We recently drove the newest addition to the range, the C250d, a more powerful version of the C-Class. Does it manage to justify the additional price and what more does it bring to the table? We found out.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the youngest in its segment in terms of generation-age and has proven to be a successful model in India. The impressive interiors and a sophisticated exterior design along with generous space have ensured consistent demand for the C-Class. Now with the C250d, the company seems to be targeting people who prefer driving to being chauffeured around.
Design & Cabin
The C250 is similar to the lesser powerful C220d in terms of design, except for the 'C250d' badging on the bootlid. No changes on the car isn't a bad thing since the C-Class still looks fresh and more importantly premium. The resemblance with the larger S-Class is undeniable and helps add a more stately stance to the C-Class. The clean design is bound to find acceptance by those that prefer subtlety over sportiness.
Inside the cabin, things are similar to the c220D, except for the update to the navigation system. No change in the case of the C-Class is a good thing since it's still got the best-looking and most upmarket cabin in its segment. There isn't an edge or corner that looks dated or less-attended to in terms of attention to detail. The chrome circular AC vents with a line of aircraft-style buttons on with the background of a premium wooden finish surface on the centre console make the cabin a special place one can sit in and admire for a long time. Being a Mercedes-Benz, it also comes with an analogue clock, that just adds a dash of richness and legacy to the cabin. Only thing I didn't like much was what I don't like in all other Mercedes-Benz models that have it – the centre console screen, which seems like a tablet stuck onto the top of the dashboard.
Beyond that, space at the front and rear is good and so is the headroom. Front seats are comfortable and offer good side and back support and the rear leg-room should be enough for taller occupants too and the under-thigh support too is decent. The panoramic sunroof offers a brilliant view of the sky, provided you are in a place with unpolluted skies. Material choice and overall quality inside the cabin and outside it is largely unquestionable and undoubtedly way ahead of its competitors.
Despite the impressive design, cabin and features, the real reason anyone would buy the C250d is the engine. The C250d uses the same engine from the C220d, a 2.1 L 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine. However, in the C250d, this engine uses twin-turbochargers, enabling it to produce 205 hp and 500 Nm of torque in comparison with the 170 hp and 400 Nm torque of the C220d. That's not all though as the more powerful motor is mated to the company's 9G-Tronic 9-speed gearbox.
The extra power makes its presence felt the moment you step onto the throttle with a bit of enthusiasm. At low revs, there is no perceivable turbo-lag and acceleration is impressive in the mid-range. The additional power is put to the road in a more efficient manner due to the 9-speed gearbox with its close ratios. We recorded a fastest 0-100 km/h time of 7.0 seconds on a hand-held GPS device. One can also select various driving modes, something standard in most cars in this segment today. What I found a bit frustrating was that even in Sport + mode, the transmission will not let you hold onto a gear, even when shifting manually via the paddles.
Where the C250d misses out a bit is its overall character, which is soft and inclined towards comfort. The handling is sure-footed but being on the softer side, there is noticeable body-roll through high-speed corners. At high-speeds on the highways, the suspension feels a bit spongy and coupled up with the light steering-wheel, the car doesn't inspire confidence in the driver as much as a BMW 3 Series would. Also, the car doesn't feel in its element, when exposed to a series of quick turns.
At slow speed, ride-quality is good and the cabin remains largely insulated from road undulations. IN a nutshell, the C250d strikes a good balance between performance, comfort and luxury with a higher inclination towards comfort and straight-line performance.
The C250d retains everything that's good about the C-Class but adds a topping of performance with the engine and gearbox. At Rs 44.4 lakh, ex-showroom, Pune, the C250d is about Rs 5 lakh more expensive than the less-powerful C220d. The question to be answered then is does the C250d justify the premium it commands? The answer is a resounding yes if you're someone who loves to drive on your own but want a car that offers the best possible comfort and opulence in its class. Even if you're driven through the week and prefer driving on weekends, the C250d should make for an interesting companion.
On the other hand, if you're someone who primarily gets chauffeured around, sticking to the C220d makes more sense. Both ways, you get an uncompromising experience of the brilliant cabin of the C-Class.