2014 Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueTec review
Mark Higgins’ first drive 2014 Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueTec review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
In a nutshell All new inside and out, the new C-class raises the bar even higher for the brand.
Practical Motoring Says The new Mercedes C-class has big shoes to fill, given the success of the top-selling previous generation and this all-new model keeps the brand at the front of the segment… by some margin.
ALL-NEW INSIDE and out, the new C-Class doesn’t render the previous model aesthetically obsolete. It’s bigger than its predecessor with an 80mm wheelbase increase to 2840mm, the length has grown by 95mm to 4686mm and at 1810mm, and it’s 40mm wider.
A large three-pointed star dominates the two-bar grille and three large rectangular vents sit below the bumper fascia with the aero-formed LED headlights incorporating the turn signals and daytime running lights. An upper bodyline runs from the edge of the headlights to the rear guard and a lower line between the guards, to give the C-class a distinctive multi-dimensional profile. The boot lid is short, the bonnet long and the roof slightly domed. Around the back are large tail lamps and from every angle, it’s a handsome car with a real presence.
The increased size translates into a more spacious cabin that looks and feels like a baby S-class. Stylish, ergonomic, flawlessly finished and a very nice place to be. At the centre of leather-look topped dash is the free-standing, 21mm display screen for the Command system which includes the satnav, reversing camera, Digital TV and radio, plus the superb audio system, phone controls, Bluetooth, vehicle settings and even a digital owners manual, which saves around 350 pages of the printed version and half a kilo in weight.
Below that are three circular air vents with metallic surrounds that sit atop of the swoopy timber look console that houses the cupholders, HVAC controls, Command system touchpad, driving mode selector and audio controls. No gearlever though, that’s on the right side of the steering column and the switchgear for the windows and exterior mirrors are mounted on the armrest, with the electric seat switches on the door panel.
The instrument binnacle’s two circular shrouds house the analogue speedo and tachometer with the multifunction display nestled between. Below are digital gauges for fuel and temperature. There’s also a heads up display for the speedo. The leather flat-bottomed steering wheel, with the paddle shifts, cruise control and audio controls is electronically adjustable with a broad arc and long reach.
The front seats (heated, with electric operation and memory) are exceptionally comfortable and supportive. Rear seat passengers don’t feel to cheated with ample leg, shoulder room, though the full-length sunroof does rob a bit of headroom. The ‘Benz has good all round visibility, getting used to the thick front pillars takes some time, especially at roundabouts and T-intersections.
Until the AMG63 replacement arrives, the 2.1-litre turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder diesel is the most powerful in the C-Class lineup and in many ways renders the V8 engine obsolete. While you miss out on the V8 snarl, its quiet and refined for a diesel and packs an impressive 150kW at 3800 rpm with 500Nm of torque from 1600-1800rpm that thrusts the 1595kg C250 Bluetec to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds, drinking just 6.2 L/100km in our time with the car. The seven-speed auto, with steering wheel-mounted, (not column) shift paddles, delivers seamless changes and depending on which driving mode you’re in, delivers soft or rapid-fire gearshifts.
There are five preconfigured drive modes: Eco; Comfort; Sport; Sport+ and Individual, with each altering the engine mapping, gearshifts, power steering and suspension, to varying degrees.
Comfort is the default mode and delivers a gentle ride with the engine tuned towards fuel efficiency, while Eco is all about fuel minimisation and frankly makes the car feel sluggish. Sport firms up the suspension, adds a bit of muscle to the steering and improves throttle response and Sport+ switches off the start/stop function, delivers more aggressive gearshifts, sharper throttle reactions and bumps up the idle. Individual lets you choose your desired steering, suspension and powertrain settings and store them in their own mode.
After running through all modes, Sport quickly became the preference as it delivered the best all round ride, handling and performance. While the C-class is an excellent long-distance cruiser, find some corners and you’ll unearth its real personality. The variable ratio, electro-mechanical speed sensitive, power steering is light and direct like it’s an extension of your arms. The ride is sublime on all surfaces in all driving modes and you can tell the difference between each and all the brakes and accelerator have a continuous, progressive feel to them.
The multi-link front and rear suspension and wide 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40/19 front and 235/35/19 rear tyres deliver wonderfully balanced, neutral handling, with loads of grip to quickly put a smile on your face.
The standard equipment list is as long as your arm with the following key features: 7-speed automatic transmission , active parking assist , agility select with five driving modes , LED headlamps with daytime running lights and LED tail lights, cruise control with variable speed limiter, start/stop function , Parktronic ultrasonic parking sensors, 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, privacy glass , powered boot closing, keyless entry and keyless start. 7-inch colour display screen, touchpad control, single-disc CD player with MP3/WMA/ACC compatibility, AM/FM tuner and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, sat nav, digital radio and digital TV. Electrically adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support, split fold (40:20:40) rear seat, iPod & iPhone integration, USB connectivity (2 ports in centre armrest) and 12v socket, multifunction display, leather upholstery and driver assistance package.
Mercedes Benz is a safety pioneer and naturally, and the new C-class has a five-star ANCAP safety rating. It’s packed with active and passive safety systems, including: active bonnet, adaptive brake with hold function, Hill Start Assist, nine airbags, ABS brakes, blind spot awareness, brake assist, collision prevention assist, crash responsive emergency lighting, electronic stability control with acceleration skid control and Pre-safe accident anticipatory system.