Historically, the BMW 3 Series has always been touted as “The Drivers Car”. Moment someone said, they love driving, they love when the torque kicks in or they love when the car holds the line while cornering, we knew, what to recommend to them, the undisputed choice was the 3. Then we drove the Jaguar XE. That wild cat had phenomenal handling and was an absolute leech when it came to holding the line, and apart from phenomenal handling, had exclusivity to go for it. Post our review, we crowned the Jaguar XE, undisputed king of handling.
Mercedes-Benz always had the C250D in their C Class line-up as an able answer to these two. While it was good, it did miss out on some goodies, like the centre console screen, felt pretty much after market, it missed on few comfort creature features too. Then as it was anywaystime to do a product features update, some where the blokes at Mercedes thought, how about we shake up the segment. So while the product was getting updated, they dropped the C250D from their line up. And then they got this- the C300D. Then they drank a cup of coffee at Starbucks and thought to themselves, how do we shake up the segment further? While having that sip of the coffee, they wrapped the C300D then with the AMG Line, which now apart from having more power, thanks to the new 2.0 litre engine, also had a more sportier stance. And probably said to themselves, let the party begin.
But has the party begun? We are about to find out.
But before that, let us try answering the question, for whom is this C300D AMG Line?
You always wanted a drivers’ car. Something that is absolute fun to drive, that goes fast, not only on straights but on corners too.Apart from being fun to drive, your other two requirements were, the car should carry you and your family in utmost comfort and luxury and the car should look sporty yet regal.
If you are this you, then we think, the C300D AMG Line, is the perfect answer for you. Why are we saying so, lets get to the car.
Psst Psst, if you are someone, who does not want to see in how much time, the C dashes from 0-100, or does not want your car to be sporty, but wants the car to be purely elegant, then Mercedes-Benz also offers the C Class in the C220D and the C200 guise, both being now BSVI Compliant, and few features misses here and there over the C300D that you see here.
Now before we see why the C300D is perfect for you,let’s understand, why for Mercedes-Benz, the C Class has always been an important car. For that, let’s go back in time.
As the direct predecessor of today's C-Class the models 190 and 190 E (201 model series) presented in November 1982 unlocked a new market segment for Mercedes-Benz and at the same time marked the start of a major product initiative of the brand. Since then the C-Class has continued its success story marked by innovations in three more generations – the 202 model series (1993 to 2000), 203 (2000 to 2007) and 204 (since 2007). The next generation of the C-Class (205 model series) celebrates its debut in 2014 and leads this tradition into the future.
Introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the 190 (W201) range, the C-Class was the smallest model in the marque's line-up until the W168 A-Class arrived in 1997. The C-Class built at Mercedes-Benz factories in Sindelfingen and Bremen, Germany as well as numerous satellite factories in other countries. The first C-Class (W202) sedan produced on 1 June 1993 and the opening of the second generation (W203) rolled off the assembly line on 18 July 2000. The C-Class has been available with a 4Matic (i.e., four-wheel drive) option since 2002. The third generation (W204) was launched in 2007 while the latest generation C-Class (W205) came out in 2014.
What we are driving, is the updated version of the W205, which was launched in India late last year.
Now shall we look at the car to see, how does it fit your bill of something that is fast, fun to drive, still comfortable and absolutely luxurious on the inside.
Design Language - Exteriors
The first thing that strikes to you when you look at the Mercedes-Benz C300D, is how Mercedes-Benz has managed to make the car look sporty yet elegant. What I particularly liked about the design language was the fact that the designers didn’t go way to overboard in adding sporty flair. Had they done that, they would have lost the very essence of the car- being regal.
The front is flanked by a single slat grille with the three pointed star logo in the centre. The headlights adorn one LED daytime running light, with Mercedes-Benz patented Auto Multi Beam LED Headlights
Interestingly on the lower specked C220D and the C200, the headlamp architecture gets more complex detailing. While they may look may look complex, they are just simple LED lights, however its the C300D, which gets more advanced lighting system, which has the capabilities of lighting up the road to almost 650 meters ahead.
The AMG body styling consists of AMG front apron with slightly more sporty air intakes and chrome trim element. AMG diffuser-look rear apron with insert in black and AMG side sill panels. Diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome with integrated Mercedes star and single louvre in matt iridium silver with chrome insert, finish the front look.
Moving to the side profile, the side profile and the overall silhouette remains more or less the same with the update. The only change which you'd notice on this particular car are the 18-inch 5-spoke AMG light weight alloys, they add in to the dash of sportiness. These AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels are painted in titanium grey with a burnished aluminium finish look.
Move to the rear, the taillights though are all LED, have been given a bit angular design. I personally, loved the earlier design elements of the pre-facelift variant. However, I am confident, that with time, this C shaped illuminating tail lights, will grow on you. Overall, the rear profile is reminiscent of the bigger Mercs from the family and that influence is apparent. The Three pointed star is placed right in centre of the rear profile which'll make sure that you won't mistake it for anything else but a Mercedes-Benz. Open the boot lid and you realise that like any Mercedes-Benz car on offer today, the space saver tire is strapped in the boot, leaving the boot space well, virtually useless. While its good to be in this situation when you are tottering around the city without luggage, but moment a family trip comes up, well you have two options, either leave the space saver tire home or your luggage. Well the chances are, that you will keep the space saver tire home, so here’s some useful information. Mercedes claims, that in an event of puncture, you can travel 80 kms before the tire goes completely flat at speeds not exceeding 60 kmph. While, this may look ok, but given Indian road conditions, we would definitely not recommend leaving the space saver tire home and venturing out. So in our opinion, its kind of a bummer, that Mercedes-Benz is yet not been able to figure out a solution for this problem.
Nevertheless, let’s step inside the car, shall we.
Design Language- Interiors
The doors open and close in three-stage action aiding better ingress or egress. The moment you close the door, you feel secure and safe inside this German.
The highlights of the AMG Line includeupholstery in Artico man-made leather and Dinamica microfibre, the multifunction sports flat-bottom steering wheel and the AMG sports pedals. The wood grain is now ‘open pore’ or unvarnished, which is less prone to scratching and looks a bit more classier. The instrument cluster in our test car though was analogue, but Mercedes has updated the car and now the August production would sport digital centre display.This is something, the car should have always come with. But we are happy, finally Mercedes heard us and updated the C. The all new digital display would be 12.5 inch in size.
Mercedes now offers a wide-screen 10.25-inch infotainment screen as standard on the C-class now, and you no longer have to contend with the previous car’s small, tacked on unit that felt like an afterthought. This one is big, crisp and high on resolution, and uses the latest 5.5 version of the COMAND interface from the E-class and the face-lifted S-class. In ad on list, now the C300D will also get wireless charging facility for your smart phone and that also bringing in wireless CarPlay capabilities to the car. A good thing to have for sure. To add on to this, the feature list on the C is pretty impressive. The C comes with 64 colour ambient lighting option, 7 airbags, ESP, EBD and ABS as standard, Pre-Safe enabled seatbelt’s, cruise control, auto wipers, auto intensity multi beam headlights, and a huge panoramic sunroof, amongst others.
Apart from the screen, the steering wheel is also a direct lift now from the updated S Class, which gets touch pads to control the UI in the car and has electronic adjustments for reach and rake. Pretty Neat.
Ring the word Mercedes-Benz in your mind and the first thing that comes to your mind is luxury and comfort. While this C300D might have got sporty, it has not forgotten its basics. This is exactly where the C300D or even the entire line up in the C, trumps over its competition. When it comes to luxury and eye for details, the C wins the case hands down. The front seats are supremely comfortable and offer right amount of lumbar and back support. They also get the electronically managed thigh extenders, which add in to your comfort levels. Both the driver and co-driver seats come with memory functions and the seats are electronically adjustable.
Step into the rear, and what you will love is the sense of roominess this car comes with, thanks to the all glassroof. Seats as expected are comfortable and you get pretty decent amount of legroom, headroom and knee room to travel long distances in comfort. The leather seats are finished in Tan Colour which again is exclusive tothe AMG Line. There is an automated rear window blinder, with controls at the front and each side window gets manual blinders to get the privacy mode on.
In Car Entertainment
The C300D’s highlight has to be the all new and crisp 10.25 inch screen. While it is not a touch screen, it is super sharp and has HD clarity. While the E gets the Burmeister setup, the C does with high fidelity 8 speaker setup. The sound quality from the setup is decent enough to satisfy your sound buds. While it may not be exciting as the harmon Kardon of the world, but it is not a let down either. The bass sounds deeper, and the mids and lows sound muffled, if you increase the volume.
The COMMAND 5.5, the latest version is easy to operate and can be operated through the rotary knob on the centre console, or the touch pad above it or the touch pad on the steering wheel.
Now lets get behind the drivers seat to see how this C300D drives
Performance- Engine and Gearbox
The C300D comes with the new 2.0 litre OM654 Diesel engine which churns out, 245 hp and 500 NM of torque, matted to a 9 speed9 G Tronic gearbox. As mentioned earlier somewhere, the entire range of the C Class now is BSVI compliant, which is more environmentally friendly. In the 220D spec, the C produces 194 hp and in the 200 spec the engine churns out 184 hp ps power. Keep the revs below 2000 rpm and this engine is super silent, its only post 2000 mark that the engine gets vocal.Undoubtedly the Audi A4 is the segment leader when it comes to super silent diesels. While the engine may get vocal above 2000 rpm, it hardly matters, as the car pulls away like a rocket, which brings in wide grin on your face. Let me think, when was the last time I grinned, well it was when I was behind the wheel of a 530D. Mercedes Benz claims, a 0-100 kmph time to be 5.9 seconds, which I simply don’t deny. Now that’s a proper 3.0 litre category performance.
Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability
Mercedes-Benz offers the C300D with adaptive suspensions in India, though without air suspension setup as it comes in the international market. The suspension is setup on a stiffer mode rightfully so and the car comes with 5 different driving modes- Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. Through this modes you can alter the steering inputs, the engine power inputs and the suspension setup.
No points for guessing that the Eco mode is more tuned towards un-spirited driving. The throttle inputs becomes extremely lethargic, the steering feels lighter and the car simply feels unsporty. Comfort mode, softens the suspension, however not to the tune of what I would have loved. Those occasional thuds did filter in the cabin and the car still felt stiffer.
Shift to the Sport Mode, more so the Sport+ Mode, and the beast awakens. It feels as if you have awakened a sleeping cheetah, which has now spotted a target and is ready to pounce. The power delivery comes in really early. There is a surge of power which hits you, in your face and the car leaps forward with aggressive agility. However, a let down to this package was the steering response. I felt the steering was unnaturally heavy, which robbed the car of its dynamic capabilities.
Coming to the handling, being a rear wheel drive and having dynamic dampers, the car handles really well. We did take some sharp turn and corners in triple digit speeds, not once did the car loose its line. Show her a fast corner and the car turns in with agility, without sweating a breath. The body control is good as well, hence ensuring that while you are having fun behind the wheel, the other occupants are not tossed around.
Does the car always howl you to go faster and not be at home in the city traffic? Well no, shift to the comfort mode and the car would be happy to amble around the city traffic without any issues. The gearbox is smart enough to keep the right gears selected for you at all times so that the car doesn’t falter in closing in those gaps. Yes undeniably the C300D is built for the highways, but it feels equally at home in the city traffic too.
Overall, the new engine in this 300D spec, is a vast improvement over the C250D. While it is more powerful, it is greener too, owing to BSVI norms. Where the earlier C wasn’t as exciting to be behind the wheel, this one changes those thoughts. It rides well, even though it is specked with 18 inch wheels, is comfortable place to be and has enough gadgetry to keep you occupied, should you be stuck at a signal for a long time.
We started with a question, has the party begun? Well, the C300D AMG Line, strikes all the chords right. It for now is the most powerful diesel car in its segment. Is sportier, yet elegant. And being a Mercedes-Benz, its comfortable and luxurious on the inside.
Sure the artificially induced heavy steering wheel, robs some of the fun behind the wheel, but the way this car darts when it is shown an open tarmac is phenomenal.
So for that you, who wanted a car to be sporty, elegant, comfortable, fun to drive, and luxurious in one go, we have found the perfect C for you to C at the nearest Mercedes-Benz showroom- the C300D- AMG Line.