Mercedes Benz C-250 Avantgarde
E-mail

Its been quite a German season for us at Petrolheads.in. After carrying out a detailed review of the BMW X1, we were handed over a Mercedes Benz and that too the new face-lifted Mercedes Benz C 250 Avantgarde Blue Efficiency.


The Mercedes C class, the BMW 3 series and the Audi A4 have been traditional rivals in almost all the markets that they have been part of. So, taking this rivalry forward, Mercedes has launched the new face lifted C class in August 2011 way ahead of the other two. The new BMW 3 series and the Audi A4 are expected in the first and last quarters of 2012 respectively.


We hope to be able to get a glimpse of the others during the Auto Expo 2012 soon.


Whats new:

The new face lifted C class has the following new features:

  • LED tail lights

  • Panoramic sunroof

  • New alloy wheels

  • LED daytime running lamp

  • New bumper

  • Headlamps with intelligent light system

  • Line specific multifunctional steering wheel

  • Electric seats with memory package

  • Line specific improvements to the upholstery and instrument cluster

  • Attention assist

  • Advanced parking system

  • New media interface


The Mercedes Benz C 250 Avantgarde Blue Efficiency that was handed over to us was not only the most powerful and exciting C-Class since its inception in 1993 (apart from the AMG of course) but also the fully loaded variant. Read on to see how the car unfolded...


Styling and design:

The new C class has a slightly retro inspired styling cue. This is brought to prominence by the styling creases that run all along the side of the car. Very similar to the general styling theme of the E and the S class saloons. But yes, owing to the new bolder bumpers, led treatment makes  the car stand out for sure. Very much unlike the earlier C class sedans the overall profile of this new one is quite grown up.


Blue Efficiency means that this car is fitted with extremely low profile tyres and large 17” alloys. In addition to this, the Avantgarde trim sports a grille that it shares with the AMG variant. These variants have a prominent Mercedes logo as part of the radiator grille as against the three pointed star bonnet emblem. Before you realize you have upped the sporty appeal of the car.


Also, the Avantgarde also sports a black coloured roof true that does make the car look premium.


Interiors:

When you think of Mercedes, you think of luxury. You think of a car that goes that extra mile for the comfort of its occupants. This is the exact sentiment that the cabin of the C 250 Avantgarde arouses in you. Step into the car and your are almost immediately floored by the air of luxury.


Sitting in the driver’s seat when you see the 3 pointed star on the leather strapped steering wheel, you start to feel that air of slight aristocracy if I may call it that. You begin to feel worth a million bucks. Mind you this is just the C class. So this effect will be a lot more pronounced in the E and the S class sedans and again its something to do with what Mercedes stands for I guess.


Its like saying that sitting in a Porsche Panamera, one instantly feels the adrenalin rush even though the car is marketed as a sedan and not an outright sports car. Its what the lineage inspires and is perceived as.


Nice black leather upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob with tasteful use of brushed aluminium, shiny chrome metal, wood and high quality plastics. And then there is their attention to detail. Every knob, every button and every lever has an air of solidity about it which clearly stems from the German DNA of the vehicle.


The steering of the car feels quite nice to hold with the sporty leather strapping and grooves in which to rest your thumbs.


The entertainment interface is a large screen at the top of the central console and a very iDrive like circular dial placed just behind the gear stick.


The door panel houses the switches for the sear adjustment in addition to the routine window and ovrm controls. The seat adjustments offer four memory settings which is rather handy! Seat adjustments include settings for the back rest, lumbar support height, head rest as well as front and back. This helps in achieving the perfect seating position with a lot of ease and add to that the memory function and you need not be worried about some other driver coming on and adjusting the seat  to his preference. The rear bench is also very comfortable and offers good back and lumbar support.


We were very impressed with the easy entry/exit feature. When this feature is enabled, the height of the steering column is raised automatically once the engine is switched off and the key removed which facilitates an easy exit and subsequent entry for the driver. Once you enter the car again and turn on the ignition, the steering column resumes the pre-set height comfortable to the driver. Isn’t that just thoughtful and so very convenient!


The ergonomics of the car are quite good. All you need is at a comfortable reach and is very user friendly. We also liked the feel of the gear knob with the stylish shiny Mercedes logo on the top and a leather wrapping.


The ergonomics of the car are quite good. All you need is at a comfortable reach and is very user friendly. The central two din entertainment system houses controls for the Bluetooth phone connectivity, CD changer, radio and navigation (when installed). How I wish the Avantgarde was equipped with the GPS navigation system as it is in the markets abroad. This panel also houses buttons to switch the parking controls off and also a button to lower or raise the rear-windshield sun blind.


The C-Class is equipped with a two zone fully automatic air-conditioning system. Very effective.


Mercedes has moved a lot of settings and controls of the car’s features from the centrally housed iDrive like interface to the driver’s instrument cluster or dashboard. The central media interface just handles the entertainment bit. All the other vehicular settings like the auto door lock, easy entry/exit, adapt main beam, light delay, traction control (:D) are placed in the central dial of the driver’s dash.


Engine and transmission:

The C250 is the most powerful C class saloon that Mercedes sells in India apart from the AMG (C63 AMG). Not only is it the most powerful C class apart from the AMG, but also the most powerful and torquey amongst the competition.

This two litre (2148 cc) turbo charged common rail diesel motor generates a maximum of 204 hp of power at 4200 rpm. Whats more mind-blowing is the maximum torque figure of 500 Nm and that too over the rpm range of 1600 - 1800! Sounds fantastic? Sure. Thankfully it feels as good when you get behind the wheel! Well, we like manual gear boxes so much that we end up mentioning it in almost all our reviews which involve cars with an automatic transmission, but, this one is something you can live with without much to complain about. This power train and transmission combination ensures a very linear power delivery. We were able to race this beast of a car to speeds in excess of 220 kmph on the expressway and we are certain that this car had in it to push on much faster. If only we had a controlled environment. Sigh!


The automatic gear box offers two pre-set modes: Sports and Economy. In the Ecomony mode, the upward gear shifts happen at around the 2000 rpm mark or when the engine revs past the maximum torque rev band of 1600-1800 rpm. This mode ensures that you stay in the very torquey portion of the rev range and hence is very enjoyable. Needless to say that this ensures maximum fuel economy. Change to the Sports mode and the gear shift pattern changes. No. It does nothing to the gear ratios or the ferocity of the gear shifts or any aspect of the dynamics. You can now rev the engine way beyond the 2000 rpm mark before you effect an upward gear shift. It is more drag race like behaviour.


In our opinion, this sports mode didn’t make much sense. We believe that the drag like revving to the red line and then shifting upwards is something you would want to do in a Petrol driven car as that would push the engine in the max torque range. What this sports mode does is engage in this behaviour in a diesel powered car and hence it ends up revving the engine way beyond the max torque band. This managed to spoil all the fun for us and hence we continued to drive on in the Economy mode itselfs.


Driving dynamics:

We were very happy with the way the car behaved on the expressway. Decent feedback. Composed. Assured. Fairly responsive steering. All good and nothing to complain about. Things started to change once we left the flat straights of the expressway and drove into winding countryside roads. We got down to driving this car with a bit of a subconscious Beemer hangover. So, as we threw the car in the corners in a very high spirited manner and the car felt fairly rattled. Soon, we realized that this is a sane car and meant for a different kind of a driving. This is certainly not the car you drive wearing your devil’s hat. This is car with which you’d rather clip the apex of a corner rather than muster the courage to go wide. You just do not feel inspired to throw the car in the corners.

Having said that, when you realize this and drive the car the way it is meant to be driven, it is a real treat. Wear your sane thinking and civilized hat and you will enjoy driving this car to no end. The Agility Control Module which adjusts the stiffness of the dampeners according to the driving conditions provides a very comfortable drive and little body roll makes it a lovely car to be driven in as well. This is not something you didn’t know about a Mercedes isn’t it?


Overall evaluation:

Priced at about Rs. 33, 00, 000 ex-showroom, this is the most powerful of its competition i.e. the BMW 320d executive and the Audi A4 2.0 TDI Multitronic. Coupled with this awesome power it is also the car with the most luxurious feel about itself. Attribute it to the legacy of the three pointed star or the way it has lived up to that expectation. The cabin indeed makes you feel like a million bucks! The feature list is the most exhaustive too.

So, if you are looking for a car to be driven in, look no further.

If you are someone who looks to drive himself and like the power and great speed in a civilized sane manner, look no further.

But, if you want a car that makes you feel like a driving god even on the challenging winding country roads, you must look at something typically Bavarian.

Pictures of the Mercedes Benz C250 Avantgarde:

Other reviews that might interest you: