December 21, 2016 @ 05:55 PM

Mercedes-Benz C250: Making bread and butter… better

The C250 has sprouted claws in the form of AMG goodies and becomes the car it always should have been.

Mercedes-Benz delivered a total of 10,845 passenger cars in 2015 - a figure up by 56 per cent from 2014. This may not sound like much to Perodua, but is a massive achievement when you understand that Mercedes-Benz rolled more cars out of their showroom doors than Audi, Lexus, Volvo, Peugeot, MINI and Renault combined, in the same period. 

 

Rounding off a record-breaking year, Mark Raine, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Passenger Cars Mercedes-Benz Malaysia foresees that momentum sustaining through 2016 as well. This exercise of staying power now banks heavily on the sales of their limousine line-up (up 75 per cent from 2014), namely the C-, E- and S-Class cars. With the arrival of the ‘W213’ E-Class looming ever closer, which normally will mark a slowdown of the outgoing model – the challenge of sustenance in 2016, explains Mark, rests heavily on the C-Class. 

In 2016, three choices are on offer – the entry-level C200 Avantgarde, or if you desire more power and torque than a Merc AMG GT yet require four-doors, the C63 AMG and this; the mid-way sporting superstar - C250 AMG Line. Priced at RM287,888, it’s poised to do battle with arch rival the BMW 330i M-Sport. 

 

But just how much do those three letters that stand behind an already formidable badge really mean? This may be an uncharacteristic analysis – but all it takes is a dollop of steering lock on a tight corner for one would understand the upgrades are more than just superficial. The camber-gain of the suspension geometry undeniably suggests... this puppy is a real driver!

The multi-link setup at all four corners now benefits AMG sports suspension which now takes stance 15mm lower to the asphalt. When fed with input from the brilliantly weighted, progressive and quick acting steering rack – could well be the best handling C-Class ever, discounting, of course, the manic C63 AMG. 

 

The aforementioned camber-gain plonks the outer tyre flat on the ground in the corners; which makes every B-road a conclusive process of picking your entry and exit points and proceed to connect the dots. The combination of firm suspension damping and the stiff shell made up of aluminium, thermoformed and high-tensile steel components delivers superb body control, yet a composed framework to spread loads on bumpy and rutty roads and to track well at high speeds. 

High speeds that list 250kph as the maximum velocity. Propulsion comes from a 2.0-litre direct-injected and turbocharged, longitudinally mounted in-line four producing 211bhp at 5500rpm and more importantly, 350Nm of torque at 1450rpm. The lot is attached to Mercedes-Benz’s in-house 7G-Tronic, seven speed conventional-auto powering the rear wheels. 

 

The question of how this combo feels? In a word- beautiful! BMW will tell you their 330i produces more power (252bhp) and probably would be faster, but as a package - 211bhp and 350Nm in the C250 are plenty for the daily trot. There is a hint of turbo-lag building up to 1600rpm but from there on out, power delivery is silky smooth all the way to the rev limiter. The gear shifts are almost imperceptible on the way up, rapid quick on the way down – prompted by those tactile feeling paddle shifters. Merc claims a 6.6sec 0-100kph; from the driver’s seat at least – it feels entirely believable.  

Agility Control is the nerve centre of control, determining the character of proceedings through the progressively sporty mapping of the throttle maps, suspension, gearbox shift patterns and steering feel. Personally, the ‘Sport’ mode is the only way to experience the C250 AMG Line, although pitching it into Comfort mode will dial-down the suspension and throttle activity comprehensively for a very relaxed driving demeanour. 

 

The C250 AMG Line also sports perforated front brake discs held by brake callipers with the "Mercedes-Benz" lettering. As advertised, the setup feels solid in feel right from the initial few centimetres of travel right down to when you lean hard on the anchors for sharp corners. There’s a charming sense of fluidity in the execution that generates ample confidence. 

Arguably, more so than the mechanical integrity if the new, exterior and interior architecture of the C250 AMG Line that is its ultimate trump card. 

 

On the outside, the radiator grille features integrated Mercedes three-pointed star and two louvres in matt iridium silver versus the previous three louvre design. The front bumper is massaged around the large air intakes ports with the lower apron edged with a chromed trim. Along the flanks AMG side sill panels integrate beautifully with AMG 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels finished in high-gloss titanium grey. Finally round the back, the rear rump receives an AMG diffuser-look rear apron, integrated into the bumper. 

 

The level of detail continues on the inside, the focal point being the unpolished grain of the wood centre console, interacting gracefully with the metallic inserts of the dash and air-conditioning vents – and the pièce de résistance as to be those perforated Burmester speaker enclosures dotting every door panel. Add to that, counterpoint of the modern-looking fonts on the dial-cluster that bodes well against the backdrop of the neo-classical charm of the interior. However, this is one Mercedes-Benz that is best enjoyed from the firm bolstering of the driver’s seat.

 

ARVIND KUMAR

Price

RM287,888 OTR W/O Ins. 

Engine

1598cc, in-line 4 cyl, 16V direct-injected, turbocharged VVT 211bhp @ 5500rpm, 350Nm @ 1200rpm.

Performance

6.6s 0-100kph, 250kph top speed, 5.3l/100km, 123g/km CO2

Weight

1480kg

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