FIRST DRIVE | Peachy Mercedes-Benz C220d is the pick of the C-Class range
Mercedes-Benz stunned with the latest C-Class, which we recently drove in C200 Edition 6 guise.
The new-generation Mercedes midsize sedan impresses with the most advanced digital makeup, luxury, enhanced economy thanks to an EQ starter motor, and astonishing dynamic driving brought on by jacked-up suspension technology with four-wheel steering.
The new C-Class is now on sale in SA and we attended the media launch in Paarl, Western Cape where more range details were shared.
The Classic grade is no longer available for SA. It’s the Avantgarde spec which now becomes the entry specification. It comes with premium features such as LED high-performance headlamps equipped as standard, 18-inch alloys and interior kit which includes the large digital screen as standard and optionally a colour head-up display and a fingerprint scanner.
Deeper pockets can get you a digital light system with a resolution of 2.6-million pixels as an option and you can choose the AMG Line with an individual grille that's populated by many small Mercedes star emblems and handsome 19-inch multispoke alloys.
The C-Class comes with cushy and supportive seats as standard. They give you one of the best work stations of driving slow or fast in the segment. The other joy is the futuristic and touch-operated digital screen that dominates the cockpit. It’s a brilliant instrument to while away time when bored and stationary, as it can superimpose mobile games onto the infotainment system.
It’s one of many wow factors of the range that you won’t find in rivals.
The model I was particularly keen to investigate at the launch was the C220d; the diesel alternative to the C200 that is powered by a 1.5l four-cylinder petrol with outputs of 150kW and 300Nm. The diesel motor has a 2.0l capacity and provides 147kW. Add the starter motor’s extra juice and total system output jumps to 162kW and 440Nm.
Performance is a 0-100 km/h sprint time in 7.3 seconds and top speed of 245km/h versus the 7.3 seconds and 246km/h of the C200. The additional element of the starter motor when combined with the frugal nature of diesel motors means a more welcome 4.7l/100km versus 6.8l/100km of the petrol motor.
The rear-wheel drive diesel also gets drive mode settings and it's hard not to be impressed by the palpably better tractability when scaling steep inclines or when overtaking that’s brought on by the diesel’s 140Nm extra torque.
Whether you go for the C200 or the C220d you can optionally fit four-wheel steering. There’s nothing gimmicky here and it not only gives the C-Class an incredibly tight turning circle, but also helps with the cornering agility I harped on about in the C200 Edition 6 review. None of its contemporaries has this perk and it can also be viewed as further justification of its higher price.
From an engine choice perspective the C220d is already marketing itself as the peach of the range but more engines are coming.
The entire C-Class range is being built in SA at the company’s East London vehicle assembly plant. Hotter C63 and C43 AMG models will bolster the range at a later date. Both AMG cars will forfeit their barking six-and eight-cylinder motors for electrified 2.0l four-cylinder engines.
Mercedes-Benz C200: R856,080
Mercedes-Benz C220d: R911,740