MERCEDES-BENZ C250

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

Benz packs more soft­ware and stan­dard kit into the C250 and the in­te­rior looks and feels spe­cial even against $100,000 cars — one of the rea­sons it is Cars­guide’s reign­ing Car of the Year. The war­ranty is bet­ter at three years/un­lim­ited km and ser­vice in­ter­vals are longer, an­nu­ally or 25,000km. The down­side is the cost of ser­vic­ing, which runs to $4580 for five years/125,000km. That pares back the value equa­tion to put th­ese two on a par.

DE­SIGN/TECH

The C-Class looks classier over­all. Matt wood­grain fin­ishes and the rel­a­tive lack of switchgear mark the cabin as more mod­ern. Ad­justable damp­ing gives it a more com­fort­able de­fault low-speed ride than the BMW yet it will stiffen up and lower the car in the sports set­ting to han­dle high-speed cor­ners with fi­nesse and pre­ci­sion.

EN­GINE

As good as the 2.0-litre turbo is in iso­la­tion, with fig­ures of 6.0L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 6.6 sec­onds it can’t quite keep pace with the BMW for econ­omy and is smoked on ac­cel­er­a­tion,. Torque is iden­ti­cal to the 330i but power drops to 155kW and is fed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed au­to­matic.

SAFETY

Stop-and-go adap­tive cruise con­trol, steer­ing as­sist, blind spot, lane-keep­ing and rear cross-traf­fic alerts are sup­ple­mented by nine airbags. ANCAP tested the car last year and gave it an over­all score of 36.46/37. The au­ton­o­mous brak­ing works from 7-250km/h for mov­ing ve­hi­cles and 7-70km/h for sta­tion­ary ob­jects, in­clud­ing pedes­tri­ans. The Benz will self-park if re­quired.

DRIV­ING

A match for the BMW in cor­ner­ing prow­ess, it trails on out­right pace. The steer­ing is pre­cise, with a near-per­fect bal­ance be­tween weight and feed­back. For those who aren’t in the mood to tap the dy­nam­ics them­selves, cruise con­trol helps negate the frus­tra­tion of traf­fic snarls and the steer­ing as­sist en­hances free­way driv­ing by au­to­mat­i­cally keep­ing the Benz in its lane.

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