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Mercedes-Benz C200 (Mild Hybrid): Subtle restyle, smaller engine make big change

By Ghaith Madadha - Dec 28,2020 - Last updated at Dec 28,2020

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

First launched in 2014, the fourth generation junior executive C-Class was conceived to be a more luxurious entry point to Mercedes-Benz’s more exclusive in-line, rear-drive saloon models. Pitched as a first step towards the S-Class full luxury saloon, more than a sporty competitor to the BMW 3-Series, the C-Class’ design, technology and ambiance all looked toward Stuttgart’s flagship for inspiration.

Face-lifted in mid-2018, the revised C-Class adopted even more advanced technology, a subtly aesthetic refresh, and more significantly, now features more electrified and downsized engine variants.

 

Subtle refresh

 

Of Mercedes’ best current designs, the refreshed C-Class is little altered visually, but gets revised front and rear light elements for a moodier, more prominently browed effect at the front. It also receives mildly restyled front and rear bumpers. The front fascia’s biggest changes are taller side intake elements and slimmer and curvier bodywork elements above this, and beneath the headlights. Rear changes are similarly limited, but include a more prominent lower air diffuser and chrome elements, as driven with the AMG Line appearance package. 

The AMG package also features a wider lower intake honeycomb mesh element and sportier grille elements including a single thick slat flanking its emblem and a diamond style studded background. However, the biggest change to the driven C200 variant — at least as far as some markets like Jordan are concerned — is under the hood, with the replacement of its predecessor’s familiar 2-litre engine in favour of a significantly downsized 1.5-litre engine, coupled with a 48V starter/generator mild hybrid system to make up the performance difference.

 

Muscularly downsized

 

A turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder engine like its larger predecessor, the new 1.5-litre engine is deployed for the entry-level end of the C-Class range including the C160 and C180, but is in its most powerful guise in C200 service. Developing the same power and just less 15lb/ft torque than its predecessor, the new C200 produces 181BHP at 5,800-6,100rpm and 207lb/ft throughout a now narrower 3,000-4,000rpm range. Meanwhile, its electric starter/generator system recovers and stores kinetic braking energy and can produce 13BHP and up to 118lb/ft.

Operating some ancillary systems to reduce reliance on the combustion engine and to allow for longer coasting and stop/start functionality, the C200’s mild 48V hybrid system can also pitch in its power and some torque output when necessary, including at low revs, before its turbocharger has fully spooled up. A capable engine when on boost, the C200 is confident and quick at its muscular torque plateau and peak power sweet spot. Meanwhile, its slick shifting 9-speed automatic gearbox well-utilises available output for performance, versatility and efficiency.

 

Nimble efficiency

 

Smooth and refined for such an engine producing so much from so little displacement, the C200 is a more efficient car than its predecessor, with frugal 6.3l/100km combined cycle fuel consumption. An admirably capable engine in many ways, the 1.5-litre C200’s power plant takes only slightly longer through 0-100km/h but however trades off a slight measure of visceral real world performance, low-end versatility or fluency next to its larger, thirstier 2-litre predecessor. From standstill, it is not quite as responsive, while boost and electric drive input seem to arrive less gradually.

Capable of carrying its 1,505kg mass through 0-100km/h in just 7.7-seconds and onto a 239km/h maximum, the C200 is a reasonably brisk car with good mid-range flexibility and top-end power. Built on one of Mercedes’ sportiest, most agile and rewarding platforms, the C200 is a fun car to hustle along winding roads, with crisp, tidy and quick turn-in from its direct electric-assisted steering. Well-containing body lean through corners, the C200 meanwhile benefits from reassuringly confident braking and a number of safety and driver assistance systems.

 

Stylish and sporty

 

Nimble and adjustable through corners, handling and driving fluency is however is better served by keeping high revs and feathering the throttle when exiting corners at brisk pace, to avoid sudden turbo and electric boost from loosening rear grip and calling in electronic stability controls. A sporty handling drive, the C200 is confidently stable at speed, buttoned down vertically, and settled on rebound. Manoeuvrable in town, the C200 is comfortable, yet rides slightly on the firm side over sharp bumps and cracks, as driven with optional sporty low profile tyres.

A refined and classy car, the C200’s cabin has a sportily up-market ambiance with good quality materials, and stylish design with its thick steering wheel, circular vents and jutting dashboard. Comfortable and well-adjustable in front, the C200 provides a terrific driving position, while luggage volume and rear seating is fair for its segment, if not highly spacious for seating tall and large occupants in tandem. Refreshed inside, the revised and well-equipped C200 receives new colours, enhanced technology and infotainment systems including improved instrument and centre displays.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 1.5-litre, turbocharged, in-line 4-cylinders, 

Electric motor: 48V starter/generator

Bore x stroke: 80.4 x 73.7mm

Compression ratio: 10.5:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection

Gearbox: 9-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive

Ratios: 1st 5.35; 2nd 3.24; 3rd 2.25; 4th 1.64; 5th 1.21; 6th 1.0; 7th 0.86; 8th 0.72; 9th 0.60

Reverse/final drive: 4.8/3.07

Petrol engine power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 181 (184) [135] @5,800-6,100rpm

Electric motor, power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 13 (14) [10]

Petrol engine torque, lb/ft (Nm): 206.5 (280) @3,000-4,000rpm

Electric motor, torque, lb/ft (Nm): 118 (160)

0-100km/h: 7.7-seconds

Top speed: 239km

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.0-6.3 litres/100km 

CO2 emissions, combined: 136-144g/km

Fuel capacity: 41-litres

Length: 4,686mm

Width: 1,810mm

Height: 1,442mm

Wheelbase: 2,840mm

Track, F/R: 1,588/1,570mm

Aerodynamic drag co-efficiency: 0.26

Overhang, F/R: 790/1,056mm

Headroom, F/R: 1,039/942mm

Legroom, F/R: 1,066/812mm

Shoulder room, F/R: 1,404/1,398mm

Luggage volume (without spare tyre): 435-litres

Payload: 580kg

Kerb weight: 1,505kg

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning Circle: 11.22-metres

Suspension: Multilink

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs 305mm/discs 300mm, regenerative braking

Tyres, F/R: 225/40R19/255/35R19

 

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