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
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. ⌧
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