Slick, smart Mercedes C200 a chip off the ‘S Block.’
Mercedes’ fresh and exciting latest C200 AMG Line sedan is clearly a chip off the old S-Class block. Essentially the same car as the US C300, It gives entry exec buyers their fair share to ponder with sharp E looks, S tech, comfort and style and impressive mild-hybrid efficiency and performance.
Minimalist design leaves this latest Benz face, a sharp if a bit Korean tail and bold shoulder line to do the talking in a subtly aggressive tone. Larger than before at 187 inches long, 71 in wide and riding on an inch longer 112.8-inch wheelbase, the new dimensions benefit rear passenger room most.
Clearly a Chip Off the S-Class Block
You must step aboard to discover where this C200 makes its greatest gains. Plush materials are cobbled together in a business class finish to deliver a truly premium class cabin. Splendid finishes and gliding components take style to a new level in this class.
A large high-resolution LCD infotainment screen floating off the clean carbon wing style dash to split opinion. Some enjoy the big screen. Others question if it’s necessary and older drivers are overawed. The screen sits too low in the car, there are not enough buttons, and its logic can confuse even the most computer literate of drivers.
Step Aboard to Relish Greatest C200 Gains
Control it by latest ‘Hey Mercedes’ MBUX voice, the touch screen, or use the left stalk of the steering wheel. The disappointing touch sensitive surfaces however proved a step backward from the brilliant old buttons we so raved about. The driver’s multi-mode digital dials are run by just as annoying pads the other steering stalk.
Discreet, Sporty and Classic display styles and three Navigation, Assistance and Service modes help make the C-Class yours. Driver and front passenger space is good front and rear. Four adults travel at ease in and a fifth passenger in the middle will be happy on a shorter drive. The 16 cubic foot boot falls short of some rivals, but it’s practical enough for most needs.
Efficiency Does Not Curb Performance
This one’s 201 HP 221 lb.-ft turbo-petrol burbles to life courtesy of its 15 kW 200 Nm hybrid electric boost. Turning the rear axle via Merc’s 9G-Tronic ‘box, it defies its fifteen-hundred capacity. The US model has a 255 HP 295 lb.-ft 2-litre. The rest is identical. Sick it to drive, pull away and you’re rewarded with a splendid and smooth drive. Torquey and effortless, quiet and composed even under hard acceleration, its magic carpet like.
Our tester easily matched Merc’s 7.3-second 0-60 mph claims, and we readily beat the promised 45 mpg. The US C300 is about a second quicker and will manage 36 mpg. Five Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual modes include bring more choice. We fiddled a bit but preferred softer Comfort for everyday driving. It’s a tad taut and a bit noisy on these low-profile tires, but that’s a trade-off for the ego.
C200 Stars on Quietness, Comfort
Sport and Sport+ sharpen steering and throttle response through firmer suspension settings to noticeably improve dynamic performance. Not that it will trouble a 3 Series. The brakes lack feel and are a bit soft when you first tramp on them. That made us pump them for confidence. Steering could also be more communicative.
That said, the C stars on quietness and comfort and it’s still agile and fun to drive. A continuously adjustably damping sport suspension is an option if a more flamboyant driving is that important to you. Benz’ latest Driving Assistance Package can become a little overbearing, but you can park, override the lot easily enough and set off again untroubled.
This ‘Baby S’ Mercedes-Benz C200 punches well beyond its pay grade and is better in many ways, yet maybe not quite as dynamic as a 320i. It also has the A4, Giulia and the rest covered. None of them can after all quite match that undeniable Benz touch of class.
ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz C200 Sedan
Engine: 201 HP 221 lb.-ft 1.5-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 9-speed automatic RWD
0-40 mph 3.15 sec
0-60 mph: 7.89 sec
0-80 km/h: 9.31 sec
0-100 km/h: 18.58 sec
¼-mile: 15.0 sec @ 73 mph
50-75 mph: 4.74 sec
75-100 mph: 8.33 sec
VMax: 150 mph
Fuel: 45 mpg combined
LIST PRICE: $44,850 (C300)