Business Cornwall’s Morveth Ward has been trying out the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Here’s what he thought
Mercedes-Benz of Truro has what must be the best showroom in Cornwall with fantastic facilities. They even have a meeting room where customers can work or entertain their clients.
I’ve typically been quite pessimistic and critical when looking at this type of executive car under the assumption that there are a lot of cheaper alternatives that tick much of the same boxes on paper.
But that’s the thing, this is no longer the case, the new C-Class range starts from only a relatively small amount more than the Ford Mondeo! Is this something that needs to be dispelled, are there too many business people assuming that Mercedes-Benz is out of there price range or an unjustified extra spend.
The car I test drove was the C250 BlueTECH AMG Line which was very nicely finished and looked striking in white sat on the 19” multi-spoke alloys. The softer, cleaner lines make for a slightly less aggressive looking car when compared to the predecessor C-Class but it now feels more apt and looks more modern, as you’d expect.
For some it may be a little ostentatious. However, by the time I arrived at home on the farm, the car was lagged in mud which I thought created a good image and harped back to the day where people were buying spray-on mud for their Chelsea Tractor.
The cockpit of this car was what really did it for me, I’m often very disappointed by modern uninspiring car interiors. The luxurious interior is the best I’ve seen in a modern car for a long time and I gave it a thorough test, travelling around 500 miles in two days.
It just makes long journeys so much less daunting and labourious, in fact on the way back from Bath heading to Exeter Racecourse Conference Centre I was actually looking forward to the journey. Everything is just exactly where you want it, down to the cup holders, seating position arm rests and cubby holes etc.
I’m 6ft 4” and I had plenty of room in every respect. This model came with black ash wood finishing on the dash and door cards together with red leather and ambient lighting. Many of the functions including radio and navigation are controlled through a tablet-style screen using a touch pad or rotary control situated on the centre consol. They do take a little bit of familiarisation to work efficiently but it’s like anything, practice makes perfect. It’s extremely rare that I say this about a modern car but this has heart and soul, something which is devoid in most comparable. Most of this is how the interior and drive makes you feel.
More generally the equipment is also brilliant including LED lights with cornering function and high-beam assist so you’re not blinding fellow drivers on Cornish B roads or constantly flicking between main beam and dip.
The handling and performance is strong too. The power delivery isn’t aggressive and I wouldn’t say it’s particularly fun to drive (I will have to wait for the C63 V8 AMG next year for that) but it’s quick enough and the delivery is most importantly, effortless.
The handling is flat and there are very good levels of grip. However there was nothing that particularly enticed me into driving this car hard, I actually found myself having the agility mode set to Comfort most of the time, despite all intentions to exploit Sport+ mode. In this mode the luxurious feel is furthered by the drive where the air suspension works wonders in ironing out any uneven ground and the smooth 7 speed automatic gearbox changes gear so seamlessly that you barely hear a change in engine note.
The fuel consumption is decent, not when compared to unrealistic claimed figures which are invariably optimistic no matter what the manufacturer (they’re all doing it), but this is a 153 mph (claimed) car that was returning 50 mpg for me in ordinary driving. That’s good and with low C02 emissions you can expect lower company car tax too.
If you spend a lot of time travelling in a car then there are few better cockpits than a new C-Class and with competitive offers for business this indulgence can come at an affordable price. If you’re from west Cornwall like me, it will make London no longer feel like a cross-continent Top Gear style expedition, but more like a saunter across the Tamar.
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