Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake

August 13th, 2014 by Robert Barry

What is a shooting brake you ask? Thats a very good question.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term shooting-brake originated in the 19th century, and was used to describe a particular style of motor-vehicle that carried shooting parties, their equipment, and their game.

Wikipedia says the term brake was coined to describe a chassis used to break in horses, and was subsequently used to describe a motor-vehicle.

Early 19th century shooting brakes were often custom built to order for their wealthy clients, normally members of the British aristocracy. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake” »

Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde 2011 Review

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class maintains an important position in the German automakers range. Before the A-Class was introduced in 1997 it was the company’s entry-point model and had a tough job offering the same exclusivity and advanced technology as its more expensive siblings. In 2007 the third generation C-Class was released with improved dynamics and bold new design. It went on to become a desirable sales success. Now for 2011 Mercedes has put its compact sedan under the knife for a mid-life facelift. This is no token gesture either; the updates include design and bodywork tweaks, new powertrain technology and safety features. In total there’s been around 2,000 changes to the new C-Class over its predecessor. So, has the facelift made this popular baby-Benz even better? Car and SUV spent a week rolling in the diesel-powered C250 to find out.

There aren’t that many design tweaks but they are highly effective in sharpening up the C-Class sedan aesthetic and visually aligning it with the current E- and S-Class models.  There’s a new aluminum bonnet, which saves 10kg in weight and re-profiled front and rear bumpers. Both the headlights and taillights have been restyled and there’s new LED daytime running lamps dissecting the lower air inlets. The front grille has been changed to a sportier three-bar job with a prominent three-pointed star badge. Along the flanks little has changed but our test subject looked smart with chrome trim bordering the window line. At the rear, there’s more chrome highlights and the tail lamps use LED lighting for a distinctive glow at night. Our tested mid-range C250 CDI is finished with a single chrome exhaust tip and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde 2011 Review” »

Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI 2009 Review

December 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham


It’s not an easy thing filling large shoes, whether it’s the previous success of a parent or older sibling, matching up is always a big ask. The latest to face this tough proposition is the Mercedes E250. It needs to follow the reputation of the thousands of older-model E-Class vehicles that have proved highly popular as taxi’s working the streets of Europe. Here in NZ when we need a taxi, it’s either a Ford Falcon or a rattling old Nissan Bluebird but on the continent it’s lines of E-Class Taxis waiting outside train stations. Taxi drivers tell stories of E-Classes with staggering mileage on the clock that still offer supreme comfort for paying passengers. So is the new E-Class blessed with the same reliability and refinement as its hard working ancestors? Car and SUV set the meter running with the E250 CDI to find out.

The E250 sedan is predicted to be the high volume seller of the new E-Class range helped largely by its entry-level price of $104,900 and green credentials.

The E250’s heartbeat is provided by a 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that pumps 150kW of power to the rear wheels. It’s not exactly a performance vehicle but with turbocharging and a generous 500 Nm of torque on tap acceleration is brisk. Peak torque arrives at just 1600rpm making the E250 no slouch off the line, 100kph is reached in 7.2 seconds and it won’t stop till 240kph shows on the speedo. After the initial torque shove the Mercedes settles into its work comfortably and is at its smooth best while cruising.

Mated to an ageing five-speed auto transmission the E250 hums along with relaxed gear changes liking to keep itself low in the rev range. The result of such restraint is a very impressive fuel economy of 6l/100km on the combined cycle. Not bad for a sedan tipping the scales at 1735kg without a newer 6- or 7-speed transmission. To help achieve this economical figure the E250 has been given newly developed tyres, an energy-saving generator and numerous aerodynamic aids to keep it slippery.

In terms of handling the E250 has a small amount of body roll during cornering but holds its line well, offers reassuring grip and is surprisingly quick point-to-point on twisty roads. The variable-ratio steering works a charm and is firm enough at pace while also maintaining good low-speed maneuverability. Ride comfort remains an area of strength and the suspension is set accordingly with enough travel in the springs to protect occupants from almost all bumps and divots in the road.

Putting a smaller engine into a large car is a new trick for Mercedes but in other respects the E250 marks a return to values of old. Most notably in terms of comfort, refinement and the general solid feel that has almost always been a hallmark for Mercedes. The cabin is cosseting and is impeccably put together using high quality materials all round. It’s very spacious for the front occupants while the rear passengers have adequate leg and headroom. The leather seats are excellently soft, well bolstered with multiple adjustments and are ideal for long-range touring duties. Switchgear and instrumentation becomes quickly familiar and a jog dial easily operates the high-mounted display screen. The standard equipment list is suitably lengthy and includes a six-disc DVD changer and sat nav.

For all the E250’s hi-tech gadgetry its most impressive trick is the way occupants are isolated from the outside world. With the attention paid to aerodynamics and also insulation, wind and road noise is kept to a minimum. The diesel engine, which isn’t exceptionally quiet when heard from outside the vehicle, is relegated to a distant murmur on the inside.

The exterior aesthetic is modern and stately mixing a chunky bold front end with more conservative rear styling. The contrasting silver trim, broad shoulder lines and ‘Pontoon’ crease above the rear wheel-arches all add character. The top-end look is finished with 17-inch 5-spoke alloys and LED lights front and rear.

Safety systems have become a clear focus for Mercedes and the E250 is set to be a class-leader in this area. All the usual bases are well covered with an army of airbags including driver’s knee, an advanced Electronic Stability Program and a reinforced body shell design. Further electronic aids include Attention Assist that monitors 70 different factors to check driver alertness, and the optional Distronic Plus (a proximity control that lets you know when you’re following too closely and will apply the brakes if a crash is evident). If it gets too late and a crash is unavoidable active head restraints, belt force limiters, and seatbelt pretensioners are all ready to fire up.

The new Mercedes E250 is difficult to fault and there is no doubt that it shares the same all-round competence and supreme build quality that gave its ancestors a near-legendary reputation. The diesel engine offers solid performance and very thrifty fuel consumption. Dynamically the E250 has limits most owners will never test. The level of standard equipment is high and the cabin is about as comfortable as you can get. If you want a stylish, luxurious vehicle that will go the distance and you’ve got a six-figure budget to lay down then check out the new Mercedes E250.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: from $104,900 as tested $122,400

What we like:

  • High-level ride comfort
  • Frugal but strong diesel engine
  • Safety features

What we don’t like:

  • Dated 5-speed auto box
  • Rear legroom

Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI – Specifications

Engine and Performance

Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 7.8
Compression ratio 16.2:1
Cylinder arrangement/number 4-Cylinder
Displacement (cc) 2143
Rated output (kW [hp] at rpm) 150 [204]at 4200
Rated torque (Nm at rpm) 500 / 1600-1800
Top speed (km/h) 240

Fuel and Consumption

Cd value 0.26
CO2 emissions combined (g/km) 159
Emission class EU5
Fuel consumption combined (l/100km) 6
Tank capacity incl. reserve 59/8

Power Transmission

Drive system Rear drive
Transmissions 5-speed automatic

Dimensions and Weights

Boot capacity (VDA) (I) 540
Kerb weight/payload capacity (kg) 1735/545
Maximum roof load (kg) 100
Perm. GVM (kg) 2280
Turning circle (m) 11.25

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI Edition 10 2008 Review

November 20th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mercedes-benz-ml320-cdi-edition-10-fq

The Mercedes ML320 CDI is an impossible blend of a stay at home mum and an Uzi-carrying, drug-pushing gangster.

It takes a killer mix of style and function to provide for two such different personas and the ML does just that. With a sprinter’s stance, flared fenders and wrap-around side skirts the ML has a sporty elegance that is unisex in appeal. Longer and wider than its predecessor, the ML is slimmed by a raked forward C-pillar and a sloping windscreen that aids efficiency by chopping down drag. The ML shows its bling with a wide silver front grille that hangs like a diamond necklace, with the tri-star badge as its feature stone. Its massive wheel arches remain unfilled even by sparkling 20-inch rims — some 22-inch ones would be a desirable upgrade. The tested model was the ML320 Edition 10 celebrating ten years of SUV production for Mercedes. The Edition 10 is dressed up with special badging, bi-xenon headlights, taillights with blacked out surrounds and a two-tone leather interior.

Gangsters love good booty and the ML delivers with sharp cornered signature taillights and twin rectangular exhausts that hint at wild times ahead. The ML has angular well-sculptured curves that place it aesthetically at the sporty end of the SUV market.

The ML’s interior is as highly styled as its exterior, but function and comfort remain paramount. Soft leathers, wood-finish and high-end plastics swirl together to let your passengers know that they are riding with a true player, or a style-conscious mum. Although, like with all Mercs, the dashboard plastic itself seems over-textured.

Driver visibility is top notch and the seats remain comfortable even on long drives. Instruments and controls are generally well placed but you will mistake the cruise control lever for the indicator arm at least once. There is also the electronic ‘Direct Select’ shift lever on the steering column used for basic Park, Reverse, Drive selection, manual over-ride is available by switches on the back of the steering wheel. The ML’s Direct Select takes some getting used to and is not something we are familiar with here in NZ. It does clear space on the centre console for large sized cup holders capable of 1.25-litre bottles or takeaway cappuccinos.

The ML comes with an arsenal of equipment including an outstanding climate control system and projector-beam headlights that intimidate night into day. The Harman Kardon stereo is easy to master and sounds very sharp playing the Wiggles or Run DMC. The cabin is roomy with a back seat that can fit kids or three henchmen with ease and with a generous rear storage area, pushchairs, golf clubs or ‘people who’ve met with an untimely accident’ can all be accommodated. The ML’s interior really is exemplary; it is easily usable but never up in your face.

When paying over $100k for a diesel vehicle you wouldn’t expect it to be slow or noisy. The ML is neither – it’s an example of just how far diesel motors have developed. With a 0-100km time of just 8.6 seconds it has some skates and even when cold it refuses to let out a rattle. Powered by a 3.0L turbocharged V6 producing 165kW and a useful 398 lb-ft of torque the ML has enough power for pulling a quick get-away and refinement for cruising to brunch. Economy is also very good considering the ML’s 2-tonne kerb weight – a combined figure of 9.6l/100km is achievable. With a 95-litre fuel tank the ML can traverse great swathes of the country before refuelling is required. The 7-speed automatic transmission works hard when ordered and has brains to match brawn by using an adaptive logic to learn the driver’s style and shift accordingly.

Although bulletproof glass isn’t standard, the ML has solid safety credentials. Passengers are surrounded by a central safety cell with front and rear crumple zones. Brake assist, traction control and a full ESP programme are all prepared for trouble.

The handling is very car-like in nature. A light, rigid chassis and fully independent double wishbone front, multilink rear suspension means it stays true in cornering and refuses to submit to body roll. Off-road the ML utilises its full-time four wheel drive system which splits torque 50/50 in usual operation but sends more to the axel that can best use it when necessary. The ride is very subdued and the diesel motor is seldom heard from the cabin, with road noise almost fully blocked out driving the ML is a serene experience.

For gangsters or housewives the Mercedes ML320 makes an offer that is hard to refuse. At first it appears hard to justify the heavy price tag over other current model SUVs, but the ML just does everything so well. It works equally as well for two opposite lifestyles because it’s the complete package and that’s why the ML320 is a worthy kingpin in the SUV market.

Click through to the next page for a full list of specifications.

Price: from $117,900

What we like:

  • Tasteful style inside and out
  • Compelling diesel performance
  • Attention to detail

What we don’t like:

  • Odd gearshift positioning
  • Oversized wheel arches

Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI – Specifications

No. of cylinders/arrangement 6/V

Bore/stroke in mm 83.0/92.0
Total displacement (cc) 2987
Rated output (kW at rpm)[1] 165/3800
Rated torque (Nm at rpm)[1] 510/1600-2800
Compression ratio 17.7
Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in sec. 8.6
Top speed in km/h, approx. 215
Tyre size, front 235/65 R 17
Tyre size, rear 235/65 R 17
Fuel Diesel
Fuel consumption (l/100 km)
Combined    9.6
CO2 emissions combined (g/km) 254
Tank capacity (l) incl. reserve, approx.    95/13
Turning circle diameter (m) 11.6

Words Adam Mamo, photography Darren Cottingham

Mercedes-Benz C320 CDI Avantgarde 2008 Review

July 1st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes-Benz C320 CDI Avantgarde fq

I drove the C220 CDI a couple of months before the C320 CDI. What difference does an extra 100 in the model name mean? At lot more power (165kW), a significant amount of torque (510Nm), and an improved interior spec, especially with the AMG kit that this Avantegarde model sports.

One burning question, though, are electric headrests just slightly too much luxury? An electric headrest means a motor with switches that are connected by wires. I know the reason for it — there may be two drivers, one of whom is a basketball player called Tyrone and the other a size 8 marketing manager called Amanda, and the C320 can store three seat position memories, conveniently accessible via buttons on the door. But, do we need it? While automakers are attempting to get better handling and better fuel economy, not all of them are adhering to Colin Chapman’s mantra of ‘absence of weight’ which gave his various Lotus models such stunning performance in relation to fuel economy.

Perhaps Mercedes-Benz doesn’t feel the need to in this diesel demon. It has managed some serious fuel economy feats while I’ve been driving it. The quoted 7.4 litres per 100km (which we managed to better on our normal road test) from a vehicle that is capable of 0-100kph in 6.9 seconds is not far from Series 1 Lotus Elise territory. But then all you can fit in a Lotus Elise is two people and enough luggage for a trip to the movies.

Is Mercedes-Benz creating a rod for its own back, though? Even sub-$20,000 cars are coming with parking sensors and ESP, so the differentiating factors are things like electric headrests, so they become the new benchmark (not that they’re anything new — they’ve been around for years).

Of course, the other differentiators are badge (brand snobbery) and performance (ride and comfort). So, while a Kia Picanto may have reversing sensors like the C320, I’m always going to pick the C320 because of the overall feel. It is a beautiful car not only to look at, but also to drive.

I said of the C220 that it was the most relaxing car I’d driven. Well, the C320 still has the same comfort, but with a Muay Thai kickboxer in the engine bay. It’s a 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel which weighs a paltry 208kg — a result of the aluminium crankcase. This is connected to a seven-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission to keep the revs in the most appropriate place.

The savage torque is beautifully transmitted to the road by the Agility Control package, which features shock absorbers which detect the driving style. When driving normally the dampers provide a ride that’s like floating in amniotic fluid — tranquil, insulated from the outside world, nurturing. Unleash the full fury of the engine, though, and it takes on a different character, biting into the corners and giving more feedback through the steering.

It may be a beautiful ride, but it’s even more beautiful on the outside, especially in white with the optional AMG sports package wheels.

This is also the Avantgarde version which is the top of the pile over the Classic and Elegance variants. It wears the wide radiator grille that accommodates the large three-pointed star in the middle rather than being on the bonnet. An Avantgarde badge on the flank, and chrome highlights on the bumpers, door and boot handle complement the polished aluminium shoulderline trim and the darker tinted taillights.

The Avantgarde styling is carried back through to the interior with leather inserts and brushed aluminium trim on the doors, and a titanium silver backplate on the instrument cluster.

The seats are trimmed in man-made Artico leather, but surprisingly don’t have an electronic lumbar adjustment as standard. They are suitably comfortable, though.

Our C320 CDI came with the COMAND DVD APS Plus option, containing a reasonably intuitive satellite navigation. The standard voice is a bit more like a newsreader than Audi’s slightly softer-spoken navigator. The 7-inch screen pivots upwards out of the dashboard and shows the audio controls as well as integration for a phone. Voice recognition makes this system invaluable for hands-free operation of the functions available. You can even store up to 1000 MP3 tracks on the navigation system’s hard disk.

There’s nothing significant to complain about with the C320 CDI: the dashboard materials could be a bit nicer, and the engine tone (which is a bit strained and harsh under heavy acceleration) doesn’t will you to use the throttle (perhaps a good thing in these times of escalating fuel prices).

Mercedes has a winning formula with its C-Class range. If you need more practicality there are the Estate variants, using the UK terminology for a station wagon. With a high level of safety (eight airbags and all the driver protection acronyms under the sun), an options and trim list to allow you to determine a unique specification that suits you, desirable looks and sensible fuel economy, Mercedes’ C-Class will undoubtedly continue its successful run.

For full specifications of the C320 CDI, including the options fitted to this car click through to the next page.

Price: from $103,900 (base model); $118,100 as tested

What we like

  • It’s a damn fine looking machine
  • Every interior feature you’d ever need, including electric headrests
  • Rides like a dream, as they’d say in the 1950s
  • Performance + miserly fuel use

What we don’t like

  • Engine tone isn’t so nice
  • I’m not a fan of the dashboard plastic (texture)

Mercedes-Benz C320 CDI Avantgarde Specifications

Paint:

  • Metallic

Trim:

  • ARTICO man-made leather

Equipment:

  • 2-zone “THERMATIC” automatic climate control, separate temperature controls for driver
  • and front passenger, dust filter and air recirculation with Instrument cluster with three
  • displays and three analogue dials
  • 17″ light-alloy wheels – 12-spoke design – 7.5 J x 17 ET 47, tyre size 225/45 R 17
  • ADAPTIVE BRAKE function
  • AGILITY CONTROL steering with safety steering column
  • AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system
  • Airbags and sidebags for driver and front passenger, windowbags for driver, front
  • passenger and rear-seat occupants
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Armrest in rear with double cup holder and stowage compartment
  • ASSYST maintenance interval indicator
  • Audible warning signal if front seat belts not fastened, lights not switched off or parking
  • brake left on
  • Automatic-locking doors with emergency opening
  • Brake Assist system (BAS)
  • Brake pad wear indicator
  • Direction indicators with one-touch convenience function
  • Electronic immobiliser including “ELCODE” locking system with infrared/radio-frequency
  • remote control and visible locking-verification signal
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) with acceleration skid control (ASR)
  • ELEGANCE lettering on rub strip
  • First-aid kit
  • Foot-operated parking brake with hill start assist
  • Head restraints (5), adjustable; crash-responsive NECK-PRO front head restraints; three
  • rear head restraints, manually height-adjustable
  • Headlamp Assist (automatic headlamps)
  • Headlamp range adjustment
  • Heated exterior mirrors left and right, electrically adjustable
  • Interior lighting switched on automatically when vehicle is unlocked
  • ISOFIX child seat attachment points in the rear
  • Lighting package comprising: Illuminated air vent thumbwheels, Front footwell lighting,
  • Illuminated door-handle recesses inside car, Reading lights in rear, left and right, Exit
  • lights in front doors
  • Luxury multifunction leather steering wheel with 4.5″ display in instrument cluster and
  • leather gearshift lever
  • Outside temperature display
  • Seat occupancy recognition for front passenger seat
  • Side impact protection
  • Side-folding front armrest with stowage compartment
  • Sun visors with illuminated vanity mirror
  • Trip computer in multifunction display
  • Tyre pressure loss warning system

NZ Features:

  • Parameter steering
  • Parktronic
  • Electric passenger seat with memory
  • Anti-dazzle mirror
  • Front driver’s seat with memory package
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Through-loading feature with load-securing facilities and 1/3:2/3 split-folding rear seat
  • Rear sidebags
  • PRE-SAFE
  • Rain sensor
  • Phone pre-installation
  • 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission, incl. Cruise control, code 440
  • Cruisecontrol with SPEEDTRONIC
  • Multi-function steering wheel with enhanced screen
  • Electrically folding mirrors
  • Audio 20 with CD changer
  • Paintwork preservation
  • Anti-theft
  • Packaging for export
  • Spare wheel
  • Burr walnut wood trim
  • Interior monitoring system
  • Elegance package
  • Child seat recognition

Options on this model as tested

Advanced agility package $2,700

Comand DVD APS Plus $5,500

AMG Sports package $6,000

Words and photos Darren Cottingham


Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI 2008 Review

April 3rd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI 2008 fq

Almost every week I get a massage. It’s not that kind of massage. I’m talking about the kind of pain-filled, deep tissue ‘tune-up’ massage to keep my levator scapulae loose and my trapezius toned. My masseuse shall remain unnamed so that legions of readers don’t beat a hasty path to her door with their ailments because this might prevent me from getting an appointment with her thumbs of Detroit iron.

The Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI is a car that is perfect for driving to a massage. I’ve never been overtaken by as many other vehicles as driving in this car. I’m relaxed. I’m ready to be kneaded. I’m driving at the speed limit¦this coming from a guy whose ideal afternoon would be spent exceeding 2G on a racetrack in a Radical SR3, and who regularly uses up the majority of the 9kph grace the police give above the speed limit. This is not because the C-Class is mushy or wallowy under sharp cornering — it’s not at all; it’s possibly because of the intelligent suspension that adapts the damping force automatically depending on the road surface. It leads to a very quiet, composed and comfortable drive, but without the car wandering all over the place on the road. And this also translates to a feeling that you’re sitting in total command of the wheels in the perfect centre of gravity of the car.

While I’m laying in agony as her forged fingers part the muscle fibres, I can look forward to the Merc’s wafting and smooth ride, ably assisted by its torquey diesel engine, as it’s also the perfect car to drive home from a massage in. You see, after I’ve experienced an hour of pain, I want to be cosseted and caressed automotively. Until I get home, that is, where I will continue to be relaxed as long as Paul Holmes isn’t on the TV, and there’s not a hungry mosquito performing low altitude flybys on my head.

So what about the Merc’s muscles? It sports a 2148cc diesel with 170hp and an impressive 400Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed automatic. This gives a satisfying surge to 100kph in a respectable 8.5s, and will return a quoted combined fuel consumption of 43mpg, or 5.5l/100km (I couldn’t get anywhere near this, though, recording 7.3 on a run from Hauraki to Grey Lynn in light traffic where I really tried to be economical, and 6.1l/100km Hauraki to Stanmore Bay at night using cruise control on the motorway to keep the car at 90kph).

Two settings are available in the gearbox — comfort and sport — and the gears can be changed manually using Mercedes’ non-intuitive left/right sequential shift. Comfort changes up earlier and down later.

Three brushed-aluminium style, bevelled dials are nestled behind the steering wheel. The centre larger one shows speed, and forms the periphery of a white-on-black display for the trip computer, cruise control/speed limiter, temperature and gear indicator.

A sliding panel covers the rectangular screen in the centre of the dashboard that shows system parameters and audio functions. These functions are controlled using the rotary data entry wheel and two buttons where your left arm rests. A suitable CD in the six-disc changer can add to the experience. Or you can connect an auxiliary music device. Look, I’ve even got Classic Hits tuned in – I must be relaxed because I usually listen to George!

Knight Rider-style proximity warning lights for the front and rear sensors only beep when you’re very close to an object. Before that, they progressively light up. Most other manufacturers use audible warnings and/or a screen with a representation of the car and where the obstacle is getting close, so this system takes some getting used to, but is effective.

A multitude of other safety functions help both you and other cars. For example, the brakes will periodically dry themselves in the rain, and will prepare themselves for an emergency stop if the accelerator is lifted quickly. During an emergency stop the brake lights flash, and hazard warning lights are activated. The car even warns you if a tyre loses pressure. And if all that fails to keep you out of trouble, there are seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag).

Available in three trim levels, Classic and Elegance trim get the three-pointed bug shredder on the bonnet above the chrome-plated grille, while Avantgarde models get a more muscular overall stance the Mercedes emblem embedded in the grille.

The C-Class was nominated as Car of the Year in New Zealand, and that’s no mistake as it’s a very competent car. Like all Mercedes, the options list is large including a panoramic glass sunroof, digital music system with surround sound, bi-xenon headlamps, sports suspension and more.

As an entry-level executive cruiser Mercedes has priced it well (I would have guessed eighty grand, others in the office guessed higher, but it’s a shade under 73, so it’s a bargain). Its forte is elegant and reasonably frugal executive motoring. It’s a relaxing end to the day driving the C220 from the office. I don’t have to worry about enormous fuel bills, I’m in leather-clad comfort (man-made Artico leather), and I have the three-pointed bug shredder dealing to the mosquitoes on the way home. Bliss.

Price: from $72,990

What we like

  • It’s the consummate laid-back executive cruiser
  • Comfort
  • Price is excellent
  • Quiet at speed
  • Very easy to drive
  • Perhaps if we could build a massaging device into the driver’s seat¦

What we don’t like

  • Indicator stalk in the wrong place — it’s too low for 10-2 or 9-3 hand positions
  • Too much delay between pressing the pedal and acceleration happening (from standstill) — this can catch you out if you’re trying to pull out of a junction quickly
  • Left/right sequential shift isn’t intuitive and there’s no delineation between when you’re in sequential mode and not

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

New Zealand Standard ‘CLASSIC’ Specification (C 200K & C 220 CDI)

Paint: Metallic
Trim: ARTICO man-made leather
Equipment: 16-inch light alloy wheels (7-spoke design)
2-zone “THERMATIC” automatic climate control, separate temperature controls for driver and front passenger, dust filter and air recirculation with Instrument cluster with three displays and three analogue dials
5-speed automatic transmission with Cruise Control & Speedtronic speed limiter
ADAPTIVE BRAKE function
AGILITY CONTROL steering with safety steering column
AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system
Airbags and sidebags for driver and front passenger, windowbags for driver, front passenger and rear-seat occupants
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
ASSYST maintenance interval indicator
Audio 20 with CD changer
Automatic-locking doors with emergency opening
Brake Assist system (BAS)
Brake pad wear indicator
Central locking with interior switch and crash sensor
Child seat recognition
Electronic immobiliser including “ELCODE” locking system with infrared/radio-frequency remote control and visible locking-verification signal
Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) with acceleration skid control (ASR)
First-aid kit
Foot-operated parking brake with hill start assist
Front seats with power height, backrest and squab angle adjustment; driver’s seat with manual lumbar support
Head restraints (5), adjustable; crash-responsive NECK-PRO front head restraints; three rear head restraints, manually height-adjustable
Headlamp Assist (automatic headlamps)
Headlamp range adjustment
Heated exterior mirrors left and right, electrically adjustable
Interior lighting switched on automatically when vehicle is unlocked
ISOFIX child seat attachment points in the rear
Leather steering wheel
Multi-function steering wheel
Multi-function steering wheel with enhanced screen
Outside temperature display
Parameter steering
Parktronic
Phone pre-installation
Piano-lacquer-effect trim parts
PRE-SAFE
Rain sensor
Rear sidebags
Seat occupancy recognition for front passenger seat
Side impact protection
Spare wheel
Stowage compartment in centre console
Sun visors with illuminated vanity mirror
Through-loading feature with load-securing facilities and 1/3:2/3 split-folding rear seat
Trip computer in multifunction display
Tyre pressure loss warning system
The table below shows figures for both manual and automatic transmission. Automatic transmission data where different is shown in brackets.
Insurance Group 14E
Arrangement / Cylinders / Valves Inline / 4 / 16
Displacement (cc) 2148
Rated Output (hp at rpm)¹ 170 / 3800
Rated Torque (Nm at rpm)¹ 400 / 2000
Compression Ratio 17.6
Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph (s) 8.5 (8.5)
Top Speed, approx. (mph) 142 (141)
Tyre Size
Front
Rear
205/55 R 16
205/55 R 16
Fuel Consumption (mpg)²
Urban
Extra-urban
Combined
35.8 (31.0)
60.1 (55.4)
47.9 (42.8)
CO2 Emissions (g/km)²
SE
Elegance
Sport
156 (173)
156 (173)
160 (177)
Tank Capacity (l) incl. reserve, approx. 66/8
Boot Capacity (l) 475
Turning Circle Diameter (m) 10.84
Kerb Weight (kg)³ 1585 (1605)
Perm. GVW (kg) 2070 (2090)

¹ Figures calculated according to Directive 80/1269/EEC, version 1999/99/EC

² Figures calculated according to Directive 80/1268/EEC, version 1999/100/EC

³ Figures calculated according to Directive 92/21/EC, version 95/48/EC, (kerb weight with fuel tank 90% full, driver, 68 kg, and luggage, 7 kg) for standard-specification vehicles. Optional extras and accessories will generally increase the kerb weight and reduce the payload capacity.