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.