The Mercedes Benz C class has been around for a while in India. The first C class was produced in 1993 and ever since has made its mark as a compact luxury sedan. The current generation C class sold in India was introduced way back in 2007 globally. This C class that we have with us is in the third generation and before this it phases out from India, Mercedes-Benz has introduced C class Grand Edition which probably will be the last avatar of the current generation C class before the all new fourth generation enters the market.
The C class Grand Edition was launched to celebrate over 50,000 Mercedes-Benz cars rolling out of the Mercedes plant in India. After 2013 ‘Year of offensive’ Mercedes-Benz has now entered into 2014, ‘Year of Excellence’ with the launch of the S class and now the C class Grand Edition. The company will also launch the GLA crossover and an all new C class this year. Team AutoColumn got a chance to get behind the wheel of this Grand Edition C class which highlights the sporty character of the car with an AMG body kit. We took it for a test the AutoColumn way from ghats of Lonavala and the straights of the Expressway to the arrow straight sections of the Solapur highway covering over 800 kms to give you a detailed comprehensive road test report.
Exterior: 8 /10
The Grand Edition makes the C class look way younger and the reason behind this is the AMG body kit. A quick first glance at the car reminds us of the 2013 C 250 CDI AMG edition. The Grand Edition looks very much similar to its AMG sibling except for the wheels.
The main difference that we could spot was the missing AMG alloys and C250 CDI badging. The C-Class Grand Edition comes with a C220 CDI badge and 17 inch sporty alloys with AMG hubs. A new black painted roof with full panoramic sunroof does its bit to add to the car’s sporty character. Grand Edition badges are placed on the sides just beyond the wheel arch. Though the car has been around for a while in the Indian market (since 2013) as far as the visual appearance of body panels and headlamps are concerned, this Grand Edition makes it look a bit fresh and different from its other variants.
At the front of the car, the AMG trapezoidal grille is highly distinctive and noticeable while the black roof adds a luxurious touch to the car. The side profile is boosted by the AMG body kit side skirts and 17 inch sporty alloys with AMG hub caps. Move to the rear end and that also pleases you with clear lens tail lamps which are a bit different from the AMG edition model. The exhaust tip is now chrome finished to differentiate the Grand Edition from regular C-Class models.
Concluding on the exteriors, here are the major changes that we see on the Grand edition
- “Grand Edition” badge
- Panoramic glass sunroof
- Black AMG hub caps
- Finned radiator with integrated Mercedes-Benz Star
- AMG body styling
- 17-inch 5-twin-spoke light alloy wheels
The interiors of the C-Class are top notch and have the same quality that anyone can expect from a three pointed star. Solid build quality and well laid out controls and luxurious finish ensure that everything is included in C-Class Grand Edition dash. Use of aluminium inserts add a lavish touch to the interiors. The brushed aluminium trim emphasizes the sporty ambience.
Compared to the regular C-Class, the Grand Edition gets GPS navigation as standard and the display is now available in the instrument cluster. The navigation function is not easy to access though, the command controller ‘C’ should be held for a few seconds to get it activated. The steering is same as the regular C class with all controls on it and height adjustment.
The Grand Edition also gets Mercedes-Benz branding on the door sill panels and Artico leather options in two colours. The interior space is adequate for a person of average height in both the front and rear, but a person taller than a 6 footer might feel lack of comfort in the rear seat.
Here is the list of interior features you get in the Grand Edition
- ARTICO upholstery
- Trim elements in structured aluminium
- Interior mirror auto dimming
- Sun visors with illuminated mirrors
- Door sill panels front & rear, front panels with Mercedes-Benz lettering
Engine and Transmission: 8/10
The C class Grand Edition comes with a 4 cylinder 2143 cc diesel motor that produces 167hp-400Nm of torque and in the 1.8 liter petrol variant putting out 186 hp-285Nm. Both the engines are coupled with 7G tronic transmission and equipped with Eco and Sports mode. Our test car was powered by a diesel engine and this engine is well refined in terms of NVH.
The badging now is C220 CDI instead of C250 CDI that used to come with the AMG edition and so the power and torque figures are lower (from 204bhp-500Nm to 167bhp-400Nm). The C220 motor is a lot quieter than C250 CDI motor due to the single turbo as opposed to twin turbos on the C250.
Power and torque delivery is very smooth and linear and there is always room for power on the tap if you press the pedal hard. As we all know Mercedes-Benz cars are focused on rear seat comfort, the power delivery is achieved in such a manner that the person sitting behind won’t be uncomfortable even with more aggressive driving. Power delivery is smooth, seamless and one will hardly feel the turbo kicking in during Eco mode. There is no feeling of being pushed back into your seats.
If you want to hustle the car a bit faster switch over to sports mode. Sports mode will ensure that engine will mostly run in powerband and will hold higher revs before shifting gears. The disappointment is that there are no pedal shifts in grand edition, though manual override on 7G tronic gearbox can be achieved by tiptronic function on gear lever. The transmission while smooth shifting is not entirely sporty and seems a tad lazy while changing gears. Shifts are not as quick as one would like.
Ride and Handling: 7/10
We took the car to Lonavala, pushed hard around corners and straights of Mumbai-Pune Express way to check all aspects of ride and handling. The C class is well equipped with ride and handling package and it balances both at varying speeds. Ride quality and ride handling never go hand in hand. Manufacturers have to compromise on one while concentrating on the other. The C class takes the other route here, the ride quality is excellent compared to its rivals and there is just a wee bit of compromise on ride handling.
The power dished up by the engine goes to the rear wheels and there is a well balanced layout to achieve close to equal weight distribution. The steering gets a bit heavy and the feedback is really good unlike plain lifeless electric power steering. Unfortunately if you are a driving enthusiast and like to be on the driver seat all the time and drive aggressively, this is not a car that might satisfy you.
The C class lacks that confidence that a BMW will give you around the corners to push even harder. The extreme moves at high speeds kicks in the stability programs and make sure car is safe and stuck to tarmac. The fantastic straight line stability impressed us, even at speeds above 140kmph the car was composed on the tarmac. The overall package is designed for comfort and it does its job perfectly at all speeds and thus scores a plus compared to its rivals when it comes to ride & comfort.
Features and Safety: 10/10
The Grand Edition is packed with all features that are offered with the regular C class model. These features are further divided into active and passive safety features. Active safety features are those which are continuously monitoring car to ensure safety where as secondary safety features are those that get activated after an incident is detected, e.g. airbags. Airbags open in a car when crash situation is detected and that’s the reason these are called as SRS airbags, SRS stands for Secondary Restraint Systems.
1. Attention assist: Between 80 and 180 km/h, ATTENTION ASSIST warns the driver visually and audibly as soon as it detects any signs of drowsiness or inattention. The background sensors analyze driving behavior to detect any changes compared to the previously determined individual driver profile. The ATTENTION ASSIST function is particularly helpful on long journeys and when driving at night; the system warns the driver if it detects signs of failing attention and increasing weariness.
2. Adaptive high beam assist: C-Class grand edition uses ECU controlled high and low beam. A stepper motor inside the headlamp unit controls adaptive high and low beam. A camera is used to the control headlamp range adjustment and the main beams in such a way that the road receives the best possible illumination in line with the current traffic situation and the road users ahead. If the system registers oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead, it continuously adjusts the beam range to the distance so that the cone of light ends before it meets these vehicles. The high beam automatically switches on when no other road users are detected.
3. Intelligent light system: The light system in C-Class changes headlamp intensity according to speeds. The system boosts power of headlamp of bi-xenon above speed of 90kmph. From 110 km/h the setting of the headlamp on the inside of the traffic lane also changes to illuminate the entire width of the lane uniformly for a distance of up to around 120 metres. The light function also follows the driver steering angle. The sensor detects steering angle and adjusts the light at corners by tilting the bi-xenon unit toward the corner.
4. Pre-Safe : On sensing a potential collision, the PRE-SAFE system quickly evaluates the situation and triggers preventive measures to protect the occupants. Seatbelts tighten, front passenger seats automatically reposition, side windows close and the tilting/sliding sunroof closing system deploys.
5. Neck-Pro head restraints: The NECK-PRO head restraints can help reduce the risk of whiplash injury by moving forwards and upwards to support the heads of the front occupants at an earlier stage in the event of a rear impact.
6. Airbags: The C class achieves 5 star EURO-NCAP rating for safety. Six air bags are fitted as standard in order to help protect the passengers: front airbags, which can be deployed in two-stages, depending on the accident severity, as well as side bags and window bags.
Verdict: 41/ 50 Excellent
The C class Grand Edition comes with a complete luxury package at a price of 36.81 lakhs. Before the all new C class rolls into India, this is surely a great buy but at a little expensive affair though it doesn’t offer much than a regular C class save for the visual elements. The C class remains one of Mercedes-Benz’ best-sellers in the competitive entry-level luxury sedan segment with more than 19,000 units sold till date. It has got the fascination of the 3 pointed star and solid build quality with all premium finish. Thumbs up from us here at AutoColumn