Both the new BMW 3 Series and superb new Audi A4 have dominated this sector of late but Mercedes aim to change that with the latest C-Class.
Mercedes and BMW therefore remain at the top of most people’s wish list as the “most coveted” executive cars.
The new range boasts an excellent line up of new petrol and diesel power plants and there are three trim/spec levels, Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG. The model on test this week is the new C200d Avantgarde.
So has it got street cred?
I must say the style and shape of the new car is very nice indeed. It looks elegant and has a real presence on the road. In fact it looks very much like a smaller version of the lovely S-Class. The sweeping curves and distinctive lines make the new C-Class a most distinguished looking car.
Whats it like inside?
The cabin of the new C-Class is simply beautiful and has a superb air of class and quality that is unrivalled in this class.
Front and rear head and legroom is visibly improved. The new cabin is very well laid out indeed.
I like the way in which they have used the latest technology such as the centrally mounted iPad style information screen and rotary control for audio and climate functions as well as any options such as sat-nav and phone without making it over complex and fussy as with BMW’s i-Drive.
The build quality is simply excellent and the level of standard equipment in the Avantgarde model on test is luxurious.
I particularly like the beautiful cream leather upholstery and wood trim.
Standard equipment across the range is improved with all models getting Agility Control, ABS, ESP with ASR, a multiplicity of airbags, four electric windows, a good quality CD which is MP3 compatible, Bluetooth with audio streaming, cruise control, 2 zone Thermatic climate control, multifunction steering wheel, trip computer, 6-speed gearbox, and much more.
Features worth special mention include the Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist, Reversing Camera, Eco Start/Start, A host of options are also available, including Merceds Connect Me, Mood lighting and various Apps.
The C200d is powered by a 4-cylinder turbo diesel. Max power is 136bhp and this is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox though my test car had the optional 7-speed G-Tronic auto box with paddle shift levers which is superb.Performance is good indeed reaching 100kph from a standstill in just 10.6 seconds and cruising onto a top speed of 210 kph.
In reality this translates to a very useable spread of power with good reserves for safe and swift overtaking. On the economy front it is mighty impressive burning just 5.1 litres per 100km, giving the C200d a range in excess of 1000km between refuels! Road tax is just €200.00
Will I enjoy driving it?
The new C-Class feels very solid and well put together and refinement levels are high with wind, road and engine noise all well suppressed. This new car really is super quiet.
The ride is a perfect blend between comfort and agility. The car remains composed on even the most challenging roads yet the ride is never firm. In fact it is just about perfect.
The handling is more dynamic too making this new C-Class a joy to hustle along. Grip is tenacious whether on wet or dry roads and it is fair to say the new C-Class is now actually good fun to drive.
In the extreme the BMW 3-Series may be a fraction more dynamic in the handling department, but this new C-Class is way better than it’s predecessor.
So what is the final verdict?
The more I drove the car the more I liked it. You begin to appreciate its hidden engineering virtues, and these become even more apparent with every kilometre behind the wheel.
The new C-Class is a beautifully engineered car that in many ways is now better than it’s arch rival the BMW 3 Series!
Prices for the new C-Class start at €35,615.