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Reader test: New Merc C220 CDI

2007-09-28 10:21

Jarred Ferreira, Cape Town

How do you even begin to describe a vehicle so perfect in every aspect without sounding biased? Easy, you try! Before I begin, I'm going to say straight out that I'm a Merc fan and have been for as long as I can remember. So, owning the new "Baby Benz" is the realisation of a childhood dream!

Firstly, let us get the technicalities out of the way. My baby is the new W204 C220 CDI Avantgarde, and it 125 kW and 400 Nm of torque make it no slouch.

This morning, the odometer hit 650 km and the car is still using its original tank of diesel. The consumption is getting better with each outing and the best so far has been 5.5 l/100 km.


You'll immediately notice something very different when your eyes frame the car. It's lower and more aggressive thanks to its AMG styling kit - the most costly of the extras but definitely worth every penny, especially with the AMG rims and sports tyres.

I also opted for the 35% tint, creating a nice contrast with the white and chrome finishes. But what would a sporty appearance be without something to back it up. More accurately, agility...


The standard vehicle is comfortable, responsive and communicates well; much better then any of its predecessors. But what if you wanted more? Easy, add the Advanced Active Agility Control.

Push the tiny sports button, and the car transforms into a beast with improved throttle response, stiffer suspension and more direct steering. It develops a true Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde persona - what more could you ask for?


No matter where you drivem with whatever persona you choose, real world comfort seems to flow with every kilometer driven. The AMG seats are supportive and specially designed to reduce pressure across your "cheeks" for more comfortable journeys.

The dual climate control is extremely effective too, but I have to admit, the best value for money would have to be the Harmon/Kardon Sound system. With 450 W of digital sound, open the sunroof, turn up the volume and just cruise.

Then there are the Comand, Linguatronic and integrated Bluetooth telephony systems. Comand comes with a really neat flip-up display that slides away into the dash when not it use.

It comes with a six-disc DVD changer, integrated 40Gb hard drive for the navigation software and media hub (yes, you can load MP3s and WMA files onto it).

And the cherry on the cake, you can give the car instructions and 98% of the time, it will follow them. Simply tell it which CD or track you want to listen to, who you want to call or where you'd like to go. It really is that simple!

The finish is flawless and when compared to the competition, I feel it is slightly ahead of the pack, especially if one looks at the ergonomics. The doors are solid, and can easily knock you off your feet if you aren't paying attention. The interior lighting is ambient and romantically lights up various crevasses. Is there anything they could've missed?

If I had to make any changes to the car, I think a hydraulic boot lid and door closing system, as found in the S-Class, really have finished it off. That's it. There really is nothing else this car lacks.

So, what are my thoughts? Honestly, I'm still coming to terms with them. The more I drive the car, the more I fall in love with it.

Drive it enthusiastically and it will smile back. Cruise along and it will transport you and make you feel like a million bucks. It's been worth the months of wondering fantasies and if you're in two minds about ordering one, you needn't be.

Merc's marketeers are trying to sell the Serene Agility concept, but it can only be understood once experienced. Go on... C for yourself!

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