Mercedes-Benz India introduced the C250 AMG performance edition a while back. Since we had not comprehensively reviewed the stock C250 CDI – the model which the AMG edition is based on, we were interested in taking this baby out for a spin. Before we start, however, we need to make it amply clear that this AMG branded machine isn’t the bloodthirsty, ferocious hound that your typical AMGs are. It’s more of a visual package, meant to let aspiring AMG buyers have the legendary nameplate on their machines, even if it is in an obscured and symbolic fashion. There are of course a host of additional goodies you get over your vanilla C250, most of which do make a difference. We took the baby out for a long spin, and really liked it as a product. Here’s our quick review of the machine.
Design and visuals
First off, there isn’t any conspicuous, clear AMG branding on this edition; and for good reason – it’s not a proper AMG machine, more of an visually differentiated, go-faster kit. The AMG edition gets some hot cosmetic and functional upgrades though, which glamorize the C-class by a fair margin. To start with, the AMG edition comes with a sexy black tinted panoramic roof. The feature adds oodles of premium feel to the car, and would make the owner appreciate it all that much while gazing at it from his high rise deck. The kids in the family would be happier too.
Then you have those sporty looking 5 twin-spoke 17 inch alloys with AMG branding. They’re lighter, and look much sharper than the standard wheels. Trying to peek out from within are perforated brake discs up front and Mercedes-Benz branding on the calipers. The exhaust mufflers have been drenched in chrome to let the followers know you are driving a special machine, especially since there is no AMG branding on the car’s body.
The front and rear bumpers carry AMG styling cues, with chiseled side-skirts adding further aggression. Bi-xenon intelligent headlights with LED daytime running lights are standard here. You can have the feature on your normal C250CDI as well, but M-B will charge you extra for that.
The AMG body kit makes the C-class appear substantially more appealing and sportier than its stock variant. Look at it from any angle, and it has the stuff to hold its own against the rivals. This, in our honest opinion, should what the C-class should look like, even its stock trim. A little too much to ask for, but appealing cars sell more. And this one sure has appeal by the bucketloads.
Engine and transmission
No big news here, as the AMG edition is powered by the same 2143cc inline four twin turbo diesel engine that powers the stock 250 CDI. Power output is rated at a very healthy [email protected] 4200 rpm and torque at a disturbingly high 500NM @ 1600-1800 rpm. The engine is mated with the delightful 7G-tronic auto transmission, known for its smooth, seamless shifts. Shifts can be facilitated either via the shifter stick or flappy pedals behind the steering wheel.
That diesel engine, especially with its massive torque has enough spunk to make the C-class an exciting car to drive. 0-100 km/h is a sub 8 second business with 200 km/h not being too tough to achieve. Acceleration is seriously brisk, and this baby is ready to plunge ahead at the slightest dab of the right pedal. Overtaking lesser pieces of metal is a piece of cake, and you can pretty much bring the entire traffic to a standstill as you zoom past them with the punch that this mill carries. The C250 CDI’s engine delivers genuine performance, comparable to cars from a segment above.
The power is laid down to the tar in a fashion slightly fiercer than we know Mercedes cars for. Burying the pedal means the C250CDI will lunge ahead with some degree of severity – and how we love it! Apart from the normal Drive mode you have Manual and AMG edition exclusive – Sport mode. Unlike the normal drive mode which focuses more on comfort and efficiency, the Sport mode lets the revs hold on for longer (almost upto redline) before upshifting and downshifts more quickly too. The suspension gets stiffened up for a more dynamic ride, but more on that later.
The C250 AMG edition comes with an ECO mode, which essentially is a mini Hybrid system and turns the engine off every time you stop. We found the system a little too eager to cut the power – the engine going dead even with a momentary halt. We thought the system will get onto our nerves in the stop-start Mumbai traffic, but as soon as we got caught into a traffic snarl, we realized that the system is smart enough to make out the difference. After a few continued pauses, it stopped shutting itself down. Smart!
Ride and handling
While other may disagree, we found the ground clearance of the AMG edition lower than the stock variant. The AMG edition most definitely rides lower. Even in the normal Drive mode, we had a bit of a problem negotiating speed breakers. The suspension is firm, but handles undulations rather well at low speeds. The lo-pro tyres, along with the firm suspension don’t make for the cushiest ride though. This suspension is different from stock, it’s stiffer, and the slight discomfort apart, there are some very nice benefits emanating from the fact.
Choosing the AMG edition exclusive Sport mode stiffens the suspension further, prepping the car to be chucked around corners with great body control and poise. We found the AMG edition to be quite unique as regards handling. The poise and grip exhibited by the C 250 AMG edition exceeded our expectations by a big margin. The flat bottomed steering wheel also had much more feel and feedback to it than on the stock 250 CDI. There is a pronounced ‘stiff’ feel to the unit at high speeds in a straight line and while hurling the car around corners. A part of this stiffness feels unnatural, but still manages to translate a lot of information to your palms, making corner carving with this baby a quite a thrill.
We absolutely loved the way the suspension rode in the sport mode – flat and unyielding. Even with the pseudo AMG branding, this C250 is capable of making the average Joe feel like an F1 ace. More seasoned drivers would probably be able to read its limitations better, but your everyday enthusiast is guaranteed to come back absolutely elated. The 225/45 Continental rubber offers plenty of grip, and thanks to the suspension this special edition has enough poise to pardon the major part of your offensive moves.
The C250 CDI AMG edition is quite uncharacteristic of a typical Mercedes car as regards handling traits, and borders on being a Bimmer as regards feel and handling. We had a gala time with this baby on the Lonavala twisties, and came away with a newfound respect for the C-class.
Cabin comfort and features
The full color central display within the instrument console has to be one of the highlights of the C250 CDI’s cabin. It instantly lends a modern, premium, and opulent feel to the man behind the wheel, along with delivering a wide array of information. The cabin for the AMG edition is essentially the same as the stock car except for a few changes.
Apart from the delightful panoramic roof, the center console comprises of the ‘Sport’ button which itself is an inclusion enough to tilt the buying decision in Merc’s favor for an enthusiast. Then you have AMG branded floor mats, brushed steel brake/ accelerator / parking brake pedals with black rubber studs for better grip. The 3 digital-analogue dials on the instrument cluster come with special surrounds. Other AMG Sports Package bits include aluminium-look gearshift/selector lever with leather cover.
The rest of the interior, like the stock C250 CDI is draped in opulence with high-quality materials including Nappa leather upholstery and ash wood inserts. The cabin of this car is a special place to be, and the choice of colours, materials and configuration really makes you feel surrounded in opulence. The AMG edition’s cabin is second to none as regards quality and richness.
The back bench can seat three, but the central passenger would have to contend with the transmission tunnel and rear AC vents. The under thigh support could have been a little more, but the seats are still very comfortable, offering good support to the back.
Intelligent auto headlamps, Attention Assist, Cruise Control, Comand system, the special Sport mode, a rich sounding audio system, dual zone climate control and the regular M-B safety gear completes the headlines for the cabin. A remarkably good interior space makes the C250 CDI much more desirable than the lower variants.
It’s surprising how little the AMG edition costs over the standard C250 CDI, while adding a whole array of features to the list. Panoramic roof, special suspension, Sport mode, sexy looking AMG branded wheels, body kit, daytime running lights as standard, storage package with more cubbyholes – the list would get you poorer by a lot more if you went to the market to get your C250 CDI retrofitted with all that stuff. The AMG edition looks substantially better than its vanilla cousin, and surprisingly, feels much better to drive as well. Thankfully, M-B have not gone overboard with the whole AMG idea and a power suit clad executive wouldn’t be a misfit in this baby.
For Rs 77k premium, we really think that the AMG edition is a total steal. In fact we honestly think that replacing the entire C250 CDI line with this version (even without the AMG branded bits) would lure in way more customers for M-B India. We really think that for all those opting for the C250 CDI, choosing this sexy upgrade should be an absolute no-brainer.
Price: Rs 34.62 Lakh ex-Mumbai
The AMG body kit adds heavily to the car’s presence. Notice the AMG style front bumper with upside down central air dam
Panoramic sunroof makes driving with family a much more enjoyable experience.
Rear windscreen blinds.
Rear door features manually retractable blinds
Power window and seat control switches laid out in typical Merc fashion – the setup works like a charm.
USB – in beneath the front passengers’ central armrest
Brushed steel peals with rubber studs.
Extremely well built, functional and ergonomically designed cabin. Reeks quality
Light sensors for the auto lamps
Displacement (cc) 2143
Rated output 204bhp at 4200
Rated torque 500Nm at 1600-1800
Compression ratio 16.2:1
Tank capacity/with reserve (l) 66/8
Chassis (standard) and wheels
Front tyres/wheels 225/45 R17
Rear tyres/wheels 225/45 R17
Boot capacity (VDA) (I) 475
Turning circle (m) 10.84
Kerb weight/payload capacity (kg) 1655
Perm. GVW (kg) 2120