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Reader test: Mercedes C320 CDI

2009-10-22 09:08
"Diesel?" I’m asked.

"Aren’t they slow? Don’t they smoke?"

"Tyre smoke? Sure," I say.

I have always liked diesels. 510Nm of torque – that’s my kind of fun and it’s available from 1 600 r/min. I like the fact that I can feel the push in the small of my back without giving a "traffic ticket collector" too many reasons to smile. With 165kW on tap, I know that I have bought the right car.

Being a family man with two small kids, I need a four-door car with reasonable boot space. This car replaced a BMW 5 Series which always did what was required of it very well, but never gave me the "fun factor" that my Audi TT (previous model) had delivered.


I opted for the AMG model because I liked its sporty look and feel. The 7G-Tronic paddle shifts are fantastic when cornering hard, but I am happy to leave it in auto for normal driving.

The AMG model also includes very supportive seats, which give you a real hug every time you step into the cockpit. But the best part of this car is the AMG suspension that feels absolutely amazing.

This is a car that feels like its cornering on rails. It feels fantastic to throw it at a few "twisties". Of course, I leave the little ones (and wife) at home for that.


I bought the car second hand and was lucky that it came well stocked.

It has a DVD (never been used!!!) and satnav which gets used often. I find that my wife and I fight far less when allowing the satnav to decide which route we should take. It also has a voice command system, but I find it to be a bit of a gimmick.

The black leather remains fairly cool and still seems to be rather scuff-free, but some of the plastic bits feel a little cheap to me. I have always liked multifunction steering wheel controls in previous cars, but have found that I don’t use them much in this one. The radio / CD volume is very slow and I find the controls to be very intuitive via the COMAND system and rather use its rotary controller.

I am still getting used to the foot controlled parking brake. I am not sure if mine is faulty or not, but the vehicle moves downhill quite a few centimetres after I have activated it. I also feel that the hand release to disengage the parking brake is going to break off in my hand every time I release it.


I like this car. No – I love this car. Sure, I have high expectations and it does not deliver on all fronts, but it carries my family around safely with enough space and does it in style while putting a smile on my face. Who could complain?

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