A classy upgrade

K Shivraj
Saturday, 20 October 2018

In terms of technology, the all new Mercedes-Benz C-Class packs in a lot and also comes across as a highly rewarding car to drive

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been treated to a mid-life upgrade. A clear attempt to get the model up to the level of the rivals is evident as the car gets a new 245bhp, 2-litre four-cylinder BSVI compliant diesel engine. The 245bhp power output is available on the C300d, and 194bhp output is available on the C220d. Both the variants feature the same engine, but in a different state of tune. 

Over the C220d, the C330d comes with the AMG body kit, which could be considered as an equivalent of the M Sport kit on a BMW 3 Series or an S-line Kit on an Audi A4. The AMG kit includes customised, albeit sportier bumpers than on the ‘standard’ version. There are side skirts and larger, 18-inch dia alloy wheels. 

The ‘diamond’ grille is also a part of the grille, and adds a sportier, more powerful dimension to the car visually. The head lamps are multi-beam adaptive LED ones. Walk over, and the sides reveal a silhouette that is no different from the model it succeeds. The coupe-like front pillar, and the way the roof slopes to the rear keeps the connection with the earlier model alive. It even looks a bit like a shrunk S-Class with its taut skin and sharp lines.

NOT MUCH CHANGE IN INTERIOR
Inside, the new car comes across as familiar. The wood grain finish has been modified to be less prone to scratches, and looks more classy. The steering wheel, which has metallic controls and dual touchpads, is new and similar to that of the S-Class. 

The overall shape of the dash and the trim are not very different from the earlier model, the instrument console of the new car is analogue in nature. Big hoods contain the dials and a large colour LCD readout. The infotainment system has a wide 10.25-inch screen unlike the previous car’s small unit. It employs a version of COMAND interface that is common to the E-Class and the S-Class. 

The front seats are nice, big and comfy. They are powered and come with a good amount of room, but not so at the rear. While this is more the case with tall people, the rear seat, even though well cushioned and accompanied by good leg room, also lacks in thigh support. 

0 TO 100KMPH IN UNDER 6 SEC
The 245bhp engine exerts a strong pull from earlier on. It feels quite strong in the way it pulls, and the power does not seem to taper even as the revs rise and the 9G-Tronic auto transmission shifts. The nine-speed auto-box is brilliant in its actions, and plays a key role in the way the car performs. 

Claimed to do 0 to 100kmph in a shade under six seconds, the C330d comes across as a highly rewarding car to drive. The BSVI compliant engine comes packed with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) aftertreatment. There are times when the revs rise and a loud booming sound manages to filter into the cabin along with some engine clatter. When cruising on the highway at the engine moving close to 2000rpm, the car feels incredibly silent. 

FIRM EDGE TO THE RIDE
There is a firm edge to the ride, but the new C-Class does not feel as stiffly sprung as the earlier car. Sharp undulations do get the car to produce an amount of thunk as the 18-inch dia wheels negotiate them. The steering is nice and quick and contributes a good deal to handling the dynamics. The brakes are strong and inspire confidence.

VERDICT
From the looks of it, the new C-Class may not bring much more than a set of new bumpers, grille, lamps and wheels. It may not bring much to the table as far as the revisions to the interior are concerned. But the technology that the car packs in the form of a BSVI compliant engine, the brilliant nine-speed gearbox, and the updated infotainment system is simply brilliant. It does have certain shortcomings like the rear seat, which could offer more comfort than it does. 

At Rs 48.50 lakhs ex-showroom for the C330d (and Rs 44.25 lakhs of the C 220d), the new C-Class gets its shine back. 

Pros: Performance (C330d), equipment, ride, handling
Cons: Could have better rear seat comfort

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