Mercedes Benz C-Class – premium motoring

Mercedes Benz has long been at the forefront of premium motoring and its latest range is no exception. My concentration here is the C-Class in saloon form. The range includes saloon, estate, coupe and cabriolet models with plug-in hybrid petrol and diesel. Prices start from £45,180 for the AMG Line which comes with standard features such as LED lights with adaptive high beam assist, keyless start, navigation with smartphone integration, cruise control, automatic wipers, climate control and heated front seats.

My test model was at the higher end of the range, the AMG Line Premium Plus with diesel power under the bonnet and priced at £52,590. While it may carry the AMG name the AMG Line versions have all the styling cues, but the mechanical side of things remains unmolested in terms of power. The 1.9-litre diesel in the test car produces 265 hp and being diesel maximum torque is low down from just 1800-2200rpm. Inside the C-Class you would be hard pressed to tell it’s a diesel providing the not inconsiderable accelerative capacity. Also the mid 50s fuel economy is impressive for a car of this class.

Inside it makes a pleasant change to find a car, especially a German model, that isn’t graced with a surfeit of sombre tones, most often black or grey. Lightening up my test car’s interior, and adding a dash of additional class, were tobacco coloured centre seat panels and matching door cards. With the rest of the interior in darker colours matched to the external grey paintwork it made for a nice contrast.

On the road the C-Class is a refined and smooth drive with plenty of power in reserve should you require it. A sleek style, despite being a saloon, makes for a striking look and doesn’t really compromise headroom access to the rear as is the case with many rakish saloons. The suspension draws a nice line between being compliant enough to soak up the bumps but with enough control to deal with twisty tarmac. Add driving modes of Comfort, ECO, Sport, Sport+ and Individual and you can see why it makes for an exemplary sports saloon.

Mercedes has had a reputation of being slightly more sedate than some rival German competitors but has more than levelled the field with the C-Class AMG Line models. It’s also a somewhat more individual choice with less aggressive styling, an altogether more-subtle approach.

Words by Mark Slack

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