Mercedes Benz C220d - C Command
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
The Mercedes Benz C class has always been the benchmark player in the segment it plays its cards in. It has always been the thing which almost every car manufacturer in its competitions looks up to before pushing theirs into the market. Although this segment has been more or less conquered by the BMW 3 series worldwide, it was the C that started it all here in India, and it has ever since been the same.
Here we are in the year 2019, and Mercedes Benz has played its chance in the game of Executive Luxury Top Trumps with the brand new C class. The one we have here is the C220d (as the new Mercedes Benz nomenclature suggests) which is powered by the legendary 2-litre Turbocharged diesel injection engine producing 194 bhp and 400 Nms of torque channelled via a 9G Tronic gearbox with quick shifting single clutch system to the rear wheels. The gearbox's top 3 ratios ensure better fuel economy over long highway runs.
From a standstill, fitted with Continental ContiSportContact Medium Compound tyres, the C220d does a sprint from 0-100 kmph just a shy under 7 seconds, which is respectable and quicker than any car in its competition. This can be simply achieved by selecting Sport+ Mode on the dynamic selector which switches the ABS to a more snappier and Traction Control to half its settings. The braking is done via a double channel brake distribution system which ensures more anchoring power. Mercedes have thrown in a new set of alloy wheels as well which look pretty great and also help cool down the brakes with larger air vent-able area around.
On the Outside
The Designo Cardinal Red shade on our car is an optional extra but it looks outstanding, the car is painted golden before it is painted red, hence it looks lustrous under the summer sun. There are little details like the Mercedes moniker on the front windscreen, brushed aluminium lines across the body and sharp creases which accentuate the muscle power under the bonnet. The shut lines are perfect, the thud sound of the doors and fit and finish of everything that you look at on the outside is absolutely impeccable
The new C class looks majorly unchanged, it is a mere evolutionary facelift. New headlights with 6 barrel LED reflectors to throw light in every dark spot on the road, the C300d gets a brighter and technologically advanced LED light setup but it is restricted to the AMG line trim in India only and does not come even as an option in the C220d. There are a new set of tail lamps featuring the C shaped stop lamp and brighter illumination. On the personal note, I did like the pattern on the previous generation of the C class as it gave a more S class appeal but this looks more modern and also makes the C class more recognizable in the Mercedes Benz's luxury car line up.
The moment you get inside the C, you will be greeted by oodles of leather, wood and brushed aluminium trim. Even before taking the throne you'll be impressed by the quality of everything on the inside. The doors are heavy and have the optional yacht wood board trim on the door panel which looks absolutely stunning. The cushioned door pads and the illuminated steel plate throbs the Mercedes Benz moniker as you enter, a visual treat especially in the dark hours. The front seats are 8 way adjustable and have ample of back, shoulder and under-thigh support. There are extendable waist supports which make sure that you do not toss around while taking the corners at high speeds.
The Dashboard is all a lift off from the previous generation minus a few bits that have been upgraded, starting with the 10.25-inch multimedia interface which now offers the updated version of Mercedes Benz's COMMAND system. It has more options, the data is all logically laid out and it doesn't confuse you like it did in the previous generations. There are 64 colour options for the interior ambient lighting just like the Mercedes E class. Lengths of unlacquered wood with metal inlays make the cabin look richer like you have spent your money on a car a segment above. The triple aeronautical style air-conditioning vents, the floating centre console and the no gear lever in the centre design look top drawer indeed.
At night, the interior ambient lighting illuminates from a lot of corners of the cabin and with the 64 colour option you can either turn it into a moving spa with the violets and pinks to a more aggressive aircraft cockpit with the greens and reds, I love it! There is light absolutely everywhere in the cabin, although the interior is all in black leather, you would hardly lose anything in the dark. The visibility around the cabin is brilliant because of the large glass area, and the throw of the headlight is pretty generous, makes it very comfortable driving the car in dark conditions over longer hours.
The back seat is the real trump card for the Mercedes C class, it is one of the best back seats in the business. The recline angle to start off with is pretty amazing, although you cannot recline it any further. The back and under-thigh support is pretty generous as well as is the knee room. For a person of my size, I am 5 feet 8 inches tall, it is a very pleasant space to be in. The roof is tall enough to accommodate passengers with height north of 6 feet. Mercedes Benz could have done a separate temperature control for the rear passengers as it is a standard feature available across the cars it is pitted against.
The new C class now is being offered with a BSVI engine as standard. With newer emission norms kicking in, Mercedes Benz has a first movers advantage and what an engine it is. It is very smooth in acceleration you barely hear any noise filtering inside the cabin as there is a good amount of sound insulation material all around. The steering, although an electro-hydraulic unit, gives a fair amount of feedback from the road and it weighs up significantly as you cross triple-digit speeds.
The suspension system is robust and does take most of the potholes on the roads with ease at high speeds, but at slower pace the shudders do filter through a little, this is mostly due to the car's 2.1 tonne weight which is the most of all the cars in the segment. The struts are standard MacPherson with double wishbone and active mounts for better weight concentration during hard cornering. The car stays flat at highway speeds and it does feel like a mini S class while cruising, and that is high praise to be honest!
Switch the car to Sport+ mode and it become a little tail happy as the Traction control eases out a bit and allows a bit of slip through the corners, not the kind of slip that cannot be control though. It is a treat to drive this car at full chat and you will be pleased at how rewarding the feedback can be from the mechanical setup of this machine.
The Mercedes Benz C220d really feels a class above the rest, may it be in the way it looks or it feels from the inside. There are a lot of updates made the units sold worldwide like the full LCD instrument cluster and the option of an AMG variant on the base cars as well, which is currently just confined to the C300d. But, that said, it still holds its value pretty high and is one of the most robust cars being sold in the country, no wonder it is so popular amongst the Indian executive luxury buyer. The silhouette of the S class and comforts of the cars a segment above it really makes a lot of sense at the price point. If you don't prioritize high performance and what something more stately and frugal, stick to the C220d, else inflate your budget for the C300d. They are amazing cars. Period.