Several More nights
After our special one week with the C-Class, we were impressed by the way it drove and several of our readers loved the story too. Many of our readers also requested us to share the reliability report of this sedan from Mercedes-Benz, as a potential product to procure. For these reasons, Mercedes-Benz India invited us to pick-up the new C-Class from its Chakan plant in Pune. Read our Factory Delivery story to know more about it.
The C-Class has finally made it into our fleet and we will be sharing our fortnight reports with you. The vehicle has been in our fleet for a couple of weeks and we are glad to share our initial reports of the C-Class.
From the plant and daily use
We got the C250 CDI as our long termer and we are glad that it is the same one we were looking for. The 2.2-litre engine produces 204bhp and it comes mated to 7G-TRONIC transmission. This might sound a bit too much for power and lesser fuel economy. The power bit is correct, however when it comes to fuel efficiency, we have got a best figure of 13.5km/l in Mumbai city driving. The seven speeds ensured that we got a fuel efficiency of about 17km/l as we cruised back on the Expressway from the Chakan plant to Mumbai.
The fuel efficiency of the C-Class is just fantastic and we love the way, it has returned us in excess of 11 km/l, even on most of city driving. All you have to do is be light on your right foot, there is sufficient power even if you drive within 2500rpm with gradual acceleration. The C-Class also comes with Eco, which switches off the engine when you stop at a signal. This system can be deactivated by switching it off as well, as one won’t want to switch off the air-con in summers.
The ground clearance of this C250 is decent, however on unevenly designed speed-breakers, the underbelly scraps. This is the only con that the C faces. Else, we love the light steering wheel for city driving, easy and convenient. The seating is a bit low, and initially you might find it tight, but once used to it, you will love this seating as the front row seats cocoon around you and grip not just your back but even provide good side support.
Expensive support car and chauffeur driven:
Our editorial team has always been in a hunt to get a vehicle that can double up as a back-up and support car. We didn’t expect this, but the sunroof of the C250 makes it extremely easy for us to shoot. We didn’t think of it that way, but our photographer is also in love with the way the roof opens and there is sufficient room for him to move out, unlike several other sunroofs that are too tight for him. The boot is also large enough to hold the tripod and other shooting gear. The other advantage with the C is the power, which makes it easier for the car to catch up with the other car to be shot or move ahead.
The other thing that we believed was that C-Class might not be a chauffeur driven vehicle. The rear feels cramped, but this thought process also changed. This occurred when we flew Emirates business class and a C-Class came to pick me. The rear seat is comfortable and has sufficient support for your thighs and head. The window-line is also high, which makes the inside a bit darker and cool, away from the heat. The insulation is fantastic, you feel isolated from the world when you sit behind with all the heavy doors shut. It isn’t as good as the E-Class, but it is much better than what we expected. The C-Class also doubles up as a decent chauffeur driven vehicle, it is a bit tight when compared to E, but we aren’t sure how many will downgrade from E to C.
Last few days, we were away from the C-Class as we were traveling for the Frankfurt Motor Show. In the upcoming reports, you will have some detailed reports on the C-Class from us.
City driving and chauffeur drive for a colleague:
Despite having 204bhp on tap of right pedal, the C-Class has been extremely economical. Traffic in a city like Mumbai has been an issue, and we were delighted to see the fuel efficiency being in excess of 10km/l, with purely city driving. The 200+bhp of power ensured we didn’t have to rev in excess of 2,000rpm on most of the occasions, as it wasn’t even required. Looking at the styling of this C-Class, a friend also procured one a couple of weeks ago. However, he picked the C200 Avantgarde and his is the black one. Our C-Class has been going strong and it seems that the ECM has understood my style of driving in the city as the gear shifts at the rpm I generally like it to, depending on driving conditions. It is a lot easier to drive, and now we have learnt how to handle most of the speed bumps with correct usage of brake and accelerator.
After our lovely experience of the Emirates C-Class, we decided to give another such experience to one of colleagues. Morning drop to the airport and our colleague was absolutely comfortable as the co-driver seat is large and comfortable. The adjustable headrest ensures comfortable seating and even the lumbar can be adjusted. Despite flying business class on a domestic flight, our colleague suggested to be more comfortable in the C-Class than the flight from Delhi to Mumbai. This means we owe something from our colleague, for this fantastic ride that we offered him.
Aamby Valley and back:
Finally the time arrived. To got a chance to take the C-Class on an open road and winding road. Every time, the chance to do something of this sort had been postponing and finally we got a chance. The C-Class on the expressway was cruising with ease. Even at 120km/hr, the engine was spinning at about 2400rpm, thanks to the 7G-TRONIC. The drive on the expressway was a breeze, despite the rains. We have always loved sedans and all we had to do was to engage the cruise control and relax and relish the trip and the last possible rain for this year.
We were relaxing and enjoying the music, as we were waiting to push the C-Class on one of our favourite roads that lead to Aamby valley. The steep turns and sharp bends is definitely a driver’s delight. And with Octane Addict’s like us, it is a paradise. Due to rain and also to maintain good fuel efficiency, we were driving below 2000rpm on most of the occasions. We didn’t want to hamper our brilliant fuel run and also not discomfort the occupants in the car. This meant that we drove to Aamby in great comfort and still overtook all the vehicles ahead of us on the ghats. Despite all this, we achieved fuel efficiency in excess of 13.5km/l.
It was unfortunate, we couldn’t take the C near our room, as it would have looked perfect with a very-European style cottages in the back-drop. On our way back, there was no rain, which meant even a better drive back. The lack of traffic and the setting down sun ensured a comfortable drive back home. Soon, we shall be bidding good-bye to the C-Class. One of the saddest moments for us, Mercedes-Benz hope you are reading our story.
The C-Class been a good travel companion for us, we drove it for more an couple of months and it always pampered us with its leather seats that wrap around. The luxurious interiors have first-rate fit and finish. The instrument panel is black with off-white as contrast colour. Initially, the black was a bit too dark but now we have gotten smitten with the colour. This makes it easy on eyes as it doesn’t reflect sunlight.
On several of our trips within the city, it was comfortably cruising as the engine was spinning mostly under 2000rpm returning a good fuel efficiency figure. With 204bhp on tap and best possible usage of torque through the 7G-TRONIC, it was easy to get a figure of about 10-12km/l even in city. The number dropped only when you get stuck in heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic. Else, it is easy to extract a good figure without much of pushing.
The 17-inch alloy wheels on the C250 Avantgarde reduce the tyre profile. Due to this reason, the ride was stiff making it difficult to drive on bad and bumpy roads. The C-Class otherwise has a softer ride. But the handling of the C250 is just brilliant. You can easily do wheel spins and burn a lot of rubber. Those who think that the C-Class is competitive; they need to get behind the wheel of the C250. It is quick and still efficient.
Report 6- Farewell:
So finally the time has come and the C-Class departs. It has been a great partner for us as it has served us for almost three months. There are several things of the C-Class that we like and a few that we didn’t. To begin with is the styling of the C-Class. Designers have changed the way C-Class looks since its facelift. The black panoramic roof just changes the styling completely and the C in the headlamps adds on to the glam. Then, it is the sheer luxury that the vehicle offers. This is a three-pointed star product and it lives up to its name. All the material used inside is top-notch. Then of course it is the power on offer. 204bhp is more than sufficient to cruise on the highway and even for those quick overtaking moves in the city. Then this engine comes with paddle shifts that make it even more fun while driving on winding roads. Then it is the large snug seats, which makes long journeys even more relaxing. The light steering wheel adds on to the joy.
Now, coming to the things that we don’t like. The first is the ground clearance, which is low slung and should have been a tad higher. You will scrap on most of the speed bumps that aren’t constructed properly. On a normal speed breaker, it goes without any issues. Second, is the 17-inch alloy wheels that stiffens the ride quality. A bit softer ride is what we generally prefer in the city. Finally, it is the ORVMs that do not have the green filter to reduce the glare. One might expect this to be added to a sedan that costs about Rs 40 lakhs.