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Mercedes’ new levels of luxury

PUBLISHED: 10:23 24 June 2014 | UPDATED: 10:23 24 June 2014

Mercedes-Benz C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Exclusive Line, Cavansitblau metallic

Mercedes-Benz C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Exclusive Line, Cavansitblau metallic

press photo, do not use for advertising purposes

The Mercedes-Benz new C-Class saloon aims to replicate the luxury experience found in its flagship S-Class. Iain Dooley drives it

Interior of Mercedes-Benz C250, AMG Line, Avantgarde, Diamantsilber metallicInterior of Mercedes-Benz C250, AMG Line, Avantgarde, Diamantsilber metallic

What’s new?

A ground-up revamp of the popular and affordable compact executive C-Class saloon has boosted quality, refinement and comfort, with Mercedes keen to raise the car’s standing in the fiercely-competitive small premium saloon market.

Not content with styling the car to compliment the flagship S-Class, the C-Class has comparable levels of equipment. Much of it is optional, but the trickle-down effect sees intelligent safety systems and high-end infotainment kit present

Of greater interest to business-users is an engine range with more focus on reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Four-cylinder petrol and diesel units dominate, while diesel-electric hybrid power is also expected to make an appearance.

Mercedes-Benz C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Exclusive Line, Cavansitblau metallicMercedes-Benz C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Exclusive Line, Cavansitblau metallic

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Looks and image.

With Mercedes keen to ramp up the overall ‘premium’ feel of the C-Class, it’s hardly surprisingly it looks a lot like the E and S-Class models. Luxury by association isn’t a bad thing, and the soft curves and uncluttered sheet metal of the C-Class do much to add a welcome sense of occasion.

An important car for Mercedes, buyers want comfort and the cabin is not short of soothing curves and plush trim. Crucially there’s more space then before, too. If you want performance there are models sporting the popular AMG badge.

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Space and practicality.

As you’d expect from a car promising an improved ownership experience, the C-Class is a little bigger in all the right places. Cabin space has been boosted with a longer wheelbase – there should be no complaints from adults in the back.

Cabin storage space is also good, while the option of a split rear seat expands the capacious boot’s potential. It might be a saloon, but the boot can swallow a surprising amount of stuff, while the low load lip ensures heavy or bulky items can be handled with relative ease.

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Behind the wheel.

With the accent on luxury, the driving experience is smooth and refined. The steering wheel and driver’s seat offer ample adjustment, while all-round visibility is good. Steel springs are the default set-up but, in a class first, you can opt for air suspension, which delivers a plush ride akin to the larger S-Class.

Overall economy is better, and the 168bhp C 220 Bluetech diesel is expected to be the key model for business-users. With all cars gaining a driver-selectable driving mode control, switching it to Sport helps boost the car’s agility.

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Value for money.

In the premium executive market the new C-Class is surprisingly good value with generous standard kit – simulated leather upholstery, comprehensive audio system, good list of safety features – along with the promise of modest running costs with the low power diesel.

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Target market.

If you’re not looking for a sporty image, the luxurious and refined C-Class might be for you. Mercedes is keen to tap into the aspirational notion of S-Class ownership, so why not start with its cousin?

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Price: C 220 Bluetech AMG Line, £32,855, auto £34,355 (range from £26,855).

Engine: 2.1-litre, 168bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel.

Transmission: Six-speed manual driving the rear wheels.

Performance: 0-62mph 8.1 seconds, top speed 145mph.

MPG: 70.6 combined.

CO2 emissions: 106g/km.

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