MERCEDES-BENZ C 300d

This C 300d treads the fine line be­tween reg­u­lar ol’ C-Class and full-fat AMGs and makes for an in­ter­est­ing con­coc­tion

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Sachin Khot

IN­STA­GRAM COM­MENTS ARE A gold­mine, and I read something really funny the other day: the only guys who will be im­pressed by an AMG or M badge are the same guys who would be able to spot a fake AMG or M badge from a mile away. So ut­terly point­less. But getting one from the fac­tory does make things le­git. And some­times, you don’t need to give up your house to own one. The C 300d isn’t a full-fat AMG car, but an AMG Line car — which means it comes with AMG-in­spired styling, a cou­ple of proper AMG badges and a bump in per­for­mance to back up its swag­ger. So you can think of it like BMW’s M Sport kit on their 5 Se­ries sedan.

The C-Class line-up is vast, and this sits some­where in the mid­dle — be­tween the reg­u­lar C 220d and the new C 43 Coupe. The car isn’t really new — it was launched way back in Septem­ber last year, but this is the first time we’re getting our hands on it. It’s es­sen­tially the same C-Class that we all know

as the 220d with the wick turned up a bit. The same OM654 en­gine — a sin­gle tur­bocharged 2-litre diesel — now makes 245hp and 500Nm. Vis­ually, the AMG-in­spired cues are ob­vi­ous. You get the di­a­mond grille that we know from the C 43, as well as a more ag­gres­sive front bumper with big­ger in­takes. The rear gets a faux dif­fuser and it also gets ex­clu­sive 18-inch wheels that have the AMG badge em­bossed on them. The C 300d also gets adaptive LED head­lights that con­sist of in­di­vid­ual LEDs that adapt to changes in the ap­proach­ing traf­fic and road con­di­tions.

There are a few changes on the in­side too. You get a sporty flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel — the same one you get on the C43 Coupe and other AMGs. You also get a matt-tex­tured wood fin­ish on the dash, which feels a lot nicer and picks up less dirt than the glossy one. This C 300d gets a 10.25-inch in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, and an ex­clu­sive tan and black leather trim on the seats and doors. While the C-Class’ in­te­ri­ors have al­ways been a good head and

The bump in power means ham­mer­ing it out of cor­ners is even more en­joy­able

shoul­ders above the com­pe­ti­tion, these tiny touches go a long way in mak­ing the cabin feel more pre­mium.

But looks aside, does this bump in power make any dif­fer­ence? Well, it is cer­tainly more sprightly when you get on the gas. It gets off the line much quicker — a claimed 5.9 sec­onds to 100kmph is im­pres­sive, and even the in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion is bet­ter. Peak torque is avail­able right from 1600rpm and the nine-speed gear­box keeps things such that there’s barely any lag. You do get dif­fer­ent driv­ing modes — that ad­just the en­gine, gear­box, steer­ing and ESP. In Com­fort mode, the throt­tle re­sponse is gen­tle and the gear­box up­shifts fairly quickly. In Sport and Sport Plus, the throt­tle re­sponses be­come pro­gres­sively more ag­gres­sive and the gear­box en­sures the en­gine is really on the boil all the time.

The C-Class has al­ways been set up for com­fort and since it isn’t really an AMG car, the C 300d is no dif­fer­ent. The chas­sis pri­ori­tises ride qual­ity over han­dling, and this is ap­par­ent when you come to a bendy road. Don’t get me wrong — the C-Class is ac­tu­ally fun to throw around a bend, its got a very di­rect steer­ing and the bump in power means ham­mer­ing it out of cor­ners is even more en­joy­able. How­ever, it doesn’t feel as tied down as you would want it to through a se­ries of fast turns. This pli­ancy in the sus­pen­sion is a good thing some­times — like when the road sur­face isn’t too great, it ab­sorbs most of what comes its way in­stead of getting skit­tish where a stiffer car would. How­ever, if the roads are flat, you do wish it felt more hun­kered down. Where the car’s ad­di­tional power can really be ex­ploited though, is on the high­way, while mak­ing quick over­takes. It feels far more ef­fort­less pulling a fast move at high speeds and even just cruis­ing in top gear.

The re­fine­ment from the en­gine is great. At un­der 2000rpm, barely any sound from the mo­tor per­co­lates into the cabin. Post this, it does get au­di­ble, but never an­noy­ingly so. That said, this is a diesel and it doesn’t sound par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing when you are can­ing it.

The C 300d is an in­ter­est­ing car be­cause it doesn’t really have any di­rect com­pe­ti­tion. Sure, BMW has the 330i M Sport but that’s a petrol-en­gined car. If you don’t want to go full­fat per­for­mance sedan, this is great mid­dle ground. It slots it­self nicely be­tween the base diesel and the C 43, giv­ing you suf­fi­cient per­for­mance while look­ing suf­fi­ciently hot. At `48.7 lakh (ex-show­room), this car is just `8.5 lakh more than the base C 220d Prime. It also gets a lot more grunt, looks far bet­ter and has more equip­ment to show for it. It cer­tainly is our pick of the ‘reg­u­lar’ C-Class vari­ants, and the fact that it has le­git­i­mate AMG badges has very lit­tle to do with it. ⌧

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1. Larger in­fo­tain­ment screen is eas­ier to read. 2: Fa­mil­iar en­gine now with more grunt. 3. Tan in­te­ri­ors are ex­clu­sive to the 300d. 4. Fa­mil­iar C-Class in­te­ri­ors with a few tweaks 4

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