The arrival of the new diesel engined Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueTEC in the driveway brought back memories of when I was a kid getting a new bike for my birthday. It was a very special feeling and all I wanted to do was get out on the road and go.
But before slipping behind the wheel, I slowly walked around it, admiring its all-new physique, as I lightly ran my fingers over its lustrously painted, Iridium Silver panels, and I’ve got to say it is striking to look at.
It oozes luxury and sportiness with gentle curves along its flanks, big 19-inch alloy wheels that fill the guards, privacy glass and the oversized three-pointed star on the grille to remind you who created it. Squint and there is more than a hint of the big Mercedes S-class to its form.
However, after gazing at it for a while, I also realised there would be a problem; I was going to have to hand the C250 BlueTEC back after just a week. My mind sought any excuse to hang on to it for an extra day, or two, or three.
Opening the door, the exquisite all-new architecture, high-quality soft touch materials, faultless finish and luxurious aroma seduced me to step inside. And I willingly obliged. The driver’s seat embraced me and in no time, I had the perfect driving position. Looking around, its clear the C-class interior is bigger than its predecessor with plenty of room in all directions to comfortably accommodate four – five at a pinch. Its split 60/40 rear seat shows off its versatile side while the leather trim, carbon and matte chrome garnish add equal measures of style and ambience.
I love the Mercedes attention to detail, yet chuckle thinking about the first meeting when one of the boffins suggested making the owners manual electronic within the Command infotainment system, as it would save half a kilogram and 350 pages. The dash mounted Command infotainment system also houses a suite of applications and technologies, displayed on the touch screen.
And I love the heads up display, and the paddle shifts that move with the flat-bottomed steering wheel, and the clarity of the instruments, and the soft touch controls, but most of all I loved the special feeling I got whenever I looked at or drove the C250 BlueTEC. Every trip was one to savor.
Under the bonnet is a 2.1 litre turbocharged, four cylinder, direct injection diesel that boasts 150 kilowatts and 500 Newton metres, that propels the C250 BlueTEC from zero to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds and all the while it sips as little as 4.5L/100km. I thought to myself, this engine is so tractable I wouldn’t even bother with the V8.
It is extremely quiet and with all that torque unleashed from 1600rpm, very punchy, surging you effortlessly through corners and making overtaking child’s play. On the back of the BlueTEC diesel engine is a seven-speed auto, with five preconfigured drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and ‘Individual’. Each mode alters the engine mapping, including gear shifting, the weight needed to turn the variable rate electric power steering and the suppleness of the suspension. Comfort was the best for effortless cruising and Sport + when having a go. And I liked making up my own ‘Individual’ mode and storing it for future use.
To me, there C250 BlueTEC is a perfect all rounder, it is an impressive long-distance cruiser, (told you I never stopped driving it) and a sports saloon par excellence, as I discovered when flinging it along a sinewy back road.
The electric power steering is light and direct and feels like an extension of your arms. The ride is sublime on all surfaces and the brakes and accelerator have a silky progressive feel to them. Cornering results in a massive ear-to-ear grin with the multilink front and rear suspension and grippy tyres delivering wonderfully balanced, nimble handling.
The $70,400 C250 BlueTEC is lavishly equipped with a host of standard features as long as your arm and for those wishing to personalise their cars, there are many option packs. Naturally, it is at the forefront of safety technology and comes with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Mercedes have come up trumps with the new C-class. Sure, it had big shoes to fill, replacing the brands biggest seller and it has done that easily. After a week of motoring nirvana, the kind folk at Mercedes almost needed a tyre lever to pry me out of the C250 BlueTEC. For a relatively inexpensive car, the sheer pleasure it gave me is indelibly fixed in my memory.
Seems I am not the only one who feels this way about Merc’s newest sedan; it has blitzed the sales charts and filled a cabinet with trophies at Mercedes Oz HQ.
I’d say mission accomplished.