The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

Caroline drives the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon!

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the icons of the Mercedes-Benz range. It has been endearing buyers of compact executive saloons for over two decades now. Despite an onslaught of new SUVs, saloons remain popular in Ireland and the C-Class is still one of the most desirable.

The current generation of the C-Class Merc debuted in 2014. It quickly gained notoriety for its interior elegance and comfort. Then in 2019, it was time for an update. And that’s what we have here – the latest compact Benz saloon ready to take on an executive car park crammed with premium German saloon metal. Testing the mettle of the C-Class for sure, but even in 2020 there’s still plenty of reasons to check out the Benz. 

What’s new for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Pricing for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon starts from €41,320 for a C180 Avantgarde petrol edition. The latest revamp includes new engines, equipment and trim elements to keep it at the races against key rivals like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. The C-class styling makeover is slim in that all the elegant, compact saloon proportions are retained but with some new trim elements, alloy wheels and headlight/rear light design. 

Available in the classic Avantgarde trim or the sportier AMG Line, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class oozes class and prestige. AMG Line models get standard fit 18” alloys, more aggressive bumpers and a stunning diamond radiator grille with chrome pins. LED headlights come as standard. The C-Class knows how to make an entrance and won’t let you down!

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
The interior of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

Inside the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The cabin of the C-Class is very plush and luxurious with beautiful soft touch materials and design elements. Details like the circular air vents and open pore black ash wood trim add sophistication. The C-Class range gets a welcome technology upgrade in that you can now opt for a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. The 10.25 inch screen as part of the Advantage pack is definitely worth considering (€3,417) as it looks a lot more premium and at home than the standard 7” screen. There is also a new multifunction steering wheel with touch-control buttons that respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone.

These changes give a bit more modernity to the cabin of the C-Class. It’s certainly feeling more 2020 in here. But competition is stiff with a recently revamped A4 and 3 Series also dripping in quality materials and the latest technology features. All three rival compact executive saloons have a different vibe inside. The C-Class is classic Mercedes with a contemporary twist perfect for a stylish junior executive. 

In terms of space, the C-Class Saloon will seat five. However, the rear bench is best suited to two passengers rather than three because of the large ‘hump’ in the middle housing the transmission tunnel. The boot is a competitive 480 litres and the boot lid lifts electronically from a button on the key or a switch in the cabin. Classy vibes!

For buyers looking for more space, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate is a good buy. It offers stylish looks in the body of an estate car with a large and practical square boot.

What are my options?

There are plenty of nice features to make your C-Class feel a little bit special. Leather upholstery certainly helps and that comes as standard. There’s also cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, keyless start and 17” alloys on Avantgarde models. The AMG Line models are a bit more expensive to buy but add sports pedals, 18” alloys and AMG bodystyling. They certainly improve the kerb appeal of this C-Class model.

Petrol and diesel engines are the main feature of the C-Class range in 2020. Engine options include a 1.6-litre petrol (C180), 2.0-litre petrol (C300), 1.6-litre diesel (C200d) and 2.0-litre diesel (C220d), as well as some sportier variants.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon has been updated for 2019
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines for 2020

New Mercedes-Benz C200 engine – any good?

One of the most exciting additions to the new C-Class range is the C200 now with ‘EQ Boost’. It’s a new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine for Mercedes-Benz that uses mild hybrid technology. This is a big trend for manufacturers now across the industry, with the aim to bring down C02 emissions and boost efficiency. A 48 volt on-board electrical system with a belt-driven starter/alternator gives the car a boost in performance and efficiency. The power output is a healthy 184hp and 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in just 7.7 seconds.

We found the new C200 to deliver smooth power through the nine speed automatic gearbox during our test drive. The car was refined at a cruise though when you ask it to work hard quickly, it does get a bit noisier. Over a week of driving the C200 averaged fuel consumption at 8.4l/100km. Motor tax is €390 per year for this model. This shows that in this segment there is still a space for diesel, which would easily offer superior economy for high mileage drivers.

On the road in the C-Class 

My test car featured Dynamic Body Control that alters suspension damping characteristics in three stages. The damping characteristics are tuned more tautly in the two stages “Sport” and “Sport+”. The “Comfort” mode is more comfortably tuned, unevenness is levelled out better and road roar and tyre vibration characteristics are improved. There’s also a Sports Direct-Steer system for more agile and smooth handling.

On the road, the C-Class Saloon glides along the tarmac effortlessly offering a top class comfortable and serene drive. It offers rear wheel drive agility and is flexible through corners, though the sensations reaching the rim are not overtly sporty. I recently drove the Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupé, but I really like the C200 set-up in the Saloon. 

There may be a squeeze on saloons from SUVs but there is likely to always be a market for prestigious, premium saloons like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This facelift has improved and modernised the interior even more, so that the car still feels current. This is a fine luxury motor for cruising and Mercedes-Benz has successfully packaged the essence of the brand in the C-Class, making it a great entry point into the premium saloon market. 

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
Style and comfort in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz C200 Saloon AMG Line Automatic
Price:
€48,119 (Range from €41,320)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
184 hp
Torque: 280 Nm
0-100km/h:  
7.7 seconds
Top speed: 239 km/h
Fuel economy:
6.0-6.3l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
144g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year