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DRIVEN: 'Frighteningly frugal' - We drive the updated Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2018-10-17 12:51

Sean Parker

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Image: Wheels24

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Mercedes-Benz has launched the new edition of its highly successful C-Class range in South Africa.

With the next generation BMW 3 Series unveiled at the Paris motor show in October, the battle in the compact premium sedan market is still rife. 

For 2018, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an updated version of its popular C-Class in South Africa, as you may know the automaker's second smallest sedan is built in East London. 

What's new? 

There are some cosmetic changes to the W205 model, these include a new design to the headlights and tail lights. 

Get up close and personal with the grille and you'll notice the AMG-Line specific diamond radiator grille as standard. The front bumpers have been redesigned and it features a silver trim strip (standard), a chrome-plated trim strip (in combination with Avantgarde exterior) or a three-part chrome trim strip (exclusive exterior). 

Inside, a new steering wheel is now available which houses the cruise control buttons, eliminating the need for a stalk control. 

Our test unit was a C180 AMG-Line which featured 19-inch AMG-specific wheels. It uses the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine carried over from the pre-facelift car, it produces 115kW and uses a 9-speed automatic gearbox and its priced from R590 168 in base form. 

The optional 25cm centrally-mounted screen made scrolling through the infotainment menu such a boon to navigate.  

What's it like to drive? 

Beautifully. It cossets the driver with a lovely supple drive that aided wonderfully by the new 9-speed automatic gearbox. 

The 1.6-litre turbo engine is frighteningly frugal, I managed over 800kms on a tank, admittedly I used the 'eco' mode for the majority of the week. But still, mightily impressive. 

The steering is not as sharp as a 3 Series yet not as artificial as an A4. It handles the road well offering good body control when you dip into corner. 

Other niceties 

I found the pews to be really comfortable and added to the luxurious experience of driving a C-Class. The new steering wheel which I first saw on the C63 model that I drove earlier this year is superb. It's chunky, good to look at and feels very premium. 

Key-less entry is now standard across the range and an electric boot opening and closing function (via a button on the boot lid) makes opening and closing it easier. 

Premium package

After a couple of days with the updated C-Class it dawned on me that this East London-built car has impeccable perceived build quality. 

One must doff your hat to the workers at the plant in the Eastern Cape for the high standard of workmanship that goes into the C-Class and will continue into the future after Mercedes announced another multi-million rand injection. 

If you want to get into the C-Class range, the C180 is a good up your premium game, it offers a frugal powertrain, excellent build quality and cosseting ride at R590 168 (ouch!). 

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