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Mercedes C Class
Full Road Test
The current C Class has been with us since 2007, and while there might not appear to be much change in the appearance of this new facelifted model, Mercedes assures us that 2,000 new components mark it out as one of the most comprehensive mid-life updates they've ever undertaken.
As well as the revised styling, the car's interior has been refreshed, the specification enhanced and, most importantly to the C Class's prospective customer base, the engine line-up has been overhauled for better performance and economy.
The choice of four-cylinder powerplants is limited to two versions of a 1.8-litre petrol engine in the C180 and C250, and a 2.1-litre diesel available in three outputs with the C200, C220 and C250 CDI.
All have now been tagged as BlueEfficiency units, and the manufacturer claims fuel consumption has been lowered by as much as 31 percent over their predecessors. All versions of the C Class get start/stop as standard and automatic models gain the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed transmission.
Pick of the bunch is the C 220 CDI, which when mated to the standard six-speed manual, returns an official mpg in the mid 60s and emits under 120g/km CO2. It's satisfyingly punchy too, sending its instantly accessible torque to the road in the kind of quicksilver delivery which makes progress particularly effortless
That lack of strain is key to the C Class's appeal, and as a package the car seems better reconciled than ever to its task of getting people to their location in unflustered style. It's an ethos that Mercedes perfected in the E Class, and many of that model's features have now filtered down.
The conservatively redesigned dashboard owes its inspiration to the bigger car, as does the new colour display in the instrument cluster which delivers a greater range of information to the driver, including the warnings associated with the Attention Assist system that monitors tiredness.
That safety feature is standard, but the C Class's option list has also inherited a whole host of other assistance systems - Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Speed Limit Assist - which have already appeared in the E Class.
However, the C Class does differ from its sibling in appearance, and the fresher look benefits both the saloon and the estate. A prominent grille and stretched headlights help to better define the car's profile, and help the impression that the compact exec is maturing into a good-looking machine.
That general feeling of gradual improvement pervades the new C Class, and is the hallmark of a successful facelift. Mercedes' 2,000 odd changes might not add up to a new model, but they certainly reconfirm the car's place at or near the very top of its class.