBUX system is here ready for you to act on your commands, beginning with “Hey Mercedes”…
For the Navigation, we enjoyed the MBUX Augmented Reality in our test car. It shows you on the massive centre screen traffic sign boards, house numbers and the like, to clarify things and assist you in finding your way efficiently in urban areas.
The C Class has a bit grown in size: it is 1 cm larger but the track has even widened more significantly as well as the wheelbase. The “T” version, which as we said far more than half the European buyers prefer, offers useful luggage space of course, with 490 liters when all the seats are up, to a maximum of 1510 liters. The boot lid itself is rather small, which can bring some awkward surprises when you want to load bigger items at the Ikea store…
The Fifth generation C Class now offers more passenger space, and even in the back, persons up to say 1,85 meter find enough headroom.
Updates over the air…
The software in the new C class is kept up to date over the air, and can even be upgraded with further options if you so wish. Of course, functions which at the moment are still being developed can then be installed later…
We also liked the very clear overhead display on our test car, which came also with the LED digital light headlamps. You can even display symbols and marker lines with these headlamps, to guide you through narrow passageways for instance…
Legendary diesel power
It’s about time we tell you more about how this 200 d performs and drives. The 1993 cc engine develops some 200 HP or 147 kW, and has a hefty 440 Nm of torque available for you. Coupled to a very smooth and reactive 9 speed automatic transmission, performance leaves nothing to be desired. What to think of a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of merely 7,4 seconds and a top speed of 243 km/h?
All this doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg at the pump: according to the WLTP norm, the 200 d uses anything between 5 and 5,8 liters/100 km. No trouble at all for your comfort oriented servant to stay within these limits during our test. The car is actually a MHEV, and indeed is assisted in stop and start movements by a small 20 HP/15 kW electric motor (actually an 48 V starter generator) which delivers an additional torque of 200 Nm.
Don’t expect six cylinder smoothness from a bigger 4 cylinder, but electronic combustion management and driveline calibration has achieved wonders over the years, and this is a very smooth diesel indeed, built for cruising over long distances as well as leisurely boulevard driving.
The C class has a very surefooted handling, and this is even further enhanced by an (optional) directional back axle. Indeed, below 60 km/h, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels, which virtually shortens the wheelbase and makes the car more agile in town. Above that speed, the rear wheels steer in the same direction, which effectively lengthens the wheelbase, adding stability at speed. The C Class is comfort oriented of course, and here both in suspension and seat quality it truly scores.
The 200 d Class convinces, in many ways. It is the ideal partner for a long mobility relationship, and your love and appreciation for this car with the good star will only grow over the years.
Its well proportioned styling will not only accompany you elegantly over the years, it also will help to retain the resale value of the car. The test car is the latest generation of “clean” diesels, and we can assure you, it will be around for a long long time, in Europe and worldwide. We might even see the advent of newly engineered synthetic clean Diesel fuels, coming from African based solar plants, who knows….
The millions and millions of diesel engined cars running around daily in our world and their corresponding environmental footprint is simply too large to be ignored, and this enormous (commercial) car park cannot be simply scrapped. So can you buy this diesel with an eye to the future? Yes you can…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Photographers’ notes: we photographed the 200 d Mercedes with our mirrorless Fujifilm X-A5 system camera. It delivers excellent image quality, excellent high ISO performance. Last but not least one enjoys a very good dynamic range from RAW files.
Inside is a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, and there’s a 4K video mode too, although this is restricted to just 15fps. You also get a touch-sensitive rear screen that flips through 180 degrees for quick and simple selfies. We love it, it’s a bit slow in autofocus, but the image quality is there, and it looks terrific.