Smooth highway cruiser: Mercedes-Benz C200 road test
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The new Mercedes-Benz C200 sedan looks a lot like its predecessor on the surface, but beneath lie radical changes.
For a start the 2019 C200 has a smaller engine than the previous model, adopting mild hybrid technology to deliver Mercede’s best-selling passenger car a characteristically smooth drive.
The entry-level C200 sedan features the diamond pointed grille that used to feature only on more upmarket variants of the C-Class, and new front lights, but you have to look closely to detect other external refinements.
It does on first blush look like a more expensive variant of the vehicle that has been New Zealand’s top selling luxury sedan since its introduction four years ago. That might explain why the German marque has retained the appearance for this major model facelift.
The previous C200 had a 2-litre four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which has been swapped for a 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine producing 135kW of power and 280Nm of torque.
That is 20Nm less torque than the previous model, but the new EQ Boost system compensates for this.
The 48-volt electrical system with a starter/alternator driven by a belt also charges the system up with recuperated kinetic energy when the vehicle is decelerating.
The EQ Boost system fills the gap before the new engine’s turbocharger reaches it ideal boost pressure, adding an almost instant 10kW and 160Nm to the mix.
The new system also shortens the ratios of the nine-speed automatic transmission, delivering an exceptionally smooth run through the gears.
The C200 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds, which isn’t bad for a medium-sized four door sedan.
It also does it economically, with a claimed combine cycle fuel consumption of just 6.4 litres/100km.
Our test drive returned fuel consumption figure closer to 8 litres/100km, which is still good, given the size and weight of a substantial-sized four-door sedan. The C-Class model’s strength has always been its comfort and ride, and the latest edition delivers both.
On the open road it is quiet and the cabin helps provide the level of experience you would expect from a premium sedan.
The 200C behind the wheel feels agile and there is plenty of feel in the steering to provide a satisfying drive, though this is not a high-performance grand tourer.
It does not encourage the driver to push it to the limit, but rather delivers a high-class comfortable and refined cruising experience.
The test car was fitted with 19-inch AMG 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels which set the car off well, without making the ride too firm.
The car looks good in a colour people usually associate with a model favoured by older and more conservative buyers — obsidian black metallic. However, the black on black quickly shows any dust, dirt or mud. A buyer would have to resist the compulsion to keep the car looking in pristine, showroom-like, condition.
Our test car had a list price of $73,900, with options taking the total price to $87,000 plus on-road costs. Extras included $3700 for the AMG Line package, which includes 19-inch alloy wheels, the diamond grille, black ash wood and aluminium trim, sports seats, sports suspension, and various AMG styling additions.
It costs $1500 for the special metallic paint, and $900 for the seat comfort package, which includes memory function with three settings for seat adjustment, heated front seats.
The C200 provides a stress-free and refined driving experience, something previous models have done so well that the model has helped define the contemporary mainstream Mercedes-Benz sedan experience.
The technology onboard the new C200 marks a new beginning for the brand, as it responds to the need to reduce emissions and make its vehicles more fuel efficient, while retaining that premium driving experience.
Mercedes-Benz C200 Sedan
Price: $87,000 (as tested)
Pros: Smooth and comfortable motorway cruiser
Cons: Expensive extras