The Delectable C-Class - Mercedes Benz C180 BlueEFFICIENCY Sedan

I have a problem. My wife is a little bowled over by the C180 BlueEFFICIENCY Mercedes Benz. Why is that a problem you may ask? She has quite simply fallen in love with a car, something I never thought she would do. And she WANTS one. In fact, she asked if we could buy the very same car I had the opportunity to evaluate. She has even blogged about her love affair with it. Here’s my take:
The C180 BlueEFFICIENCY sedan is the opening act in the C-Class show and what an opener it is. For those who are new to Mercedes Benz, it’s a great base from which to grow into an extended relationship with the 3-pointed star brand.

The C-Class has maintained a leading market share in this segment and has been voted as the Best Compact Executive by 2 of the country’s leading motoring magazines. It’s also recently undergone a facelift which made a good looking car, a stunning car. Look at the pictures and tell me you don’t agree.

The facelift however, wasn’t just on the ‘face’. The interior also had a major rework and the result is nothing short of beautiful. When you drive the car you get that sense of intricate, detailed planning and craftsmanship. And this is for a volume selling C-Class. The two-toned steering is first class, and certainly a heck of a lot better than the previous wheel. With everything on the facia to the outward stitched leather seats; to the colour coded plastic sections that run across the facia and on the doors, you just feel like you’re driving a premium quality car. For me, the interior of a car is where it should excel and this Merc ticks almost all the right boxes. I say ‘almost’ because I really do think they should have included electric lateral adjustment for the seats. Apart from that, it’s difficult to fault the car from when you’re seated inside.

Behind the wheel, the car is standard Mercedes and all I’ll say is that Kanya wanted to drive more often than I was comfortable to allow. To describe the drive, I’d use these words: comfortable, poised; balanced. Kanya said: smooth, soft, nice – which is pretty much the same thing.

BlueEFFICIENCY: This is part of Mercedes’ attempt to have mobile solutions that are harmless to the environment as well as beneficial to its customers. The C180 BlueEFFICIENCY features improved aerodynamics as part of that stylish design as well as other enhancements that improve fuel consumption. Something that got Kanya, the environmentalist, very excited was the ECO Stop/Start feature that switches the car off every time you come to a stop, and then starts it up as soon as your foot comes off the brake pedal. It’s a nifty feature that I have found quite irritating in other models, but admittedly, in the Benz, it was less intrusive. BlueEFFICIENCY models from Mercedes Benz also feature reduced emissionsand this car will only give the government an additional R2,565.

Did we save fuel during our time with the car? Well for a 1.8 Turbo unit that has enough shove for you to enjoy, I’d say the consumption was quite impressive. Granted, we weren’t trying to drive slowly and so we could only manage 9,4l/100km which I think is not bad. The 115kW mill was very good for both Kanya and myself. She liked the punch more than I did, but at least it’s something I could live with. (It's obviously nothing close to the grand finale Monster in the C63AMG Coupe I drove a few months back.) Watch that video here.

Apart from what I’ve mentioned, the car is packed with intelligence, most of which you may not even notice until you’ve spent a lot of time with the car. Safety and driver assistance systems are high on the Mercedes Benz priority list, and a car like this includes driver aids like ATTENTION ASSIST; Adaptive Brake Lighting; Adaptive braking Systems and included in the options list, there are even more. These are all features intended to keep you in the comfort and enjoyment of the driver’s seat and on the road, not anywhere off it. Like in a tree. I am digressing here.

On the whole then, I am not too surprised by what the C-Class delivers in terms of quality; performance; comfort; safety and perceived value. The car is not cheap though, and once you’ve ticked all the options for various style packages, you could end up with an over R450k car. And that is just for the opening act. Is it worth it? When you really analyse the systems and features that are packaged into this car, I’d say yes. And when you compare it to the closest rivals, it’s not out of the ball park. I didn't like the standard trim of our car, specifically the wheels. But I'm nitpicking.

For a volume seller, Mercedes Benz has made a dream car. It’s hard to fault on any level, and since the recent launch of the new 3 Series BMW, I’d say that the C-Class can still hold it's own. Don’t be surprised if, in a few months, 2 things happen:
1) That the Merc is still voted in the Best Compact Exec.
2) That the Middleton household have one in their garage.

AM -

No comments:

Post a Comment