Which Mercedes-Benz is best? Here's what we'd buy
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Mercedes-Benz is a brand full of awesome cars, in particular the Mercedes-AMG naming that was renamed back in 2016. We've dealt with our own brand choices before with Toyota and Mazda, but this time we've moved to the European luxury and the Mercedes brand, and our somewhat eclectic mix of DRIVEN experts have chosen a reasonably eclectic representation of themselves.
There is a decent range to choose from, but with budgets unlimited, it's interesting to see what we each chose. With a wide variety of hatches, sedans, wagons, sports, SUVs, coupes, cabriolets and roadsters, hybrids and EVs to choose from, even the Mercedes-Maybach, two-five and seven-seat, the brilliant Mercedes website allows a buyer - or dreamers like us - to configure their own Mercedes right down to wheel and interior colour choice, and export is as a wallpaper or background image for motivation, or just day-dreaming.
So let's kick off and see what our 'so-called' experts would pick with their own money, if given the chance. And be sure to cast you vote for one of our chosen trio, or our options: the SLC compact Roadster, or the Kardashaian's choice of transport, the hulking G-Class. Vote away and the winner will be announced on next week's Zooming with DRIVEN.
Editor, Dean Evans: AMG GT R
I started out thinking what I’d buy from the Mercedes-AMG range: possibly the GLB seven-seater, in the AMG version, though that’s not on sale yet. The GLB 250 is certainly up our family alley. Then I remembered our drive of the AMG GLC 63 S just a few weeks ago. Great, no doubt, but I’d be similarly happy in the $88,600 GLC 200 SUV.
But then it hit me: we have the choice of ‘any’ Mercedes-AMG, so it must be, for me, the Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe. ‘Handcrafted by racers’ is the tagline that already makes me feel part of a special club.
OK, so I probably don’t have the $335,500 price, but nor did I have the $90k for the GLC. With its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, it’s devoid of those garish wings and spoilers I equally pined for in my 20s. OK, maybe just the small one.
Because with three models to choose from, ego would force me into the most powerful GT R (with wing), with 430kW and 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds… very handy for the daily drive.
A would be the dial-a drive mode, four settings from Comfort to Race. Colur choice is harder, because it looks good in all of them. I like the bold green and yellow, but would probably lean towards the traditional Iridium Silver (no cost) but with the matt black 19-inch alloys ($1900 extra). It’s almost be offensive to not option with the matt carbon-fibre trim (another $4900).
Though there are plenty of other options, up to the $17,900 carbon fibre brakes, I can do without the majority of them as all I hear is sound effect of cash registers ringing. And it’s a neat $350,200. Done deal.
Best of all – for this fantasy – the Mercedes Build Your Car configator outputs your car in a high-res wallpaper, so even if you can’t afford the real thing, you can put it up as a hint to the wife. (Potentially a hint at divorce…)
Deputy Editor, David Linklater: EQC
No self-respecting premium carmaker is without an SUV-style Battery Electric Vehicle (EV) right now. They’re each quite different, but for me there’s no question that the Mercedes-Benz EQC is the most polished of the lot.
This is all the more remarkable when you consider that M-B didn’t even start with a clean sheet for the EQC, which is loosely based on the GLC SUV. Very loosely, with only 15 per cent of parts shared, but that does mean it lacks “normal” BEV packaging advantages like a front-trunk (“frunk”) and flat cabin floor.
But it is one sensational BEV all the same. I love the retro-futuristic styling, M-B’s widescreen-digital interior is thematically perfect for such a new-tech machine and the performance/handling combination is perfectly judged for the real-world.
A lot of BEVs feel a bit appliance-like (even the posh ones), but the EQC feels like a real Mercedes-Benz.
It’s pretty good value compared with a GLC 43 (similar acceleration and price), although it’s a very different kind of car of course. The EQC has a relatively small battery compared with its main rivals (80kWh versus 90kWh-plus) but it’s unquestionably the best at extracting maximum real-world range out of it.
The WLTP range is 417km and I would argue that’s very achievable with careful driving. Without trying too hard I’ve had 350km out of the EQC on test.
Mercedes-Benz invented the car and it makes the best premium BEV right now. Makes sense.
Digital Writer, Andrew Sluys: AMG C 63 Estate
For a number of years now, the C63 has been the coolest car in Mercedes’ line-up, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
In New Zealand, you can get the C-Class’ range-topping C63 variant in four guises including sedan, coupe, convertible, and estate. But because wagons are always cooler, I’ve gone for the estate.
Beneath the bonnet of every C63 sits a raucous, twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that’s hand built by AMG’s engineers in Affalterbach, Germany. This stonking lump makes a hefty 349kW in standard form, and then is bumped up to 375kW when opting for the C63 S.
As well as sounding light a thunderstorm-driven orchestra, this engine allows the C63 S wagon to hit 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds before topping out at a limited 250km/h. Unlike a lot of modern performance cars, AMG stuck with a rear-wheel drive layout in the C-Class, meaning that there’s plenty of fun to be had when traction control is turned off (at the track of course).
And then you’ve got the practicality of owning a station wagon. There’s room for kids, dogs, and everything in between back there. You can even transport a handful of spare tyres for the track days that you’re bound to get a little carried away at.
But then, as with any AMG, you’ve got the issue of price. The C-Class range starts at $79,200 for the C 200, jumps to $93,500 for the C 300, jumps again to $129,300 for the C43, and then finishes at $174,600 for the C63 S.
Fully spec’d up with almost every performance and visual option, my C63 ended up at $197,800, which is a lot of money, but this gorgeous blue wagon isn’t a bad way to spend it.