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C-class gets a leg up

This C-class is the first Benz in India to get Stuttgart's new range of direct-injection turbo-petrol engines.

autos Updated: Jul 14, 2010 17:35 IST
Ouseph Chacko

This C-class is the first Benz in India to get Stuttgart's new range of direct-injection turbo-petrol engines. It means that this is the best small displacement motor (for a Benz) that Merc has ever had in India.

This replacement for the C200 K is smoother, more powerful, guzzles less fuel and does less damage to the environment than the old supercharged engine. Sounds like a dream?

We're about to find out.

Turbo charged
At 1796 cc, the swept volume of this engine is exactly identical to the C200K's, but with 186 bhp and 29 kgm, it makes 6 bhp and 4.5 kgm of torque more than the C200 K.

This 1.8-litre motor makes more torque than even the range-topping 2.5-litre V6 motor in the C250. The broad band of torque is evident the moment you select 'D' and tap the throttle.

Power delivery, though not as linear initially, feels strong. Once the turbo kicks in at about 2500 rpm, you can't stop smiling. The C-class feels effortless on the highway thanks to the wide torque band and once past that miniscule bit of lag, it's just one long turbo-induced surge till it starts running out of breath at 190kph.

Like most turbo motors, the C200 CGI has got a particularly strong mid-range and pulls hard till its 6250 rpm redline. Flex your right foot enough and it'll hit 100 kph from rest in 8.4 seconds.

But it's the swift and unruffled way the engine pushes the car to 180 kph that makes it so fitting in a Mercedes Benz. However, the engine is quite audible when revved.

What spoils it?
If anything, it's the five-speed auto. For the most part, it does a decent job, but when you want to drive it enthusiastically, it sometimes refuses to downshift, or upshift as quickly as you would expect. You have to coax gearshifts out of it by lifting off the throttle.

Also, this car has a BlueEfficiency badge on its flanks, but there's not much fuel-saving tech offered in Indian cars. Still, on our tests, the CGI did seem to work its magic. We got 8.3 kpl in the city and 11.5 kpl on the highway, which is a noted improvement over the 7 kpl and 10 kpl that we saw in the C200 K.

Mark of a Merc
The rest is the same. You still get that supremely level and composed ride, and that typical Merc cabin hush. You also get well-built interiors and decent amounts of cabin space.

It's well-equipped, especially on safety features - it's got Merc's Pre-Safe and Neck-Pro system, eight airbags and adaptive brakes.

The only trim you can buy now is the top-of-the-line Avantgarde trim which means you get the sportier grille, wider tyres, two-zone climate control, leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, six-CD changer, fully powered seats and the anti-theft warning system.

Mercedes c200 cgi
Cost:
Rs 26.92 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Fuel: Petrol
Installation: Front, longitudinal
Layout: 4 cyls in-line,1796 cc
Power: 186 bhp at 5600 rpm
Torque: 29 kgm at 2400-4000 rpm
Gearbox: 5-speed auto
Weight: 1540kg
Brakes (f/r): Ventilated discs / Ventilated discs
Anti-lock: Yes
Safety: 8 airbags, ABS, Pre-safe, Neck-pro

Verdict
The C-class has always been a good performer but this new engine definitely adds that extra punch. The direct-injection turbo-petrol complements the brilliant dynamics and makes it a much more appealing car to drive.

Merc's latest tech also helps improve its fuel efficiency and this is an added bonus. It is without doubt the sweetest petrol C-class you can buy.