If you enjoy driving, this is a car you will definitely fall in love with. Not too over-spec’d for the rough and tumble of Metro Manila traffic, the Mercedes-Benz C200 should not be made to languish in your garage. This is a compact luxury sedan that needs to be driven.
- Very attractive, sporty design
- Drives like a dream
- Advanced technologies that make the car easier and safer to drive
- Headroom is a bit tight
- Center hump at the rear makes seating difficult for the 5th passenger
You know that you’re dealing with a truly premium brand when the delivery driver shows up at your door ten minutes before the promised delivery time, on a non-working holiday. Even before I set eyes on the car, I already had a favorable first impression!
DESIGN – 4.5 / 5
Unlike its more sedate siblings, the Avantgarde Edition C of the Mercedes-Benz C200 is aggressively designed with AMG body styling—front and rear aprons as well as side sill panels; a centrally positioned star on the radiator grille; high-gloss black fins; dark-tinted headlamps, and the Edition C badge on the wings.
Adding to its sporty, low-slung profile are staggered wheels mounted on 17-inch 5-spoke light alloy wheels. Tire specs are 225/45 R17 on 7.5J x 17 ET 47 in front and 245/40 R17 on 8.5J x 17 ET58 at the rear. The numbers simply mean that the rear tires are wider and are offset more than the front tires, not only enhancing the sporty looks but also the handling of the C200.
Inside, the sport seats are upholstered in black faux leather and microfiber with topstitching in blue/alpaca gray. Light aluminum trim is deployed as an accent on various interior details.
The 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel is covered in luxurious nappa leather, and includes 12-function buttons that control the multifunction color display in the instrument cluster.
HARDWARE – 4.5 / 5
A 1796cc engine producing [email protected] of power and [email protected] of torque powers the C200. As can only be expected from this German luxury marque, it is packed with technology that may not be readily apparent but definitely enhance the car’s performance as well as passenger comfort.
Safety features include adaptive brakes with ABS, brake drying function and hill start assist; attention assist to warn the driver against drowsiness; front airbags, sidebags and windowbags; tire pressure loss warning; and anti-theft alarm with tow-away protection.
The audio system combines a radio, 6-disc CD changer, MP3 player, and a media interface kit with the usual cables. It has an aux-in port, as well as USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
USER EXPERIENCE – 4.5 / 5
The C200 is probably the smoothest car I have ever driven, thanks to its 7G-Tronic 7-speed transmission’s short shift times and silky smooth transfers. The excellent acceleration and pulling power on tap made me feel like a race car driver, and I often had to restrain myself from flooring the pedal on empty stretches.
In the driver’s seat of the C200, you literally feel the road on the seat of your pants, thanks to the combination of rear wheel drive with its agility control suspension, where the shock absorbers adjust automatically to ensure both agility and ride comfort. Even over rough patches, the C200 felt very stable and a dream to drive.
I have a problem with nighttime glare, so I really appreciated the C200’s intelligent light system that turns up the headlights when there is no road traffic and dims them automatically when it detects an oncoming vehicle.
There were just two tiny niggles that bothered me on the C200. First, the sloping, aerodynamic roof line felt too low, leaving me with little headroom when I adjusted the seat to my desired height. Second, I found the aspherical side mirrors a bit disconcerting as they distorted the size of objects, thus making it difficult to judge the distance of other vehicles on both sides.
VALUE – 4 / 5
The Mercedes Benz C200 Avantgarde Edition C carries a hefty PHP 3,380,000 price tag, making it inaccessible to the ordinary man-on-the-street. But if you had the werewithal to drive home this baby, you will certainly be getting your money’s worth with its classic good looks, precision engineering, and advanced technologies.
First published in GADGETS Magazine, May 2014.