2011 Mercedes Benz C-Class Review and First Drive

by under Review on 26 May 2011 09:08:24 PM26 May 2011
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
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Benchmark for technology and luxury; excellent engines


Gets pricey when you option-up

Launching the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class lineup, the company’s Chairman, Dr Dieter Zetsche said: “For us the new generation C-Class with more than 2,000 new parts is a facelift, others would speak of a new model”.

That’s Mercedes-Benz for you.

Sure the basic architecture is unchanged, but the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class range boasts high-tech changes for its exterior (the new aluminium bonnet and front fenders pare 10kgs from the weight – important for fuel savings), a new interior highlighted by a new dashboard and center console plus detailed engine changes. That’s some mid-life facelift for Benz’ top-selling compact sedan and wagon range.

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class lineup is now on-sale in Australia and despite the improvements, price rises have been kept miniscule – starting from $58,900 for the C200 BlueEfficiency.

By any measure the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the benchmark for prestige compacts – no wonder more than 8.5-million have been sold since the first 190 model appeared back in 1982 and also no surprise that even before the new range was launched locally, Mercedes-Benz Australia dealers were holding a solid order bank.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Overview

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class range comprises petrol and diesel models in standard and upscale ‘Avantgarde’ grades (in total six sedans and four wagons).

Apart from the visual changes inside and out, the new engine range is more efficient and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class affords a new generation of telematics with internet access.

As well a number of driver assistance technologies which debuted on the E-Class have been incorporated in the new C-Class – such as the latest Parktronic system, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot assist, pre-safe brake and adaptive high-beam assist.

As you would expect from Mercedes-Benz, it’s all very, very impressive and the total C-Class package is staggering in its style, technology and performance.

The full range is:
C200 $58,900
C200 CDI $60,900
C250 Avantgarde $67,900
C250 CDI Avantgarde $67,900
C300 Avantgarde $84,900
C350 CDI Avantgarde $94,400

C200 $60,900
C200 CDI $62,900
C250 Avantgarde $69,900
C250 CDI Avantgarde $69,900

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Engine

Highlights of the under-bonnet changes for the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class are direct injection for all engines, standard start/stop for all diesels and standard 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. Reduced fuel consumption and emissions is the bottom line.

Petrol engines are C200 (1.8-litre, four-cylinder with 135kW/270Nm), C250 (1.8-litre, four-cylinder with 150kW/310Nm) and the C300 3.5-litre V6 (185kW/340Nm).

Diesels are C200 CDI (single-turbo, 2.1-litre, four-cylinder with 100kW/330Nm), C250 CDI (twin-turbo, 2.1-litre, four-cylinder with 150kW/500Nm) and C350 CDI (twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 with 195kW/620Nm). 


Direct injection for the petrol engines delivers improved fuel consumption thanks to higher compression and enhanced thermodynamic efficiency, while ECO start/stop and revised engine mapping for the diesels also delivered efficiency gains.

And of course, the standard fitment of Benz’ superb 7 G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission is another key plank in the fuel consumption story.

Overall, fuel consumption is down across the range – as low as 5.1l/100kms for the C250 CDI and 7.2l/100kms for the C200 and C250 petrols.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class The Interior

Inside, there’s a lot of cues from the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS in the new C-Class – not the least of which is the new, modern steering wheel in the ‘Avantgarde’ grade finished in Nappa leather.

The new design dashboard features much-improved material for a softer feel and includes a totally new instrument cluster, trimmed in a galvanized-look material and telescopic in design.

Seats are superb with various ventilation and contour options. 


Also available is a new TFT colour screen telematics system with Benz’ COMMAND on-line setup incorporating an internet browser, 10GB music register (can hold up to 3,000 songs) and Suna Traffic for the navigation system.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class feel more spacious than its main rival with front shoulder room of 1390mm and 1398mm in the rear. With some co-operation from those up-front, back seat passengers aren’t overly cramped for legroom, but the C-Class is a compact after-all.

Luggage space for the sedan is impressive at 475-litres, while the wagon - with seats folded - can swallow a massive 1500-litres.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Exterior & Styling

Major changes have freshened the look of the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class, highlighted by the new aluminium bonnet with bolder contours to highlight the re-styled clear-lens headlights (with a ‘C-shaped side light/broad LED indicators) and enhanced V-shape for the front. The front bumper is also a new design with horizontal LED daytime running lights and low, side air inlets to provide a sportier look.

At the rear, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class gets new bumpers and taillights with central LED indicators.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class On The Road

In one day, Car Showroom sampled a variety of four-cylinder-powered Mercedes-Benz C-Class models on a variety of roads from Melbourne northeast to Winton and return. The V6 models do not arrive until Spring.

We encountered both dry roads and flooding (hey, you shouldn’t expect anything else in Victoria in Autumn!) and of course the Mercedes-Benz C-Class excelled. 


Our favorite in this brief encounter was the C250 CDI – the sublime acceleration as its 500Nm was unleashed via the seven-speed transmission was typically ‘Benz.

Over some good and not-so-good roads, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class exhibited the expected first-class chassis dynamics – nicely taut, balanced and responsive

A word on active lane assist. Using cameras mounted in the mirror, the system monitors road markings and sends warnings via a steering wheel shake to alert the driver if veering from the lane and, if not corrected, automatically brakes one side of the car to steer back on-course. ‘Benz has pioneered lots of safety technology over the years and mark this one down as yet another life-saver – brilliant!

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Challenges

Over some of the coarser secondary roads, some tyre noise was noticeable (accentuated by the comparative quiet when driving onto smoother surfaces).

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Verdict

Mercedes-Benz has raised the bar again and the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class range remains the benchmark premium compact.


Mercedes-Benz C-Class The Competition

Naturally it’s the BMW 3-Series. The entry-level BMW 320 is a fair way short of the C200 in power and torque but overall it’s hard to fault the 3-Series.

Audi’s A4 shapes-up well – great engines and interior.

And the Lexus IS lineup is beautifully made (in the Lexus way). The IS 350 is a great drive too.

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