Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring


Benz’s most popular sedan has taken luxury to the next level, at a price


and an antitheft alarm is $1400. More powerful AMG-badged models are on the way, as are fuel-sipping plug-in hybrids. But don’t hold out for six or eight-cylinder engines, as every model in the new C-Class range will be powered by a four-cylinder hybrid motor – even the rangetoppi­ng C63 AMG.

The C200 has a turbocharg­ed 1.5-litre engine that uses 6.9L/100km to make 150kW and 300Nm, while the 2.0-litre C300 has more poke – think 190kW and 400Nm – translatin­g to a six-second sprint to 100km/h and 250km/h top speed. Both models benefit from a mild hybrid system using an electric integrated starter-generator to chip in with 15kW and 200Nm of additional grunt at low speed.

The base car could use more assistance, as the C200’s little 1.5-litre engine sounds stressed when asked to deliver anything more than gentle accelerati­on. The punchier C300 is a better thing. More muscle translates to more relaxed manners in everyday driving and a surprising turn of pace when opportunit­y

arises. Our test example had four-wheelsteer­ing and adaptive shocks that brought it closer in character to an S-Class than its traditiona­l rival, BMW’s athletic 3 Series. Largely shielded from wind roar, the C-Class’ hushed cabin benefits from impressive ride comfort. It does a great job of insulating the cabin from big bumps, though there is a degree of tyre noise on rougher surfaces.

The four-wheel-steering reduces the car’s turning circle to that of a small hatchback and improves stability at highway speed. It also makes the car’s initial steering response more aggressive in sports mode, working with firmer suspension settings to deliver a sporty experience without being truly engaging.

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