While the C-Class was sporty and comfy, it didn’t really get the attention of as many people as Mercedes-Benz would have liked. So they went back to the drawing board and came out with the new C-Class.
For starters, the headlamps are new and a bit oriental in appearance. The bumper and air-dam have been revised to incorporate new daytime LED lights, while a marginally revised tail lamp cluster, smarter looking alloys on 17-inch rubber and a new panoramic sunroof round off the list of exterior changes.
The biggest changes, though, are on the inside. The dashboard now feels better finished, the instrument cluster now has some colour and new silver finished dials for the air-con and multimedia system enhance the overall feeling of richness. A new steering wheel with different controls is nice to touch and falls well to hand. Attention Assist, the system that we have so far seen in the E and S-Class, makes its debut in the C and so does a new Start-Stop system that aids efficiency. Mercedes-Benz have also put in a USB port, which music lovers will truly appreciate.
The model we drove was the C200, which was earlier badged the CGI but now is simply called the C200 Blue Efficiency. This four-cylinder, turbocharged direct-injection petrol produces 186 bhp@5600 rpm and a very healthy 29 kgm@2400-4000. What's new with the powertrain is the gearbox - the four-cylinder engines so far have had a five-speed automatic, but now benefit from a modified version of the 7-GTronic which has been available on the six-cylinder engines. What it has done, in combination with Start-Stop, is improve efficiency to the tune of 31 per cent. More importantly, it has helped improve driveablity. Whether it was pottering around town or generally going hell for leather, the new 7-speeder really does make the car much livelier. While there are no paddle shifters available, the gearbox in sport mode lets you discover the redline more often than before.
Handling and overall dynamics haven’t changed much, so it’s still quick to turn-in, though the steering wheel has been lightened to make it easier around town. That doesn’t however detract from the sportier driving experience of the C-Class, with the steering weighing up rather well. We wish that Mercedes had done something about the brakes, which feel soft during the initial travel and only bit when stepped on much harder.
Priced at Rs 29.79 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, there hasn’t been a significant change to the price-tag. And what you get is an executive sedan that has become better without losing out on its strengths. It strikes that balance even more beautifully than before.