Or needed, actually. The C220 CDI is a Mercedes-Benz you want to drive yourself
MERCEDES-Benz builds a diverse range of cars—from subcompacts that aren’t really small, to crossovers that are more mom-mobiles, to SUVs of varying ruggedness, to sports cars with equally differing performance-dosage levels. Clearly, the premium German brand’s produce caters to different types of buyers.
And yet, a Mercedes sedan always calls to mind the image of moguls and rock stars and dictators sitting in the back. All right, a lot of taxicabs in Europe wear the three-pointed star badge, too, so this Mercedes backseat thingie may have something to do with it as well. Maybe.
What is clearer is that in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class’s case—the C220 CDI Avantgarde Edition C, to be specific, and which is the subject of our review here—taking to the wheel is preferable to sitting in the back. Why? For starters, the car’s size does not exactly lend well to all that master-servant backseat occupancy deal—it’s relatively compact. And it’s not that the C220’s cabin space is tight, it’s just that the C-Class is rendered in sport sedan cut rather than in limo guise. The AMG front and rear apron and side sills fitted on the Edition C further this sport theme.
And here’s the important term here—“sport theme.” The C220 Edition C rolls on more sedate 17-inch alloys wrapped with staggered-width tires. Combined with the pliant, comfort-biased tuning of most C-Class cars (as opposed to the model’s hardcore performance variants) the wheel/tire combo strikes a balance between engaging road responses and civility. The C220 is refined and comfortable over almost any road surface. But don’t mistake this for sloppy handling. The car can switch directions quickly enough, provides just the right amount of feedback as it does so, and feels composed when driven spiritedly. It’s cocooning but not numb.
Also, the C220 CDI is propelled by a diesel engine, as the “CDI” identifies it. It’s a four-pot, 2,143cc mill that spins out 170hp from 3,000rpm to 4,200rpm, which isn’t really much. But as a direct-injection diesel its torque curve is really fat; think 400Nm from as low as 1,400rpm all the way to 3,800. This means the car pulls strongly from the get-go but is relaxed when it reaches cruising speed—again, another example of its sport theme as opposed to being downright sporty. The seven-speed automatic transmission that bolts to the engine wrings out the best from the power output, too, and—like anything Mercedes does—is refined.
The story is not different when it comes to the C220’s cabin appointments. The C-Class may sit on the lower rungs in Mercedes’s product-range ladder but it unmistakably is a Mercedes-Benz. So the car gets all the audio/Bluetooth-connectivity toys, dual-zone climate control, loads of driver-assist systems (including parking, of course), leather wrappings, power-everything, steering wheel control buttons and other pricey kit.
Other premium-car stuff that justifies the C220 Avantagarde Editon C’s P3.490-million price tag count in adaptive brakes, hill-start assist, a trick selectable damping system, rain-sensing wipers and tinted bi-xenon headlamps. It wears a big-ass three-pointed star on the grille and LED daytime jewelry lights. This car looks and feels good.
But—and here’s a big but—Mercedes has put out a new-generation C-Class in some markets, particularly in parts of summery Europe. And the new car promises a lot, packing niftier kit as standard, as well as a cushier cabin. It may take several more months before the new car comes to our Southeast Asian neck of the woods, though, so the C-Class presently sold locally is still a good bet. Especially so if the industry practice where auto companies slash prices off their outgoing models makes it to this car. But, as it is, there’s little to gripe about with the C220 Edition C.