New Mercedes-Benz C-Class is comfort above ambition
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is very refined but surely you should want more
IT's all just a bit too comfortable and uninvolving but if it's bought for you, then you are probably pretty satisfied both with it and yourself.
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a perfectly adequate saloon that, for the driver and the front-seat passenger, has real touches of premium-level luxury.
The C220BlueTec saloon Avantgarde Automatic is very safe but not as much as some of its competitors and is eye-catching in a small fat-cat way but, at the end of the day - and, even bearing in mind that prices have come down, would you buy one with your own money? Not if you want excitement - that would be the area of the BMW 3 Series, the Merc's AMG versions and a Quattro Audi.
Yet, for rock-solid easy motoring, there's little to beat the Merc C-Class. It isn't as well-specced as its big sisters, but their technology is now trickling down into these new-generation models, but at €50,266 before p&p, it is a pretty complete package. As it should be at that price.
There are, however, compromises in space at the back - especially if you are sitting in the middle - and it is a serious weakness that the rear seats won't fold down in all models. The boot is well-sized, but there are those few days in the year when the trip to Ikea becomes a deep yearning.
The car copes very well with rough surfaces and the bumps that have left my teeth juddering in lesser marques. The styling cues are pretty conservative, but have been taken largely from the very impressive S-Class and the cabin has real touches of quality with some very classy finishes. The eight-inch touchscreen pad on the dash is relatively easy to use.
The new C-Class is now a hefty-adult lighter in overall weight, which has paid off in startling good emissions and consumption, but the latter is never as good as the nearly 70mpg claimed. Mercedes say, however, that it is 20pc more efficient. The diesel I was driving has been carried over and can be rather noisy. It needs replacing. Even on the motorway, the drone meant that we had to adjust the sound on the radio a number of times. Hardly the stuff that the premium-sector owner wants to be doing!
Yet, my partner remarked how much I seemed to be enjoying the car. In truth, it is so easy to drive that you almost forget you are doing it and, in fact, it caused us to go past our M50 turn-off. Much of this is down to the seven-speed auto box, which isn't very responsive but is ideal for big road cruising.
The C-Class always has great customer satisfaction with people praising the marque's reliability and build quality. I suppose if you pay that sort of money, you aren't going to whinge. It has also enjoyed good residual and contributes around 20pc of Mercedes sales in Ireland, so it is important that this latest model can really take on the 3 Series Beemer, which has a much younger profile. The C-Class, starting at €37k, is a car for people who value comfort over sportiness. Even the dog loved having his own a/c control in the back.
I think I would have given up if a C-Class was residing at Spray Towers. I want it known that there is life in the old dog yet; and I don't mean Sam.