Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate
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C-Class sedan grows into a family vehicle with a sports-car drive
Mercedes-Benz New Zealand is adding weight - literally - to its all-new C-Class sedan with the launch this week of a wagon version of the vehicle.
The sedan was launched here in August, with about 160 models sold to date, and in dealerships now is the wagon (aka estate), available with the same engines as the sedan.
There has already been interest from Kiwi customers for the estate, Mercedes-Benz NZ's general manager, Ben Giffin, told Driven.
"At the dealer reveal in Germany recently, the reception of the C-Class estate was extremely positive - and we've already had a couple of the estates delivered to customers in Auckland," said Giffin.
He said there were already a dozen presales of the estate and predicted about 80 models would be sold in 2015 - not huge volume for the premium brand but double the number per year of the previous generation wagon.
From launch there is the 200 petrol with a 2-litre, four-cylinder, direct-injection turbocharged engine producing 135kW of power and 300Nm of torque.
Next is the 250 petrol, again with a 2-litre engine but this time pumped up to producing 155kW and 350Nm of torque.
There are also two diesel (or as Mercedes-Benz calls them, BlueTec) estates.
The big daddy is the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder direct-injection, twin-turbocharged 250 model, producing 150Kw of power and 500Nm of torque while the 2-litre diesel (100kW, 300Nm) will be available next year.
Priced from $74,900 for the 200 petrol, and up to $91,400 for the 250 BlueTec, like the C-Class sedan there are packages available for Kiwis to add on.
Standard, though, in the 200 petrol and diesel are 18in alloys, LED headlights and electric front seats, while the 250s are on 18in alloys, have leather seats and the much praised Drive Assistance Package that includes pre-safe braking with pedestrian recognition, and distronic plus.
Although revealed to the Australasian motoring media on Thursday in Melbourne, Driven had an exclusive week-long first drive of the $89,900 petrol 250 estate.
Driven's model had the addition of airmatic suspension kit (a box I'd tick if buying one), plus the surround sound Command package and heads-up display kit, taking the price to $99,370.
The C-Class 250 estate had the power of its engine to perform well at speed, and wasn't so bulky in every day use, such as supermarket carparking.
The packaging may be impressive, but it's the look of the estate that's a standout, with a little more body giving the vehicle a strong road presence.
Though the C-Class sedan has an impressive front bonnet, grille and sculptured side panels, I always thought it needed a wider boot to give it a more aesthetic look.
And voila, with the addition of the length in the rear and the long rear window from the estate, the C-Class has that dominant appeal.
While the sedan is 4686mm long and 1810mm wide, weighing between 1465kg and 1480kg, bumper to bumper the estate is 4702mm long and the same width.
But it gains between 1525kg and 1575kg in its body, and has 1510 litres of maximum room in the boot, 10 litres more than its predecessor.
The load compartment volume behind the rear seats has also increased by five litres to the 490 litres.
And it's those seats that have also gained from a revamp. Instead of a 60:40 split they are 40:20:40, helping with long loads - or just creating a divide between the kids on long trips.
Loading up the boot has become easier, too - a "kick" to the rear bumper electronically opens it (or a hit on the key fob button) and to fold down the rear seats there are two switches just inside the boot.
A flick of these sees the seats fold down fast and simply - no sliding, pushing or struggling with rear seats when you want to load it.
Though the New Zealand market is dominated by SUV/crossovers/soft-roaders, there's no reason to ignore a wagon when it comes to the main family vehicle.
That goes especially for the premium segment which does it so well.
Mercedes' arch nemesis, BMW, does a great job with its 3 Series Touring and Audi is famous for its A3 Avant, especially if you add the quattro package to it.
And on the road the wagon produces more of a sports-car drive rather than the rigidity of SUVs.