The fifth C-Class generation was launched in 2021 and diesel engines are still available, much to the delight of high mileage drivers whom, despite some say, are still around in large numbers. It also caters for those who still resist the SUV trend. We took it to Italy in order to get the real flavor of this 265 hp saloon…
The 300d’s range is 1200 km on a full tank. There’s no need to mentally torture yourself, a diesel car is still the best way to travel across Europe swiftly and reach your holiday destination as quick as possible. Under the bonnet, the 2.0 4-cylinder engine does its job perfectly, being always discreet while pulling strongly to overtake slower vehicles in the Swiss countryside. The 9-speed automatic gearbox is perfect and ideally suited to the engine. It lends itself easily to your driving style, no matter if you want it to be dynamic or… eco-friendly. As is often the case with newer cars, we sometimes noticed a slight hesitation going over crossroads.
I like it
Traveling in a nicely designed saloon is a real pleasure. The AMG line package highlights this C Class nice and restrained curves. Such a contrast compared to the other two German premium brands’s weird and wacky designs ! The 18-inch wheels, Nappa leather sports seats and steering wheel lend even more character to the car, while the rear passengers are cosseted, remaining hidden behind tinted glass. It is undoubtedly a real eye-catcher and our car enjoyed a great success in Italy. By the way, A-Class cars are literally everywhere in the country. Comfort is on the firm side but genuine. Over our 946 km journey, there were few and far between, undermining the pro-electric reasoning that regular breaks are compulsory.
Recent Mercedes interiors display a wide array of screens, much to the delight of technology freaks and geeks. Indeed, it’s possible to quickly find your way around the various menus and display options. As far as we are concerned, once we have selected settings, we leave them apart and never change them. Therefore, the wide range of choices may seem superfluous to some, but they are available would you want to change them. The central screen is decently sized but requires a bit of practice. Even if using some functions implies to take your eyes off the road, it is easily done and gets easier as the days and kilometers go by.
I don’t like it
This pretty AMG styled C300d is pretty low and you have to be careful while negotiating speed bumps. SUV enthusiasts will brag about that as they inevitably find it more comfortable to be perched higher than in an old school saloon. However, on some back mountain roads, we were happy to be behind the wheel of such a compact saloon as it’s still such a great way to get around corners. In the back, space might be at a premium but it’s still decent and our 18 year old daughter never complained about the seat, anyway. Finally, the 455 liter boot volume is not hindered by a battery, unlike hybrids or electric models. Its regular shape makes it pretty useful too.
Why I buy it
We know, SUVs and electric vehicles are constantly being publicized by manufacturers who want to get as much return on their investment as they can. Ad companies are paid to promote them, even if their so-called advantages are remote from reality. On top of that, the motoring press won’t criticize them in any way either, unwilling to bite the hand that feeds it. Nevertheless, what a pleasure it is to sit in a beautiful, comfortable and perfectly finished German diesel saloon. Nothing compares to such a car when it comes to cross Europe swiftly. Even without trying too hard, I just used 5.3 l/ 100 km on average. Any driving enthusiast can only agree that a classic 4-door saloon is still the ideal way to move 4 people about and allow you to have some fun behind the wheel, whenever the opportunity arises. However… are there still many of these around?
Why I don’t buy it
The eternal problem with Mercedes cars is their retailing price! Nothing new here… the C300d is the current top of the range, until the arrival of the C43 and C53 AMG. In AMG guise without any other extra, it starts at more than 60,000 euros. Quite a large sum of money to shell out, even knowing that it will retain a high resale value : lots of people still see a second hand Merc saloon as the perfect way to show off and make sure other people understand they made it… (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)