Time for a C-change
The new Benz C-Class wagon offers an alternative to those who do not want a Toorak tractor, writes JAMES STANFORD
THE Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been a big hit, but there’s only so much you can fit in a sedan. If you are carrying prams, the dog, or a bicycle, you are probably going to need a wagon.
Many Australians have been buying bigger crossovers because they wouldn’t be seen dead in a family wagon, but times are changing and traditional wagons are looking sportier every day.
European prestige brands are going great guns with their big crossovers, but also offer alternatives for those who still need to carry stuff but don’t want a Toorak tractor.
BMW has a wagon version of its 3 Series and Audi is about to launch a wagon variant of its new A4.
Mercedes introduced the C-Class wagon, or as it calls it, Estate, in May.
The first version to arrive has a fourcylinder petrol engine and costs $58,890.
A turbodiesel version with 400Nm will be available next month for $63,100. For those who need to carry a lot and get places quickly, a C63 AMG wagon with a 6.2-litre V8 with 336kW and 600Nm will arrive at the same time.
You pay for the performance though. The wagon costs $141,300. That makes the entrylevel C-Class Estate look like a bargain.
Of course, close to $60,000 is a lot of money compared with what you pay for a similarly sized car from Japan or Europe, but this is a prestige German model and you pay for the privilege.
The engine in the C200 Estate is a 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder.
It’s the same engine that powers the C-Class sedan, which was updated when the new car was introduced last year.
Its supercharger is set up for more low-range torque rather than rip-snorting power, which is reflected in the figures of 135kW at 5500 revs and 250Nm available from 2800 to 5000 revs.
Fuel consumption is a strong point and the official combined figure comes in at 8.3 litres for 100km, far better than crossover wagons.
A five-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels comes is standard and there is no manual.
The C-Class wagon is built off the same base as the sedan, which means a reworked suspension with several lightweight aluminium components and new agility-control dampers from ZF, which are a form of hydraulic active system that can alter the damping force, depending on conditions.
The new hauler has 485 litres of bootspace with all the seats up and an impressive 1465 litres when the rear seats are down.
Pay an extra $1070 on the base model and you get the optional Easy Pack tailgate, raises and closes the tailgate at the touch of a button.
The C200K can tow up to 1250kg (with a braked trailer). That’s not all that much, but it’s enough for a trip to the tip.
Estate of the art: the new Mercedes-Benz C200K Estate can tow up to 1250kg with a braked trailer, enough for a trip to the tip.