Mercedes-Benz: 2014 C 250 sedan review

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 C 250 sedan review

After a week behind the wheel of a new Mercedes-Benz S 500 sedan, swapping over into a new Mercedes-Benz C 250 might seem a bit of a come down.

To be frank, nothing could be further from the truth. While I did miss the mighty V8 engine of the S 500, I didn’t miss its rather substantial on-road footprint. The C-Class is considerably smaller and more nimble, and its four-cylinder power plant has more than enough power to propel you around miscreant trucks on the motorway.

2014 C 250 side profileSome have referred to the new C-Class as a baby S-Class, and that’s not too far from the reality.

Not only is the exterior design of the C-Class strikingly similar to its larger luxury sibling, much of the same technology that you find in a S-Class, such as the semi-autonomous steering, the driver assistance package plus, and the interior design is also very similar to the S-Class.

2014 C 250 side on interiorWe took the C 250 pictured here for a weekend jaunt from Auckland to Rotorua and came away more than impressed with this vehicles blend of luxury, function, economy and performance.

Spec:

Leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, 19-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels, LED high performance headlamps, keyless go with hands free access, and the driver assistance package plus are standard fare on the $86,900 C 250.

However, our test car was fitted with numerous options that pushed the on the road figure to $102,130.

2014 C 250 Pano roofThis included the stunning Hyacinth red metallic paint ($1990), the Comand package ($2990), the anti-theft alarm ($990), the seat comfort package ($1290), the AMG line ($3490), the Vision package ($3990), and the air balance package ($490).

The Comand package provides an upgrade from the standard Audio 20 system and Garmin Map pilot navigation, to a Comand Online HDD navigation system with Linguatronic voice activation and internet access as well as a 13 speaker Burmester surround sound system.

We’ll give more detail more about the additional packages in the “Drive” and “Inside” sections of this review.

2014 C 250 enginePower:

The C 250 is powered by a 155kW/350Nm version of the direct-injection four-cylinder turbocharged 1991cc engine which is also found in the new GLA-Class and CLA-Class models as well as the A-Class and B-Class models.

But unlike the other four-models mentioned above, power is sent only to the rear-wheels through a 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz quote a zero to 100km/h acceleration figure of 6.6 seconds and combined fuel consumption of 6L/100km. We managed 2014 C 250 Head up displayan overall figure of 7L/100km which was still quite respectable.

Inside:

While some people might scoff at the addition of the air balance package that sees a little glass pottle of air freshener slotted into the climate control system through a specific compartment in the glovebox to add a pleasant fragrance to the cabin, the concept came into its own during our weekend trip to Rotorua.

Hopping back into the C 250 after walking through the thermal areas was a pleasant respite from the sulphur laden air, which was particularly pungent at times. It also overcame the rather pungent air created by the silage being cut by local diary farmers in the Waikato.

The AMG Line adds sports front seats, to which the seat comfort package had been added in our test vehicle, which provided seat heating as well as a memory function for the seats and mirrors, as well as additional adjustments for the headrest, seat cushion and steering wheel.

You don’t need to become a contortionist to get comfortable behind the wheel of this car, no matter how short, tall, wide or skinny you happen to be. And the seats are very comfortable over a long haul and the heating function is hugely appreciated by people such as myself who suffer from sore lower backs.

As part of the AMG Line the C 250 dashboard and door trims were also equipped with the black ash open-pore wood with brushed 2014 C 250 Front bonnetaluminium trim complemented by the analogue clock in the centre of the dash as well as aluminium sports pedals with black rubber studs for additional grip.

In conjunction with the AMG embroidered floor mats and the rest of the dashboard and belt-lines being trimmed in black Artico leather, the interior feels a cut above its competitors from Audi and BMW.

We also enjoyed the Vision package which provided the panoramic glass sunroof with two roller sun blinds and heat insulted glass, as well as the Head Up Display, and the LED intelligent light system with adaptive high beam assist, motorway mode, enhanced foglight function and cornering light function.

Drive:

We found one minor foible with the Comand Navigation system, it 2014 C 250 rear bootliddidn’t seem to recognise the township of Rotorua until we were within a 10km radius, but identified other smaller townships around the region.

That was a very minor blemish in what was otherwise an almost faultless car. The C 250 is a quiet comfortable, and refined drive, even on the 19 inch alloy wheels shod with low profile tyres, and you know its a quiet car when all you can hear is tyre noise.

Ride quality from the lowered sports suspension was also remarkably complaint and composed over the worst that our state highway network could throw at it, and while the sports direct-steer system takes a little getting used to, you quickly acclimatise to the car adjusting the direction of travel if it deems you aren’t doing the job well enough.

The steering assist will only engage when the Distronic Plus cruise control is set, so it pays to keep your hands on the steering wheel when Distronic is inactive

The 2-litre turbocharged engine has a terrific growl when shown the cloven hoof and its got more than ample power and torque for a road trip, yet it won’t cost you an arm and a leg at the petrol pump.

Turbocharged petrol engine technology has rapidly caught up with turbo diesel technology to the point where one now questions the value of the premium required for a diesel passenger vehicle, especially when the servicing and road user charges are factored into the whole of life running costs.

Verdict:

Mercedes-Benz have finally delivered a true competitor to the BMW 3 Series. This is a Benz that not only delivers great specification, it also delivers true driver enjoyment and an engaging experience behind the wheel.

For some time the BMW 3 series has been considered the benchmark ultimate driving machine in the premium small-sedan market and the C-Class was considered a runner up, but now those tables have been turned.

The premium interior, high standard of specification, and the striking design inside and out of the new C-Class makes the ageing 3 series look decidedly old-hat. BMW are going to need to pull a rabbit out of the hat for its next generation 3 series to take the fight back to Benz.

I would also wager that Mercedes-Benz may even see some of its E-Class sales cannibalised by its newer and (not that much) smaller sibling. It is indeed that good.

Price $86,900
Price as reviewed: $102,130

Pros:

  • Great standard specification
  • Great engine and transmission package
  • Comfortable, elegant and luxurious sedan

Cons:

  • Low front spoiler easily caught on parking medians
  • HUD display disappears when wearing polarised sunglasses

Words
Pictures: Robert Barry and Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific Pty Ltd.

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