The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a longstanding leader in the premium saloon class
Pros: Refinement, interior fit and finish, style
Cons: Rivals more engaging to drive, infotainment could be better
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a longstanding leader in the premium saloon class alongside the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, and it is also one of Mercedes’ most popular models here in Ireland. Mercedes has launched a new facelifted C-Class for 2018 to strengthen its position in the class, and it looks slightly different from the outside with a wealth of tech and driving improvements too. So how does the outgoing C-Class compare to its rivals and is it well-suited to Irish roads?
What is it like?
Mercedes is on a roll lately when it comes to designing desirable cars, and the new C-Class continues this trend. It borrows lots of styling traits from the E-Class Saloon, including a pronounced front grille with the iconic three-star emblem, swooping side lines and a pair of sporty dual exhausts at the rear. Our test car is equipped with a full AMG Line Exterior pack and lots of sporty details, while the optional 19-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels and Brilliant Blue metallic paint scheme attract attention out on the road.
Stepping inside, the C-Class’ cabin feels suitably prestige. Up front, the triple circular air vents and colour infotainment display look well on the centre console, and it’s easy to get comfortable in the driver’s seat with a wide range of adjustment available. Cabin space is good with enough head and leg room for tall adults in the front and rear seats, and there is 480 litres of space in the boot which is on par with the rest of the class.
Mercedes’ infotainment system is easy to use, if not quite as impressive as the equivalent systems in the Audi A4. Mercedes has addressed this in the newly updated C-Class which arrives in Ireland in October 2018, and it gains a full digital driver’s display along with a wide 10.25-inch infotainment screen with improved functionality. The centre console can be specced in either black or silk beige, along with customisable colours for the upper part of the dashboard.
The C-Class is available with a suite of petrol and diesel engines including 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre units and even a barnstorming 4.0-litre petrol AMG version which isn’t recommended for the fainthearted! We tested the sensible C200d 1.6-litre diesel with an automatic transmission, and it offers an ideal combination of performance and economy. With 136 horsepower on tap, it can sprint from 0-100km/h in just over 10 seconds. We found the C200d to be rather economical with returns of 6.0l/100km, while annual motor tax is listed at €200. Those seeking more oomph can consider the more powerful C220d diesel or C200 petrol models.
Out on the road, the C-Class is very refined and with minimal wind and cabin noise at motorway speeds. Our test car is equipped with sports suspension, however both the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series are more engaging to drive, while the C-Class is ultimately more relaxing behind the wheel. Most C-Class models are based on a rear wheel driver platform though all-wheel-drive is also available, and it grips the road with confidence. If you prefer comfort over outright driving dynamics, then the C-Class is the standout option in its arena.
In Ireland, prices for the C-Class start in the region of €37,000 for the entry specification C 160 AMG, while this C200d with additional bells and whistles will set you back over €47,000. The newly-facelifted model boasts a digital instrument cluster with a new 10.25-inch high-definition display screen from mid-specification upwards.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
Further updates and improvements for 2019 reinforce the C-Class’ position as one of the standout small premium saloons on the market right now, and the most comfortable one at that too. Although it's less driver focused and engaging than a BMW 3 Series per say, most won’t mind this fact and will be pleased by how refined the C-Class is on all types of Irish roads.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Mercedes-Benz C200d
Prices from: €37,000
Price as tested: €47,198
Annual Motor Tax: €200
Engine: 1,598cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque: 136bhp / 320 Nm
Top Speed: 216km/h
0-100km/h: 10.2 seconds
Body style: Saloon
Boot Space: 480 litres
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