Every time a car enthusiast reads a word with AMG in it, associations about roaring engines pumping out power, blazing heat on the tarmac and the car in a symphony with the driver, hurtle across the mind. This month, we feature the Mercedes Benz C250 CDI AMG, a high performance sedan, in ICB’s comprehensive road test and review. When you talk AMGs in India, the most common AMGs, if you can call an AMG common, tend to be the likes of the C63 AMG or say the E63 AMG. When the German luxury car giant shipped out a C250 CDI AMG to us, the first thing we expected was to spot the mascot on car at its typical location, just on right side of its tail. We did not find any. Now that naturally led to us wondering about what the whole AMG story around the C250CDI was all about. Well, that’s until we jumped in and began driving the car.
Oh and before the whole driving experience, we’ll give you a round up on what’s new on the AMG badged C250 CDI. Looking around, you’ll spot the AMG badging on wheels of car, just like we did. Now, while the delicious looking 5 spoke split light weight 17 inch alloy wheel with the AMG badge is one styling bit that signifies the AMG treatment for the car, other bits such as the front and rear bumper also get the AMG treatment. Side skirts are the other additions to the car. While the front bumper sloped down trapezoidally, the rear bumper gets wider and more muscular lines. A new black painted roof with full panoramic sunroof do their bit to add to the car’s sporty character. These bits come together to give the C-Class C250 CDI AMG a sporty look right from the word go. With all these changes, the visual difference between regular C-Class and AMG performance edition is quite noticeable.
Coming to the other styling features of the car, the C-Class C250 CDI AMG comes with a sharp shoulder line, a trademark of Mercedes Benz cars. The shoulder line is also known as character line, a line that has the potential to add loads of appeal to a car’s styling. A chrome strip runs parallel to the side skirts of car add to add a touch of luxury on the flanks of the car. All in all, the car looks more masculine with minute tweaks in body work effected to achieve that appeal. Since we manage to get our hands on an Avantgarde model with the Blue Efficiency Badge, the front side of our test car was dominated by the grille-mounted three pointed star logo surrounded by three horizontal louvers. The car also comes with two LED daylight running lights up front.
On the inside, the AMG treatment consists of paddle shifts that come with a matt stainless steel finish. The steering is a 3-spoke multi-function item with aluminum inserts. The steering comes in a smaller diameter to make for a sporty look and feel. The dashboard is typical Mercedes Benz affair with soft touch materials all around. The attention to detail can be seen and felt in overall ergonomics and quality of interiors. Our test car was fitted with a color LCD display, hidden in the upper side of the center console and controlled by the COMAND controller just like BMW’s idrive. The instrument console with multicolour display and 3 dials of tapered steel tubes a styling element deliver plenty of information at a glance. The whole set up looks premium and exudes class. Door levers on both sides get a glossy finish with the fit and finish levels justifying the efforts of the car’s designers.
An illustration of the ergonomic details we were talking about is reflected by the perfect location of seat height adjusters with memory functions on doors. This ergonomic location makes it very easy to adjust the seats and is intuitive in terms of feel. A similar thing can be said of window regulator as well. While we can just harp on the best bits about the test car’s interior, we’ll also give you a lowdown about its downsides. The dashboard infotainment system lacks a satellite navigation function, a feature that’ll be sorely missed by owners who like this useful tool. Also, the car comes with parking assist which is pretty basic considering the fact that the system doesn’t have a camera. Given that the Merc C-Class is an entry level sedan in developed car markets, the car is most luxurious for the front seaters. Tall passengers at the rear won’t find the leg room too appealing though. On the up side, the boot’s reasonably spacious luggage compartment delivers 475 liters in terms of volume.
Now, for the real deal, the drive. As soon as you enter the cockpit, er, the car, and hit the starter, the revelation that’ll strike you is how well damped the car is. Vibrations from 2.2 lit oil burner are very well damped and an untrained ear will be hard pressed to discern what’s under the hood. The car comes with ECO and Sport modes where ECO activates a bunch of assorted systems such as start-stop and brake energy regeneration to cut down on fuel consumption, the Sport mode lets you exercise your right foot and experience what the torque wave is all about. Mercedes Benz’s cars are known for their comfort and superb isolation of road bumps from the cabin by means of soft suspension. Obviously, you can’t have velvet like ride quality and razor sharp handling, can you? Well, with modern day electronics, you can get somewhat close to this fantasy. Switching the car to sports mode makes the suspension stiffer and gear shifts angrier. To add to the effect, the sheer responsiveness of the 2.2 Liter turbo diesel engine outputting 204 Bhp-500 Nm means that this sporty character is matched by the plonk department. The German sedan takes you from 0-100kph mark in less than 8 seconds and switching the car into Sports Mode means that the gears in the 7 speed automatic gearbox will shift at 4500 rpm instead of the standard 4000 rpm shift interval.
We headed to the twisties around Pune to see what the car can do when a couple of bends are thrown into the equation. The massive 500 Nm torque was making car slide a little when pushed hard. The electronic safety and dynamic aids like ABS, ESP and traction control help keep the C250 where it rightfully belongs, on the roads, and not plastered across some vegetation, and this is true especially while pushing the C250 hard at some high cornering speeds on the twisties. So, if you’re last name isn’t McRae or Vettel, you’re better off keeping all the electronic aids switched on, all the time. The 7 speed automatic gearbox means that the C250 CDI AMG is responsive across the rev range. While the engine and tranny combine impressed, the electronic power steering disappointed us at low speeds. There is the typical stiffening up of steering at high speeds in straight line and on curves but then the feedback isn’t something that’s as pure as say a hydraulic unit or even perhaps the new fangled electric units that are found on the new gen Beemers. The braking was powerful with the new perforated disc brakes working in tandem with with the chunky 225/45 R17 section tyres. This combination gives one a lot of confidence of car at high speeds. Light sensing automatic headlamps worked perfectly when car entered dark spaces like the tunnels on the expressway while the bi-xenon headlamps lit up the road beautifully at night.
Alright, this is a luxury sedan that goes pretty fast, what with 500 Nm of torque on tap. But then again, we’re talking high tech turbo diesels here. In that light, the ‘Blue Efficiency’ badge isn’t just a wall flower. Far from it, the technology works as intended and the Mercedes Benz C250 CDI AMG actually managed to deliver an overall fuel economy of 12 kmpl. This figure includes driving in peak hour Mumbai traffic and pushing the car on some twisty tarmac that steadily pointed towards the stratosphere. Not bad, you may say. We concur. So, that’s pretty much the Mercedes Benz C250 AMG for you, a car that moves and moves fast. A car that’s quite comfortable, loaded with a decent amount of kit and being a diesel, the car also makes you smile every time you tank up.
To sum it up AMG performance edition of car comes with
AMG body kit
Tail pipe with chrome finish
17” AMG 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels
Steering mounted gear shift paddles
7G tronic automatic gearbox
Cross drilled perforated disc brakes
AMG Sporty Drilled Pedals
3 spoke sporty steering wheel with aluminum inserts
The AMG kit adds athletic sportiness to the lavish C250 CDI avantgrade. The goodies comes with price tag close to Rs. 80,000 which is stonking value for money.
What you will love:
* Fast and Frugal Diesel engine mated to a responsive 7 speed automatic gearbox
* Luxurious interiors and good build quality
* Merc three pointed star badge on bonnet and AMG looks of car
What can be improved?
* Reverse parking camera and Satellite navigation system are missing features
* Ground clearance for Indian road bumps