It cannot be an accident that one of Germany’s premium brand carmakers - and there are a few - recently
It cannot be an accident that one of Germany’s premium brand carmakers - and there are a few - recently landed two top awards from business for this week’s drive, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
I have often said that the sheer variety of specification available for any one Mercedes-Benz model can be quite baffling. For the ordinary punter this needs expert guidance to get the new car you want to buy and the one that suits your needs and pocket.
The business community it seems though are pretty convinced that the C-Class suits them, readers of BusinessCar voted the C-Class Car of the Year 2015.
The citation from its editor Paul Barker was unequivocal. He said, “The C-Class is competitive like never before on everything from styling to the all-important running costs, and that’s reflected in this award.”
It’s not hard to see why these business people are getting excited about the C-Class and where they are coming from. The C-Class saloon - priced from £28,985 on-the-road - returns up to 78.5 mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 94 g/km. This puts the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid in the all-important 11 per cent company car tax band.
But the business world’s admiration for the C-Class in these opening months of 2015 did not stop there. Another gong for Mercedes-Benz came in the form of the 2015 SME Company Car of the Year Award for Best Company Car for Tax, won by the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid.
I think from my humble samplings of Mercedes-Benz cars over the past few years, I have noticed that not only is their comfort and handling convincing, there is also the added bonus of driving a prestige car that is not going to break the bank for you at the pumps.
Fuel prices may have dropped dramatically in recent months, which is all to the good as far as motorists are concerned. But top carmakers have been on a mission to improve miles per gallon and emissions for some years now.
Mercedes-Benz is no exception and I have to say the test car, the C 220 BlueTEC AMG Line Saloon, fulfilled many of the expectations one has when driving a Mercedes-Benz.
Not only that, I think that this new C-Class has a certain flair about it. There is no need to assume that because you are at last buying a Mercedes-Benz you have moved into the realms of mature old buffer who accepts he is only fit for a sensible, mature driving experience.
Far from it, this particular Mercedes-Benz with its AMG looks and styling detail maintained the air of a lively, sporty saloon that as well as acting sensible if that was how you wished to drive the car also had plenty of power at its disposal.
This is probably down to the two-litre common-rail diesel engine with two turbochargers. But I also found the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic gearbox maintained a smooth finish to any demand from my driving whether I wanted to cruise at speed on a motorway or stop/start through town.
But the C-Class is not finished with its innovative ways. Mercedes-Benz is now offering its most advanced hybrid technology yet in the C-Class and, for the first time, also in an estate. The C 350 Plug-in Hybrid in both saloon and its estate guise has a range of 19 miles in purely electric mode making local emission-free driving a reality.
The car’s four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 279 hp and torque of 600 Nm. The new C 350 Plug-in Hybrid can deliver sports car performance yet Mercedes-Benz says offers “certified consumption figures of 134.5 mpg for both saloon and estate.“ This corresponds to CO2 emiss-ions of 48 grams (49 grams for the Estate) per kilometre.
Both models are also equipped as standard with Airmatic air suspension plus a Pre-Entry Climate Control system that can be controlled via the internet, achieving an “exceptional level of driving and climate comfort”.
The C 350 Plug-in Hybrid will arrive in Britain this April.