The Mercedes C-Class, motoring review: IT has some clever kit that’s ahead of its time

It's not cheap but it does include some clever design cues

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Price: £35,000 (250 CDI tested)

Engine Capacity: 2.1l diesel

Power output: (bhp @ Rpm) 204 @ 3,800

Top speed: (MPH) 149

Fuel economy: (MPG) 62.7

CO2 emissions: (g/KG) 117

With prices ranging from around £29,000 to nearer £35,000, the new Mercedes C-Class isn’t exactly cheap. At a push you could call it the most “affordable” way to own a proper saloon from Stuggart though.

In fact, you can forget six-wheeled truckers for Middle Eastern billionaires, it’s the C-Class and the larger E-Class that make up the majority of sales for Mercedes in the UK.

This latest C-Class, which has just gone on sale, does include some clever design cues from the top-of-the-range S-Class limousine though. This means that insurance salesmen from Suffolk and solicitors from Surrey can now enjoy swept-headlamps on the outside and a more luxurious cabin with circular air vents inside.

It also gets something fancy (for an extra £895) called an Airmatic Agility System, which lets drivers switch between economy, comfort and sport modes, depending on their mood and the state of the fuel gauge.

This is the sort of kit that you used to only find on supercars but it’s becoming far more common (the new VW Golf has one). Frankly, they are normally useless, either making so little difference to be pointless, or making the ride so firm that you need a double dose of diazepam after doing the school run.

Thankfully, the variable suspension system on the new C-Class is better than most, primarily thanks to its air-based suspension (instead of traditional coiled springs). This means that, for once, comfort mode is actually fairly smooth and sport mode rather engaging; it’s like you have a dedicated pothole-repair team driving a few miles ahead of you.

There’s no doubt that this sort of kit is a massive luxury, but perhaps not a huge one if you are planning on dropping £30k on a saloon. That’s certainly what Chris Elliot, an Independent reader from Maidstone, thought when he looked into buying one. He discovered that the system I was enjoying and about to rave about isn’t available on UK cars until next year.

My test model had it, but Chris couldn’t buy it and reluctantly cancelled his order. What’s the point of “launching” a car full of new technology if you can’t, you know, actually buy it yet?

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