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REVIEW: Mercedes-Benz does ‘entry’ with C180 AMG Line

2019-02-14 07:30
mercedes c180

Image: Charlen Raymond

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has always been a pillar of strength for this German automaker. Year in and year out a large sum of C-Classes are sold worldwide. Even here in South Africa we do not have any shortages to what the C-Class offers and are we even more spoiled for choice when it comes to the different models.

There’s a platoon of options with which you can personalise your C-Class, but if we’re being honest you will be spending a limb or three to be slightly different; for that peace of mind that your Mercedes is different to the next person’s. The man on the street will not see it, but you’ll know. And you’ll have the assurance that yours is different.

There’s nothing wrong with it; on the contrary. If you can personalise your vehicle, do it. Especially if you’ve worked hard to get where you are. But what if the C180 AMG Line that you have your eye on is so basic that you have to dig extra deep to be ‘different’?

mercedes c180

                                                                  Image: Charlen Raymond

AMG package

The C-Class is without doubt one of the best cars money can buy. The manner in which everything comes together makes you feel like a proper businessman and because of that you want your car to reflect it. This C180 AMG Line is dressed in Merc’s AMG attire that includes an AMG face, slightly wider wheel arches, and 18” AMG wheels.

It’s a pretty package that’s continued on the inside. The seats are covered in leather (optional), the panels are well put together and covered in quality materials.

Even in the back there’s enough legroom for passengers, as well as boot space of 480 litres. As an optional extra you can have the rear seats fold flat, which should see the loading bay expand. 

Other extras on your C180 AMG Line include heated and cooling function for the front seats, memory settings to store to seating position, as well as electric adjustment. Even satellite navigation is an option.

One can understand that to have these features installed as standard would push up the price, but if the starting price is R636 169 then it will no doubt force a frown on your face.

mercedes c180

                                                                         Image: Charlen Raymond

Engine & drive

This C180 AMG Line is driven by Mercedes-Benz’s turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine that develops 115kW and 250Nm of torque. The latter is available from a lowly 1 200rpm, which eases any long trips you undertake. A slight dab of the throttle and the vehicle surges forward without issue.

A nine-speed automatic gearbox channels power to the rear wheels and gears can be changed via the steering wheel mounted paddles, too. There is a slight delay when selecting the next gear at times, but for most of the time the right gear is hooked without trouble.

Mercedes-Benz says that this engine will consume, on average, around 6.5-litres/100km, but at the end of the test period that figure was around 9.5-litres; which is a bit more of a realistic representation of things. On the open road the fuel economy dropped to 8.0-litre/100km, but in the city it would climb again.

From behind the steering you get the impression that you’re driving a Merc. Steering feel is secure, road holding great, and the comfort with which it tackles the kilometres very good. But at speeds there is wind noise entering the cabin from outside.

It’s not disturbing, but on a few occasions I found myself checking that all the windows are rolled shut. One just does not expect things like this from a Mercedes; and because it’s the entry-level C180 does not mean that it should be excused.

There is a certain expectation when you’re confronted with certain automobile manufacturers. You know what to expect and with others you know what not to. And a wind noise is not expected.

Perhaps it could be attributed to the low profile tyres, but then sound insulation should be improved. Because frankly, our roads aren’t as smooth as Europe’s.

mercedes c180

                                                                       Image: Charlen Raymond

Technology

We’ve already touched on the C180 AMG Line’s price and some would look at it as astronomical. Those looking at everything from all angles will simply say that the price does not make sense.

For R636k one would expect a few electronic gadgets that’ll ease your life, but keyless access and –start does not come standard. Neither is parking sensors and a reverse camera. The side mirrors do fold away when you lock the car, but it was an optional extra added to the test car.

Blind spot warning is optionally available, and the boot needs to be closed by hand - an electronic option is available. The seats must also be adjusted manually. Heck, the doors don’t even lock automatically when you set off.

Other manufacturers - not necessarily those competing against the C-Class - include these equipment as standard and does not carry the price tag of this car. It’s difficult to justify the C180 AMG Line. It’s a good car and it drives fantastic; that I won’t argue with, but you’re just paying too much for a name.

Conclusion

The C180 AMG Line is not Mercedes-Benz’s finest moment and is it a bit difficult justifying the package. There are good points, but those are in the lesser. Especially when you look at the car as a whole.

If Mercedes-Benz, and a few other (German) manufacturers, could just learn not to sap the public for every cent, then their cars would offer so much more value for money.

Because heaven knows, you really do not have to spend all your money on a little bit of individualism.

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