A decade ago, diesel was commonplace. Today it is disposed of gently and carefully. Especially in the professional field, the environment in which he has shone so far. These days, buyers, leasing companies and fleet managers are mostly opting for the most tax-efficient option, and that’s all that comes with a plug these days. The more electric, the better.
But in Stuttgart, the Mercedes teams want to continue to serve everyone. That’s why the latest generation of the C-Class is not only available as a plug-in hybrid version (with petrol or diesel engine) or as a classic petrol version, but also as an “old school” diesel version. Correction: In the case of the diesel with mild hybridization, because in this generation all conventional combustion engines receive a slight electric boost.
Speaking of “classic”: the lines of the C-Class Break hardly differ from those of its predecessor. Particularly in its profile, Mercedes opts for a nod to the previous generation, while the design of the front and rear fits perfectly with the rest of the modern Mercedes range: thinner headlights at the front, a curved bonnet just above and sharper headlight units at the rear. The previous generation’s dynamic design was very popular, so you don’t change a successful team.
Mini S class
The dimensions have been increased to emphasize the difference to the small and very popular CLA Shooting Brake: the C-Class estate is 5 cm longer (4.75 meters), of which 2.5 cm is due to the wheelbase (2. 87 meters). The width has increased by 1 cm (1.82 meters), while this new generation is 7 mm (1.46 meters) lower. This was undoubtedly done to optimize airflow and therefore reduce consumption.
This new C-Class is based on the S-Class’ MRA 2 platform, and while the external similarities between the two models are striking, particularly on the sedan, it’s on the inside that the similarities are most apparent. Thanks to the central touchscreen, of course, which is 9.5 inches in the entry-level class and optionally 11.9 inches. It not only controls the highly networked MBUX infotainment system, but also the air conditioning, as in the S-Class.
At eye level
While we’re not big fans of touchscreen controls, it all seems to be a matter of habit. Even the mini touchpads on the steering wheel, which you use to control both the driving aids and the digital instruments. The latter also measures 10.25 inches as standard and 12.3 inches as an option. The build quality and choice of materials used are good as long as you don’t look down. If we dig a little deeper, this new C-Class Break makes a few mistakes, particularly with plastics cheap. Shame.
The larger dimensions offer a little more space for the front passengers, but mainly benefit the rear passengers. You not only get more shoulder freedom, but also more freedom of movement for your legs. If the trunk of the C-Class Saloon remains the same, that of the Break is 30 liters larger: 490 liters or 1,510 liters with the seat folded down.
Let’s take this famous diesel engine. The C 200 d we tested is a new addition to the diesel range and takes on the role of entry-level. It uses the same 2.0 4-cylinder with mild hybridization as the other diesel engines and develops 163 hp and 380 Nm, the EQ Boost system temporarily provides another 20 hp and 200 Nm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, allowing this C 200 d Break to accelerate to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 226 km/h.
More important for a diesel: Mercedes states an average of 4.7 to 5.4 l/100 km (depending on the expansion stage) and CO2 emissions of 124 to 141 g/km (idem) when it comes to consumption. After a week of testing, we were still able to record a respectable consumption of 5.7 l/100 km and we were particularly impressed by the range: we hadn’t seen more than 1000 km in these electric times for a long time.
Of course, the typical sound of a 4-cylinder diesel took some getting used to, but Mercedes did its best to isolate it as much as possible. Worth mentioning is the integration of the mild hybrid drive train, which works smoothly in almost all situations in the C 200 d. With a relaxed driving style, the 9G-Tronic is just as good; with a sportier driving style, it will be slightly less alert.
The behavior also depends on the selected options. Air suspension on the rear axle is only available on plug-in hybrids, but adaptive damping and sports suspension are available again. New to the options list is a steerable rear axle. “Our” test C 200 d with the sports suspension in combination with 19-inch rims did not offer the desired driving comfort. We noticed that when we first met the new C-Class, so it’s better to do without this sports suspension. Apart from that, this station wagon is quite dynamic and its front axle selective enough to ensure the necessary driving pleasure.
For the sedan, Mercedes is charging 44,528 euros for this C 200 d (France: 49,400 euros), for the Stuttgart Break 45,980 euros (France: 50,900 euros). With the necessary options, the final bill is even higher: Our test car was equipped with almost 17,000 euros in extras! But it’s the same with the competition. A BMW 318d Touring with an automatic starts at €41,250 (France: €45,500) before reaching into the options list, and an Audi A4 Avant 35 TDI starts at €43,400 (€43,400). A Volvo V60 in the B4 mild hybrid version also costs 47,350 euros (France: 55,000 euros), but the Swede’s diesel engine is slightly more powerful.
Even if the diesel price at the pump is higher, this Mercedes C 200 has its qualities. For example its low consumption and its generous autonomy which, combined with the station wagon format, make it a very pleasant road car. However, we have to keep our hands off the sports suspension and the AMG options…