The first luxury car in my family was a W203 Mercedes C220 CDi back in 2005. It was a sensational car that turned heads of most automobile enthusiast because it was the most affordable three pointed star those days, and everyone who wanted to upgrade to a Mercedes, wanted it.
Folks put pictures of the C on pin boards to motivate them to work harder, and those who got it still vouch to the quality and longevity of the machine. Last year Ashwin went gaga over the C220 CDI, but was left wanting for more since the twin turbo C250 wasn’t unveiled yet. Until now that is.
I have been hooked up with the new C250d, yes! Mercedes has shortened its nomenclature so that the boot lid doesn’t look overly. But the important stuff lies under the hood, i.e., a twin turbo charged diesel powerhouse that moves the earth faster than I can remember the name of my last school teacher. Mercedes has played its card right by launching the S class before they launched this C class in India because the C is a squeezed silhouette of S from every angle.
I love the way the day time running LED eyebrows on the headlights glow blue before they turn white. The large three pointed star is dominant on the grille, and unlike the last generation C’s, you cannot have a pedestal type emblem on the hood. The C does absolutely look timeless and is possibly the most elegant looking car in its class.
Get in, and you are greeted by everything that exudes high quality. Even plastic in the driver footwell is soft touch. The shape of the steering is particularly curvaceous and makes for good grip at all positions. Seats are well cushioned but could do with more adjustment levels, and more under thigh support. I particularly like the 3 pod air-con vents in the front because of which I have never had the passenger sitting in the middle with their head protruding out to listen to gossip between me and my precious half.
The air-con controls feel like they are from a Maybach and that is a high praise to quality levels of the car. The only area where I was left wanting for more was the sound system, which on the car supplied to me had several issues pertaining to audio quality in an otherwise brilliant car. The COMAND system is a bit dated and isn’t as intuitive to use as the multimedia interfaces available in comparable cars. The bezel around the screen is a tad bit too thick, and one feels short changed after spending almost half a crore on this machine.
Hey but let’s get back to the all important engine everyone is talking about. The C250 ‘d’ gets two turbos instead of one, and output is a staggering 207PS and torque figure of 500Nm which is 35PS and 100Nm more than the less expensive C220d. But how this power is put to the ground is what tickles my head. Acceleration is linear and on kickdown, it’s pretty difficult to make out if there is any turbo that is inducing boost. Triple digit speeds come up in a jiffy, and you have to keep your eyes constantly on the speedometer to keep a check you aren’t pacing ahead fast enough to attract cops.
If you haven’t driven the C220d, you really won’t feel any difference. But if you have, you will realise how much more powerful the C250d is. This is a boon on highways as a light dab on the accelerator is enough to overtake other vehicles. Through city driving, there is power all across the rev range, which allows you to be a drag racer at every traffic signal. There is lesser engine noise too due to upgraded dampening on the engine bay and allows you to whisper to a front passenger without letting those behind know what’s on your mind.
Suspension plays a vital role in keeping anyone asleep for long as the setup on the C250d is focused more on comfort. It really does go over anything, without you sitting inside, knowing too much about the road condition. On an empty stretch, C250d did a kickdown 0-100kmph 6.9 seconds and full braking 100-0kmph in 3.6 seconds.
But the bigger question is, is it worth the 5 lakh premium over the C220d since buyers in India would get the C home for its back seat with the front seat dominated mostly by chauffeurs. For me, it makes all the sense and perhaps it is quintessentially the most sensible C class on sale today.