Jaguar launched the XE, its ground-breaking small sedan at the Paris Motor Show a few weeks back and thus took square aim at Mercedes-Benz C- Class and BMW 3-Series. But a few months earlier the folks from Solihull, England must have exhaled some strong breaths when Mercedes-Benz revealed the stunning all-new C-Class range.
Put simply the Germans have nailed-it again. The C-Class has long dominated this market segment (Mercedes-Benz sold more than 2.7-million of the previous generation) and you can bet they’ve chalked-up some massive overtime to ensure the all-new model was perfect.
The ‘no-compromise’ approach has paid off with the just-launched all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sprinting out of local showrooms at a frantic pace.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC Overview
Apart from the head-turning new looks, as you’d expect not one nut, bolt or washer has been overlooked by Mercedes-Benz in development of the latest C-Class lineup. Naturally fuel consumption/efficiency was a focus and, for example, the newcomer tips the scales more than 40kgs lighter than the outgoing model thanks in part to some 50 per-cent of the materials used in construction being aluminium (including the doors, bonnet and some chassis parts).
Car Showroom has just spent a week in the Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC. All new-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class models enjoy equipment levels equivalent to the outgoing ‘Avantgarde’ specification and priced at $70,400, the C250 BlueTEC is the mid-range diesel model and joins the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid model in featuring the twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.
Stepping-up to the C250 brings you 19-inch alloy wheels, dark-tinted privacy glass, electronic opening/closing for the boot and keyless entry.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC Engine
Currently the C 250 BlueTEC and C 300 BlueTEC hybrid variants head the diesel-powered models in the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class range with the sensational 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged direct injection diesel engine. Maximum power is 150kW at 3800rpm and peak torque of 500Nm is delivered between 1600-1800rpm – this gives the C 250 BlueTEC a considerable edge over direct rivals.
All C-Class diesel engines are equipped with Mercedes’ SCR technology (selective catalytic reduction) so they’re particularly environmentally-friendly and sit in top rating scale as used in Europe.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC The Interior
If you own a previous generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class, just opening the door of the all-new model and climbing inside will be a revelation not only in terms of the extra size but also the totally fresh approach by ‘Benz to interior design.
For starters there’s a theme which has spread from the smaller Mercedes-Benz models and is now obvious in the all-new C-Class which sees modern round air-vents (very aircraft-like) and a central freestanding central display screen for the audio/satellite navigation and climate control information. You will also notice a new look for the centre console control unit which has gained a touchpad surface on top of the rotary dial.
Naturally there’s a new-design steering wheel and naturally seat controls remain on the doors (a Mercedes-Benz norm). And naturally the usual Mercedes-Benz top-notch driving position is easily achieved with multiple adjustments of both.
No foot-operated parking brake for the C-Class – it’s now electronic and located on the dashboard (thus enhancing foot-space for the driver).
Also new is an excellent head-up display for the driver which shows speed and navigation directions.
The Car Showroom juniors appreciated the extra leg-room in the rear. Boot space is also greater at 480-litres.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC Exterior & Styling
We deliberately parked next to a previous generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class and in the looks department, the leap to this all-new model is clearly substantial. Most obvious is a change in the bonnet-to-cabin ratio (the all-new model has a much longer front-end) and the extra character lines and curves for the side and rear three-quarters.
The roof is also substantially more curved and the iconic Mercedes-Benz grille is noticeably more upright. The upright aero grille is part of an overall focus on aerodynamics which sees the all-new C-Class deliver an impressively low Cd of just 0.27
And the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is noticeably larger than its predecessor (95mm longer overall, 80mm longer in the wheelbase and 40mm wider). Growth in dimension within this market segment rivals reductions in SUVs – shows what buyers are thinking.
We like the view of the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class from any angle. The front with its extra size, stylish LED headlights and powerful creases looks purposeful, the side view with those muscly haunches gets some sporty overtones and the rear with those dynamic tail-lights accentuates width.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC On The Road
In our opinion, and especially when talking direct comparisons with key rivals, star billing for the Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC must go to the engine. That four-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel is a gem, delivering an unrivalled combo of 150kW/500Nm in the silky-smooth and fuel-efficient way only Mercedes-Benz can do.
And we tip our cap to Mercedes’ electromechanical ‘Direct Steer’ system and that slick four-link front/five-link rear suspension layout – there’s some serious and complex technology at work in this $70K sedan. Technology which not so long ago was only found in cars with significant six-figure price tags.
When we tackled our mountain roads test loop, switching the Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC to ‘Sport’ mode delivered the types of responses we like (accompanied by perfect throttle-blipping downchanges in the seven-speeder naturally). Turn-in, mid-corner balance and corner-exit were all spot-on with just a hint of understeer if you turned into a moron.
But really in any setting the Mercedes-Benz chassis and engine tune combine to deliver in the C-Class a simply enjoyable driving experience wherever you are.
Around town the expected Mercedes-Benz refinement is obvious and – again that engine/transmission – acceleration for freeway merging is awesome.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC Issues
Nothing to say here (except in our test car someone had installed the engine start/stop button upside-down!).
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC Verdict
Sure, as we write we’ve not yet driven the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG and earlier this year we raved about the CLA 45 AMG, but in big volume terms you can bet the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class range will be at the sharp end of the field when they consider the various ‘Cars Of The Year’ for 2014. If it’s not, the judges need to give themselves a solid upper-cut!
If there’s one thing – one thing – the hundreds of thousands of people employed globally by Daimler must get right it’s the C-Class, the company’s largest-selling individual model. Fact is the German giant secures the best from the global automotive talent pool and however you consider it, the all-new C-Class range is nothing short of stunning.
So that’s the big picture, but where the Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC stamps its mark is the level of specifications. Our test car lacked for nothing in terms of creature comforts and driver aids – talk about state-of-the-art.
That the Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC is so beautifully styled and drives so nicely are both elements which are almost the icing on the cake.
Mercedes-Benz C 250 BlueTEC The Competition
Saying the current Audi A4 is the best yet in some ways sells it short. But then given the cracking earlier generation A4s, maybe it isn’t…either way the A4 is a pearler. At $67,800 the Audi A4 2.0TDI Quattro gives you 130kW/380Nm of Audi’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel goodness and of course the slick all-wheel-drive chassis. As per every model in this segment you need to carefully check what’s standard and what’s optional to make direct price comparisons.
Much as we love the current BMW 3 Series there’s no denying ‘Benz has trumped its arch-rival with the all-new C-Class. For the C 250 BlueTEC, BMW’s 320d (135kW/380Nm) is the most direct rival and, stickered at $62,800 seems like a good buy. We think the C-Class is a better drive and as always check standard and optional features for the best cross-reference.
And we’re including the Infiniti 2.2d S Premium because it’s a heck of a lot of car for $61,900 and deserves to be on the same page as C-Class, 3-Series and A4. You get a 125kW/400Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel sourced from Mercedes-Benz and a superb rear-drive chassis and lots of kit…looks nice too.