Tale of the Cs: A merry drive in 3 Mercedes C-Class to Camerons

By HONG BOON HOW | 2 January 2019


A C 300 AMG leading the pack to Camerons.


Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s recently updated and locally assembled C-Class line-up loads up new features with minimal increase in price.

Aside from offering breath-taking views of verdant hills and valleys, the trunk road linking Cameron Highlands’ Ringlet to Sungai Koyan town some 80km is relatively deserted as it’s mostly used by locals.

Being a wide and well-paved road with twisty corners and gentle slopes, this fairly traffic-free stretch is also an ideal setting for anyone to test out the handling and performance of their cars.

We had the opportunity to try some of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s newly introduced C-Class line-up on this road during a media drive and ended up with miles of smiles.

Consisting of the C 200 Avantgarde, C 300 AMG and the Mercedes-AMG C 43 and priced from RM259,888 to RM421,888, the C-Class ensemble ups the ante in the local Continental sporty sedan market with higher levels of luxury, driving assistance and infotainment.

The C 200 Avantgarde.
The C 200 Avantgarde.
Mercedes-Benz C 200 Avantgarde

As the entry variant of the new C-Class line-up, the C 200 Avantgarde now comes with a downsized 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 184hp and 280Nm of torque, from a 2.0-litre unit that cranks out 184hp and 300Nm of torque previously.

However, this new engine comes with a 48-volt EQ Boost system that uses a starter/alternator combination to provide additional push of 13hp and 160Nm of torque at low-end speed before the turbocharger builds up a full charge.

As a result, low-speed performance is punchy with no noticeable sluggishness or turbo lag when the accelerator is floored.

Even with a smaller engine that promises a frugal fuel consumption of 6.0 to 6.3 litres of fuel per 100km, the C 200 is still a quick car capable of doing the 0-100kph sprint in 7.7 seconds and top speed of 239kph.

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The C 200’s LED headlights have more light elements and look prettier than those on the C 300 and C 43.
Mercedes-Benz C 200 - 08


Featuring a smooth shifting 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission, power delivery is silky and this adds to a refined driving experience.

Outside, the grille is a mesh-type with double lourves and a large centre three-pointed star logo.

The C 200’s high-performance LED headlamps with multiple internal elements are probably its most stunning exterior feature, looking even better than those of its more upmarket C 300 and C 43 sibling.

Elsewhere, the use of high-sheen chrome at the lower front and rear bumpers adds a level of sophistication.

Meanwhile, the cabin gets open-pore grey oak wood trim, Artico leather interior and a high-tech widescreen cockpit design comprising a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch centre display, which can be controlled by steering wheel touch control buttons that are activated by swiping motion just like on smartphone screens.

Mercedes-Benz C 200 - 19


The digital instrument panel display also comes with three choices of Classic, Sport and Progressive styling to suit your viewing preference.

Smartphone integration with the media system is available via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

With Keyless-Go smart key system, entering and driving the car can be done even with the key fob in the pocket or handbag.

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Another new feature that is useful in crowded urban driving is the blind spot assist that detects vehicles passing from the rear and warns the driver not to change his lane or risk collision.

Besides operating at speeds from 10 to 200kph, the blind spot assist also stays active for three minutes once the car is switched off, so the driver is warned of rear incoming vehicles should he want to open the door.

Good sound insulation keeps the interior quiet even when the C 200 is driven fast or over rough surfaces.
Ride is set at comfort and handling is still good as we drove up fast to Cameron Highlands on the Ringlet-Sungai Koyan road.

However, taking sharp corners and bumpy stretches at tyre-screeching speeds will see the C 200’s handling ability pushed to the limits and result in reduced ride quality.

Nevertheless, buyers of the C 200 are likely to drive their cars in a more dignified manner rather than like high-performance sports cars.

With a price of RM259,888 (on-the-road without insurance), the C 200 certainly comes with a lot of new features at a slight price increase of some RM4,000 over the pre-facelifted variant.

The C 300 AMG.
The C 300 AMG.
Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG

The C 300 AMG, on the other hand, is the next step up from the C 200 and gets a heap of features and a much more powerful 2.0-litre twin scroll turbocharged engine.

Priced at RM304,888, additional equipment in the C 300 include the AMG sports steering wheel with flat bottom and nappa leather, Airmatic suspension system, intelligent LED headlamps, electric panoramic sliding glass sunroof, surround view camera and Burmester sound system to name a few.

Aside from Artico leather upholstery, the trimming is now open pore black ash wood.

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The C 300’s grille is the Diamond-type, which was used in the previous Mercedes-AMG C 43 variant.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol twin-scroll turbocharged engine now pumps out 258hp or 14hp more than the previous variant, while peak torque of 370Nm remains the same.

Equipped with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission, the C 300 can complete the 0-100kph dash in 5.9 seconds and has an electronically governed top speed of 250kph.

Its fuel consumption of 6.5 to 6.9 litres per 100km is a bit higher than the C 200’s but is still decent for a 2.0-litre turbocharged car.

The C 300’s exhaust note is also sportier-sounding than the C 200’s and this increases the driving thrill.
However, drive sedately and the C 300 can be quiet and serene inside.

The new 12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel replaces the previous digital-analogue dial combo.
The new 12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel replaces the previous digital-analogue dial combo.
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With air suspension, ride is comfortable even with larger 19-inch low profile run-flat tyres.

Another new feature is the active lane keeping assist that warns the driver with pulsed vibrations on the steering wheel when the C 300 has unintentionally drifted off its lane at speeds between 60 and 200kph.

If the car drifts across solid lines, the C 300 will apply brakes on one side to pull the car back into its lane.

The C 300 ticks the right boxes for a compact luxury sedan that combines driving thrills with plenty of comfort features.

The C 43 4MATIC is the quickest of the trio.
The C 43 4MATIC is the quickest of the trio.
Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC

With its 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo engine output now boosted by 23hp to 390hp while maintaining the maximum torque at 520Nm, this “nasty boy” is easily the most swift-footed of the trio.

The 0-100kph dash can be despatched in a thriller-quick 4.7 seconds.

Top speed is electronically capped at 250kph to keep over-enthusiastic owners from going overboard.

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Featuring the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, power is intelligently distributed to the wheels that require it and this results in high levels of traction and agility.

Sharp corners can be easily taken at higher-than-usual speed without much drama during our turn with this steroids-infused ride from Kuala Lumpur to Bentong.

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Compared with the C 200 and C 300, the C 43’s ride is definitely firmer along with a much sharper and more precise steering response.

Also new to the C 43 is the inclusion of Slippery in the AMG Selective Drive modes, which previously had Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.

The combination of rapid acceleration, raucous exhaust roar and quick-shifting AMG Shiftspeed 9G TCT Sports transmission easily kept us wanting to continue driving the C 43 fast.

The front seats came with side bolsters to keep us firmly anchored in during fast cornering.

Interior trimming of AMG matt silver glass-fibre with red designo seat belts impart a sporty feel.

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While the C 43’s comfort and convenience features are similar to the C 300’s, the C 43’s key appeal comes mainly from its raw power delivery and over-the-top driving excitement.

The C 43’s price of RM421,888 is likely to put it only in the hands of well-heeled and hard-core AMG fans who are willing to fork out extra cash for a way speedier car.

Otherwise, the performance and features of the C 300 are not far off from the C 43 if you want a sporty C-Class without paying an extra RM117,000.



SPECIFICATIONS


Mercedes-Benz C 200 Avantgarde

Engine: 1,497cc, 4-cylinder, turbocharged
Maximum power: 184hp from 5,800 to 6,100rpm plus 13hp EQ Boost
Maximum torque: 280Nm from 3,000 to 4,000rpm plus 160Nm EQ Boost
Transmission: 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic
Acceleration (0-100kph): 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 239kph
Features: Seven airbags, Keyless-Go, 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, runflat tyres, open-pore grey oak wood trim, AGILITY CONTROL suspension, DYNAMIC SELECT, LED headlamps, active brake assist, autonomous emergency braking, reverse camera, active parking assist, blind spot assist, cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC speed limiter, twin pipe exhaust system, Audio 20 GPS, 12.3-inch all-digital instrument display, 10.25-inch media display, touch pad, SD card-based navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
Price (OTR without insurance): RM259,888


Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG


Engine: 1,991cc, 4-cylinder, twin scroll turbo
Maximum power: 258hp from 5,800 to 6,100rpm
Maximum torque: 370Nm from 1,800 to 4,000rpm
Transmission: 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic
Acceleration (0-100kph): 5.9 seconds
Top speed: 250kph
Features: C 200 features plus 19-inch 5 twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels, black open pore ash wood trim, AIRMATIC suspension, LED
Intelligent Light System, electric panoramic sliding glass sunroof, surround view camera, active lane keeping assist, Burmester sound system
Price (OTR without insurance): RM304,888


Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC

Engine: 2,996cc, V6, bi-turbo
Maximum power: 390hp at 6,100rpm
Maximum torque: 520Nm from 2,500 to 5,000rpm
Transmission: AMG Speedshift 9G TCT Sports
Acceleration (0-100kph): 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 250kph
Features: C 300 features plus AMG matt silver glass-fibre trim, AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension, AMG DYNAMIC SELECT, sport exhaust System, AMG spoiler lip, adaptive highbeam assist plus
Price (OTR without insurance): RM421,888

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