Driven: Mercedes-Benz C220d AMG-Line

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With gobs of torque and effortless luxury, the diesel-powered C-Class could be one of the segments best kept secrets

While the rest of the world frowns upon oil burners, South Africans can’t get enough. Then again, when you factor in the price of unleaded fuel, and realise how much of value comes with owning a diesel vehicle, it really is a no brainer for the buyer. 

And while diesels have always been a staple in the compact luxury car segment, Mercedes’ latest diesel variant is a real peach – especially when kitted out with the optional AMG Line. It certainly looks the part, thanks to the recent refresh that benefited the entire range. While it might be tricky for those with an untrained eye to spot the difference, we here at Auto Advisor aim to please. 

If you look closer, you will see that the exterior has gained a restyled AMG body kit that incorporates new front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wheel options and a new rear diffuser. The headlights and taillights have also been updated, gaining LED technology as standard fitment.

There are some significant updates to the Artico-upholstered interior too, with a version of Mercedes’ new MBUX system available, as well as the optional new 12.3-inch infotainment display and a 10.25-inch free-standing infotainment display. While you can spec the car with a digital cluster, this car sported the analog dials from the pre-facelift variant, and a very small infotainment screen. Suffice to say, this is as basic as the C-Class interior comes. It still retains its famous touchpad but now features haptic feedback, and also gains a steering wheel that features touchpads for controlling displays. There have also been some minor trim updates as well.

Under the hood is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel motor that produces 143kw and 400nm available between 1,600 and 2,800rpm, and sends power to the rear wheels via a 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox. Thanks to the new transmission, there is always plenty of power on tap, enabling the C220d to pull hard from any speed. It is relatively strong from the dig too, running from 0-100kph in a claimed 6.9 seconds, and it will continue to accelerate hard until 240kph. As expected, it is as frugal as they come, sipping low sulphur diesel at a rate of just 4.8 litres per 100kms. However, as much as Mercedes claims this, in the real world, the best we managed to achieve was late 5s, which is still enough to achieve a fuel range of well over 1000kms. 

As before, safety is good, as the C220d features seven airbags, ABS and EBD, BAS and EBA, a rain sensor for its wipers, electrically-adjustable heated side mirrors, remote central locking, a tyre-pressure monitor, cruise control and a warning triangle as standard. As you imagine, there is a very long list of optional extras, with items ranging from a panoramic sunroof, to navigation to a heads-up display all on offer.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa offers a C220d for virtually any budget. If you’re more into the rental car look or aspire to be a luxury Uber driver, the entry-spec C220d will likely tickle your fancy. It’s priced from R684 059, which is slightly cheaper than the entry-level BMW 320d (140kw) priced at R 649 253. Next up is the perfect car for the up and coming executive – the C220d Avantgarde, which is priced at R722 359. And sitting at the top of the sedan pile is the sporty C220d AMG (seen here) which carries a sticker price of R735 059. 

There are also other body styles available – like the stunning C220d coupe AMG Line at R738 665, and the glamorous C220d Cabriolet AMG Line at an eye-watering R907 924. That said, it’s important to know that – excluding the proper AMG variants – Mercedes-Benz SA offers a total of seventeen C-Class derivatives locally, meaning there is a C-Class to suit any budget and style. The C220d comes standard with a 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and a 6-year/100 000km premium maintenance plan.

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