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If you're buying a Mercedes there are certain things that always come with it, namely comfort, style, and easy handling. To prove no Merc is perfect, we decided to hammer the C200 Avantgarde and see what sticks out. It was hard finding faults with this one but we managed a couple. Read on...
As you'd expect from the Mercedes calibre, the C200 handles very well, turns smoothly and taking sharp bends in its stride. Braking is also very responsive, especially when braking suddenly. The Electronic Stability Control system keeps things going smoothly on the road, and it can handle swerves with the typical grace and class of the high-powered Merc. Of course, it's reassuring to know it also comes with airbags front and back, and has a Brake Assist system in case you run into road hazards. Always pays to be prepared, so be prepared to pay!
You'll find a rear-wheel drive, as with all these models, and the 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine actually feels bigger than it actually is. Certainly it's more powerful than you'd initially expect, giving you 135kW of power, and 250Nm of torque. Acceleration 0 to 100km per hour in 9.0 seconds and can get to a top speed of 225km per hour. Pleasure with a capital P.
While we are on acceleration, here's the deal; you want to accelerate...push the button...on the accelerator! Yes, there is a button that you press under the accelerator which signals it's time to floor. Only then you get real acceleration. We suspect the system is designed to reduce petrol consumption in regular drives. Is it the most enjoyable experience? Well, initially it takes a little getting used to, the special acceleration button on the foot pedal. It's not tricky, but it can throw you off the first few times. This addition is also undoubtedly a part of the current changes incorporated by European car manufacturers, who are towing the line in terms of new eco-friendly restrictions. Certainly the C200 follows suit: it measures up well in terms of fuel consumption, and cO2 emissions of 195 g/km, on average. Sure, not the most eco-friendly car, but for a Mercedes, it's like signing the Kyoto Protocol!
The car's interiors are - like the quality of its handling - right on the money for the expected Mercedes standard. It's plush and sporty, with elegant trim and an easy-to-read dash system. This is a car that's built for comfort as much as style. The seats are certainly comfortable, with all the usual personalised adjustments available. A slight niggle is the added fire extinguisher right below the driver's seat which sticks out a little and may scratch your leg if you're not careful getting in (yes, I'm still alive!). Minor update would get the alignment perfect, and frankly, given how few faults one can find with this, it's easy to overlook.
Inside you get plenty of leg room and head room. Boot space is more than adequate, with 475 litres VDA. You can get 100kg on the roof if you fancy it, and it'll take 740kg unbraked towing weight. But this is a car made for cruising and it shows. There are nice little style details with the Avantgarde, including low-level mood lighting, personalised individual heating systems for driver and front and back passengers, and you can go for heated seats if you really want to treat yourself in this Middle Eastern sunshine!
Priced in the vicinity of 150,000 AED, the car guarantees prestige, sporty drive and lots of social uptick, probably a bit more than Audi A4 or BMW 1 Series (that's right I said it!). Certainly not as expensive as BMW 1 Series Coupe but slightly higher than Audi A4. Having done the Audi A4 road test, both cars have a distinct drive feel and it's up to the individual to decide which feels right. However, do check out our comparison of Mercedes C200 vs Audi A4 vs BMW 1 Series Coupe for a pure spec-to-spec analysis of these competitors.
In terms of lifestyle, the C200 is best for young executives and families with young children. Do remember maintenance costs tend to be higher than average after the service contracts finish. Other than that it's a great car to be in.