class act | 

The latest version of the Mercedes C-Class could and should catapult it back up the rankings

The Mercedes C-Class

The Mercedes C-Class

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Daragh Keany

NAMA was established, Shane Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur, Ryan Tubridy was announced as Pat Kenny’s successor, Anglo-Irish Bank was nationalised, Thierry Henry palmed the ball into the Irish net and our rugby team won their first Grand Slam in 61 years.

The year 2009 is also the last time the Mercedes C Class was the German giant’s best-selling car before the all-conquering E Class stepped up to top spot before other models like the GLE, CLA and A Class all flirted with the podium.

Now in its 30th year on sale and in its 5th generation, the mid-range saloon is back with a well-deserved facelift.

Especially this C200 d in metallic graphite grey AMG trim and optional Night Package upgrades. Like the 4th-gen version, you are getting a similar technology package as the larger models (S and E) but a more compact version.

The entry-level Avantgarde trim starts from €56,425 but our AMG upgrade gives you bigger alloys and a sportier exterior and costs around €2,500 extra. These seem to be the only two trim levels, but there are a serious number of options available to add on no matter which trim you opt for.

Even the most basic versions come with lovely 17-inch alloys, a multifunction steering wheel, Artico synthetic leather, heated memory seats, climate control and the MBUX touchscreen navigation system, so ‘entry level’ isn’t as basic as you get in so many other cars. And all C-Classes are rear-wheel drive with a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Sitting into one of these is a joy. It is one of the nicest cabins on the market.

The build quality and supreme level of prestige again resembles a dumbed down S Class with a huge user-friendly portrait touchscreen and classy air vents with gorgeous LED ambient lighting throughout.

The computer even wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day (see pic), which was a nice touch.

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Buy a new C-Class, and the MBUX infotainment system comes with three years of connected services to keep all information up to date. Other highlights include augmented reality navigation, which displays live images from a front camera on the screen, which then overlays navigation instructions over it. Nice touch.

Space in the second row is good if you only want two in the back. There is a big transmission tunnel hindering leg room for anyone trying to squeeze into the middle of the back. Both right and left rear seats come with ISOFIX points, rear air vents but no USB charge points.

This is as comfortable as medium-sized executive saloons get and sacrifices a bit of the fun element to remain safe, which I’m not complaining about.

There’s a standard-fit 48-volt mild hybrid system on all versions of the C-Class, and the system actually seems like it does a good job with an overall fuel efficiency rating of approximately 5.9-6.0 litres/100km.

My test car starts at €56k but mine model had €7k of extras. It is a thing of beauty but definitely only suited to a certain portion of the car-buying market. The BMW 3-series may be slightly ahead on driving experience but this pips them in nearly every other metric.


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