TESTED: 2022 Mercedes C-Class impresses as the new benchmark in the segment

Published Feb 24, 2022


THE first thing that struck me was the colour and the rims. It’s called Spectral Blue and the rims are 19-inch AMG multi-spoke light alloys that give the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200 we had on test immediate appeal.

It’s known as Edition 6 and is limited to only 400 units. Apart from the colours (Selenite Grey being the second option) and rims it gets a panoramic sliding sunroof and Agility Control.

And what’s good about it too is that it’s built locally in East London (Bremen and Beijing as well) after a R13-billion revamp of the local plant.

The design won’t be unfamiliar to S-Class watchers from which the C-Class borrows heavily, but it still retains its distinctive character and lines that have made it such a global success since it’s original introduction in 1982 as the “Baby Benz”. Well, the baby is now all grown up and is 4.75m long, 1.82m wide and has a wheelbase of 2.86m.

It’s taken a while to get used to Mercedes having smaller engines under the bonnet but the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol motor with 150kW and 300Nm proved responsive enough although not exactly blistering. The clever people at Merc have also fitted an EQ boost electric starter motor that adds 15kW to the equation that takes over in slow speeds, all mated to a 9G-tronic automatic transmission.

The package provides a pleasant driving experience, pretty much what you’ve come to expect from Mercedes, the engine is not shy to rev although there’s an initial drone as you floor it on pull away but it quickly settles in through the gears and will get you to a claimed 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and top out at 246km/h.

Fitted with a sports suspension it’s keen to take on the twisties with impressive poise and grip keeping in mind the power plant and that it’s not an AMG but a luxury four door sedan that keeps body roll to a minimum while the intelligent Agility Control does its thing.

It’s cruising comfortably on the highway that’s more its forte and considering the quality of the interior it’s where you want to spend time.

Thanks to its increased size the driving position is spot on and it’s roomy enough for four adults to sit plushly surrounded by soft leather and soft touch surfaces although there are one or two plastic bits that let it down.

All displays are digital, including a Tesla-like 24cm touchscreen display that dominates the front of the interior that can be upgraded to a 30.4cm unit. While I’m not a fan of it, I suppose it’s the way of the future and with time, like most things, you’ll get used to it and possibly even get to like it.

In keeping with the digital theme, it’s fitted with the second generation of MBUX which allows you to use the voice assistant “hey Mercedes Benz” to get the system to help you with specific requests to make your driving experience more comfortable.

While the world continues to obsess about SUVs, a car like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class still deserves a place on the roads and with this latest iteration it’s the new benchmark in the segment, although it is pricey, with the C200 models starting at R857 280.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200 AMG Line

Price: R911 280 (February 2022)

Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, turbopetrol

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel drive

Power: 150kW @ 5800rpm (+15kW electric)

Torque: 400Nm @ 1800rpm (+200Nm electric)

0-100km/h: 7.3 seconds (claimed)

Top speed: 246km/h (claimed)

Fuel use: 6.8 litres per 100km (claimed)

Boot capacity: 455 litres

Warranty: 2-year/unlimited km

Maintenance plan: 5-year/100 000km.

IOL Motoring