Mercedes Benz C350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY – A butterfly & a bee!

If you know my tastes and the weight of my foot, I suppose you’d know that as much as I loved the C180K, it didn’t have the shove that I would have liked. So Mercedes Benz didn’t waste any time in getting me behind the wheel of the C350 CDI. If it was ‘shove’ I wanted, this was not it. This was a solid left-right-left-upper cut that left me floored.
I’ve always known how powerful these modern diesel engines can be, and I do remember trying to catch an old C320 CDI up the infamous Malagwane hill in a 2002 Audi S3. I caught the Diesel Merc, but only on the bends and as soon as there was room to put foot, it was over. I’ve also ridden shotgun in an old BMW 330d and my word it was a fast.

So I had an idea that this car would be fast and sure enough, it didn’t disappoint. It has a mighty punch but that only tells half the story. I couldn’t help thinking of Mohammed Ali when I drove this car. (stay with me now) – The legendary boxing champ was lightning quick – C350 CDI BE ticks that box. That’s not what made him a champ though. It was the all-round smooth talking; ring dancing; handsome faced, quick-witted, hard hitting intelligence that made his name famous, and his boxing legendary.

This car is the same. Yes it is quick, but the V6 Diesel motor is also very intelligent. I spent 7 full days with this car, and after driving it hard for a week, I still managed 9,2l/100km fuel consumption. That’s unheard of. This car runs to 100km/h in 6,2 seconds and on to a top speed of 250km/h and still can manage(according to the manufacturer) a combined fuel consumption of 7.0l/100km. It develops 165kW at 3800 and a knockout 510Nm of torque as low down as 1800 r/min. I don’t always like to talk facts and figures but this is incredibly good stuff.

Like Ali however, it’s also as smooth as the butterfly when dancing around the roads of JHB. The 7G-Tronic transmission is part of the recipe of the smoothness with almost imperceptible shifts. It is such a smooth and comfortable car to drive if that’s what you’re looking for. But when you activate the Sports setting, plant your right foot, it takes the fight to the rear wheels and you’re left with slightly tensed tummy muscles.

I know there is so much more to a car than it’s power plant, but this is what makes this car the pick of the bunch for me. The C63 AMG is on the expensive side and the C350 Petrol motor is probably not as exciting. I am speculating here, but for me, this Diesel mill is what I like. It’s not the best in performance figures alone, but I can assure you that the efficiency of the motor compared to the other Germans, is right up there.

At R530,000 base price, it’s the best value for money if you have a slight inclination to enjoying some punch in a car.

If anything, the turbo lag still annoys me and that is my feeling across the board for all turbo cars. It’s very evident in this car too. You make the request for power, wait until you start doubting that it’s coming, and just when you’re about to give up it comes with such vengeance and enthusiasm that you forget all about it. . . until you need it again.

A side story: I sat at the traffic lights next to a Golf V GTi and we were both seemingly in a rush. When the lights turned green, we both urgently depressed the accelerators and pummelled down Cedar Road. He seemed to get the edge initially but then the Mercedes Benz C350CDI BlueEFFICIENCY came belting past him just when he thought his appointment was more important than mine. It reminded me of Ali once again when he won the heavyweight title at 32 years of age. After raining heavy blows on Ali throughout the Rumble in the Jungle, George Foreman started to fade and Ali chirped “You picked the wrong time to get tired” and then proceeded to floor him.

I loved the C350 CDI BE, even with all the bad diesel South Africa has, I would highly recommend owning one. What a car!

1 comment:

  1. I own one aswell, it is quite a beast not many can keep up with mine, however I've deleted the dreaded egr and cats. Also deleted the turbo resonator (lag is almost gone) . Decarbon the intake with liquimoli every 50000km . I'm currently at 83000km. Stage 2 tune. But stock , it's still a pretty impressive car, I'd take it in a heart beat over the new c class. But the seats a a tad bit firm compared to my 97 C36 AMG . I'd just avoid buying a high millage one, especially if DPF equipped .