When the current Mercedes-Benz W205 C-Class was launched in 2014, many were impressed by its interior and a vast range of engine choices. As the C-Class is the best-selling product for the company, more attention and care was taken to ensure the changes to the refreshed or facelifted model were done effectively while maintaining the consumer price level.
Mercedes-Benz introduced the new 1.5-litre engine with EQ Boost as part of the company’s effort to increase electrification in its range of products. Together with the 48-volt on-board electrical system, EQ Boost in the new C200 not only provides an increase in straight line acceleration performance, but also a reduction in exhaust emissions.
Specifications for the Mercedes-Benz C200 (EQ Boost)
- Price: RM 259,888 (OTR without insurance)
- Engine: 1.5-litre, inline-4, turbocharged with EQ Boost belt starter/alternator (M264)
- Power: 184 hp @ 5,800 rpm to 6,100 rpm (EQ Boost +13 hp)
- Torque: 280 Nm @ 3,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm (EQ Boost +160 Nm)
- Transmission: 9-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
- Safety: 7 airbags, Blind Spot Monitoring, Collision Warning and Assist, ESP
- Origin: Locally-assembled in Pekan, Pahang
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia currently only offers two variants of the mainstream new C-Class- the C200 Avantgarde and the C300 AMG Line. Standard features in the new C200 include the beautiful digital instrument display, blind spot warning, open-pore wood trim, 10.25-inch media display in wide format, smartphone connectivity, and steering wheel with Touch Control.
The C300 (RM 304,888) meanwhile adds AMG Line bumpers, 19-inch wheels with staggered sizing, Airmatic air suspension, adaptive LED head lamps, Burmester sound system, active lane keeping assist, panoramic moonroof, and surround view camera system.
The company also unveiled the new Coupe models and they feature the same powertrain and differences in features.
The biggest indicator of the new C-class facelift range is the pair of head lamps. The C200 features LED head lamps that look like they are made up of an array of eight glass cubes. The grille in the Avantgarde trim continues to feature the integrated star with two louvres.
The same level of updates was applied to the rear design- just a change in the tail lamp graphics that now illuminates the signature light in a C-shape and a change to the design of chrome trim at the bottom of the bumper.
The 18-inch wheels meanwhile are a multi-spoke pattern in dual-tone finishing.
The interior sports a much more noticeable upgrade in features. Mercedes-Benz has managed to house a 12.3-inch digital instrument display within the original meter hood. The amount of information being displayed as well as customization is truly astounding.
The driver can choose between three different design themes and selection is from the new steering wheel with Touch Control. Layout and function of the controls are as intuitive as it can be- left spoke controls the left media screen while the right spoke controls the right screen, which is the driver’s display.
Occupants also have more controls to the ambient lights, now updated to have a colour palette of 64 colours.
Everything else in the great Mercedes-Benz C-Class interior remains, following the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. High-quality materials together with the open-pore wood trim still make the interior a benchmark that still hasn’t been beaten.
During the drive event organized by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, we spent most of our time in the new C200.
All of us were keen to experience the significant reduction in displacement of the new C200 engine. While the peak output remains the same at 184 hp, the torque sees 20 Nm less when comparing the new 1.5-litre engine to the outgoing 2.0-litre engine.
Straight out of the Cycle and Carriage Bintang TREC City Store, the new C200 surprised us with more pliant suspension tuning over the badly paved roads.
In city traffic, the new engine does not exhibit its lack of displacement. The EQ Boost blends very well to the acceleration requirements, adding 160 Nm to the main crankshaft for a brief period of time.
One does not actually feel the torque boost, as the belt-driven starter/generator is designed to assist in acceleration mainly from a standstill or low speeds before the turbocharger builds up to full pressure.
The EQ Boost and charging function are all done automatically. There is no option for the driver to select more boost or deploy boost for overtaking. On paper, the new C200 is just 0.5 seconds slower from rest to 100 km/h compared to the old 2.0-litre C200 (7.7 seconds versus 7.2 seconds).
The route from the city centre then brought us to the Karak highway, famous for its long ascent and descent combined with fast sweeping curves. While the C200 with comfort-tuned suspension soaked up all irregularities incredibly well in KL city, this suspension tuning unveiled its major compromise on this highway.
The new C200 did not like certain sections of the highway with wavy areas. The suspension was still busy settling down, giving the driver and occupants a reduced sense of surefootedness.
Only on smooth, straight stretches of highway, the new C200 felt more comfortable. There is barely any noise from the road and engine. However, wind noise over the A-pillar is still very apparent. This is surprising as we were told the dealers have a remedy for this wind noise matter.
In our brief time in the much more powerful C300 variant, the vehicle certainly felt very different compared to the C200. Acceleration is a lot more urgent and it sounds much sportier inside the cabin.
Thanks to the fitment of the Airmatic air suspension system, highway drives are certainly well sorted out, as the body movement is properly contained. Other than that, the ambience in the interior felt no different thanks to the generous features that are already found in the more accessible C200.
The new engine with micro hybrid electrification certainly did not disappoint. It might look half a second slower on paper, but in the real world, the new engine with EQ Boost has all the credentials of a respectable engine.
Quiet, smooth, and punchy in a comfort-oriented suspension tuning are qualities that many buyers appreciate, especially with Klang Valley’s deteriorating road conditions. Added to the beautiful and highly digitized interior and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class continues to be the benchmark for premium sedans that many of us aspire to own.