I C What You Did There | Mercedes-Benz C250 AMG Line

BY Azfar Hashim

The main question here: Is it any better than the 328i and A4 2.0 TFSI?

Photos by Azfar Hashim


There are days when it’s lunchtime and I have no bloody idea what to eat. Well typically, it is fast food: fast, filling, artery-clogging unhealthy.  Then there’s a ‘follow-up’ problem: Which one? You see, there are quite a few of ‘em around our office. McDonalds, Burger King, Long John Silver’s and up until recently, Wendy’s. And they’re all within a five km radius. There’s Subway as well; maybe classifying them as ‘fast food’ would potentially see a lawyer’s letter appear on my desk soon, but whatever. Fast food is fast food. 

And among all the fast food, in my humblest opinion McDonalds is the best; it has everything and the most variety on top of being quick. Burger King is good, but problem here is, over time, their burger sizes have shrunken; just last week after ordering their Doubles BBQ Turkey Bacon burger, the counter staff handed to me what I thought was an empty tray, along with a microscope. Long John Silver’s is quick and brilliant when I don’t feel like eating anything bread-ish; however their entire staff looked permanently menopausal, and that makes me depress. Wendy’s, ahh… I got excited when they opened as I love the menu. But after having the same problem as Burger King for breakfast the other day, I decided to stop patronizing them; I hate not being able to see what I eat. Subway? Perpetually long queue, I found myself dead when it was my turn last Tuesday.

Then again on days I am sick of all these fast food, roti prata does the trick. This can be considered fast food, come to think of it; cheap and effing good to boot.

At this point you must be wondering what has fast food got to do with this review. Well, bear with me.

What we have here today is the new C250 with AMG kit. And it looks good, really. Surely it mimics the bigger S-Class, but this AMG Line is something else. Aggressive front and highly detailed rear bumpers, subtle side skirts and to top it off, handsome 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/45 R-18 ContiSportContact SSR rubbers. A nice touch is the pair of exhaust tip peeking out; they’re functioning by the way.

The interior is what has to be the best the segment has ever seen, which I’m bravely sure, you’d agree after you exit either A4 or 3 Series, including Lexus’ IS250. Mercedes must’ve gotten the best designers to work on the cabin to the point it’s faultless.

Although with great displeasure I do not agree with the red chairs and door panels (I’d choose Terracotta brown, thank you very much), the fittings are tight and properly Mercedes. It’s a real leap over the predecessor, and you have to love those air-con vents; I want a set for my room. The cockpit is brilliantly sorted out, with everything obviously designed to make you feel oh-so-at-home; body hugging seat, perfectly sized flat-bottom steering wheel and that Death Star COMAND infotainment system control.

Under the bonnet you get a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine — the same one powering all the something250 in Mercedes’ stable. Paired to a 7-speed ‘box, there’s a good 208 bhp and 350 Nm of torque, plus the ability to go from zero to hero in only 6.6 seconds.

Now for the sake of comparison and to save you the trouble of having to surf multiple sites just to get the digits, the 328i M-Sport whips out 245 bhp, 350 Nm and does the century sprint in 6.1 seconds, the A4 2.0 TFSI quattro produces 211 bhp, 350 Nm and needs 6.5 seconds while the IS250 some 208 bhp, 252 Nm and needs 8.1 seconds. Then there is Volvo’s new S60 T5: 245 bhp, 350 Nm and requiring 6.3 seconds. Go slightly down the price list and you have VW’s CC R-Line with 210 bhp, 280 Nm and take 7.3 seconds.

Back to the C250. Driven with your coat and tie on, it does the job seamlessly; you don’t hear anything coming from the engine compartment, and the gear shifts up and down rather smoothly. It’s a joy to drive compared to the 328i, which feels overly enthusiastic even in Comfort, and the A4 that gives the impression you’re constantly doing jumping jacks. Even in Comfort, too.

On a Saturday night and when you have the urge to play Lewis Hamilton, the C250 remains capable. It thrusts forward with dignity, it overtakes on the expressway without feeling breathless and in a slalom we created, it changes directions in an assuring manner.

The downside to the C250 when compared to the 328i and A4 though, is this: you can never drive it like you stole it even in the most aggressive ‘Sport +’ setting. Yes it is properly fast, no doubt, but when you see a sharp corner ahead, the first thing you’d want to do is tap on the brakes, downshift, brake a little bit more, and then begin steering. In the BMW what you’d do is downshift, brake and then turn in. Then in the all-wheel drive Audi, the sequence is downshift, release accelerator, then turn in. What I’m trying to say is in terms of sportiness and handling, it loses out to the BMW and Audi; it’s a little too soft, and the steering needs more sharpness.

But that was simply myself being all critical. Sans the raar-I-am-Hamilton’s-half-brother mode and back to the real world, I appreciate what the C250 has to offer. It delivers what the average targeted audience looks for in a car: first-class build quality, brilliantly figured cabin, detailed exterior and the right balance of comfort/sporty. The C-Class, specifically this C250, is perfectly sorted in its entirety.

So here you have it: the McDonalds of the junior executive segment. From this day onwards, and I’m sure you would agree, the first car that would come to mind when it comes to a junior executive sedan would be this, the C250; it has everything you would need, neatly, all in one package. Put it next to the 328i, A4, IS250, S60 and CC R-Line, this would be my first choice.

As to who is the Burger King, Long John Silver’s, Wendy’s, Subway and roti prata of the segment, I leave it to you dignified readers to decide…