Mercedes C320 CDI Sport Ambleside
Mercedes C320 CDI Sport
Busy, busy, busy! Our Mercedes C-Class has had one of the most hectic
years of any car we’ve ever tested on our long-term fleet. You name it,
and our diesel Sport model has done it!
We’ve put it through its
high-speed paces on a demanding handling track at Mercedes-Benz World
in Surrey. Then there was the session on a skidpan, testing out the
Merc’s excellent safety and stability systems. In addition, it’s been
part of several high-profile tests, mixing it with fierce new rivals
from the likes of BMW and Audi on road and track.
Oh, and it’s
attended a photocall at one of the UK’s leading karting circuits, as
well as being serviced by Mercedes’ own European-award-winning
mechanics from south London.
Add in all the mileage that our C320
CDI has clocked up in motorway and town commuting, plus the many other
demands of everyday life, and I think you will agree that this is one
test car which has certainly earned its keep.
So, as we prepare
to hand back the C-Class after 14 months, what end-of-term summing up
does our sporty Merc get? Well, if this was a school report, we’d give
it a ‘highly promising, but there’s room for improvement’. It looks
good with its lowered suspension and AMG cosmetics, is surprisingly
quick thanks to its powerhouse engine, and delivers highly respectable
mid-30mpg economy. But we’d prefer to see a bit more personality in
what is a bland cabin, while build quality, although better than the
previous model’s, is still some way short of its predecessors from the
Seventies and Eighties. We were also disappointed to find a rattly
driver’s seat, squeaky electric folding door mirror and malfunctioning
Also, for a top-spec model with all the bells
and whistles, I would have liked a bit more flexibility. I was forced
to borrow another long-termer – a Jaguar XF – to transport a
glass-topped coffee table. The British model swallowed this item with
reasonable ease, thanks to its folding rear seats. If Jaguar fits this
useful feature as standard, why can’t Mercedes?
And I guess that
sums up life with the C-Class. There’s plenty to like about it,
especially in Sport trim, but with a bit more attention to detail, it
could go from being good to being great.
Author: David Johns