The Mercedes-Benz C 300d looks the part and drives like it too! But is it worth spending an extra five lakh over the C 220d that offers the same diesel powertrain? Divyank finds out.
I’m a straight-up diesel enthusiast! And I have no qualms about expressing my love for the so-called devil’s fuel. This is partly because I learnt how to drive on a diesel vehicle and ever since I’ve been a sucker for the torquey nature of an oil-burner unit. So, naturally, when I was asked to review the new Mercedes-Benz C 300d, I could not have said yes any faster! And I quite like the ‘baby’ S-Class, particularly because it is one of the very few model lines on sale in India that offers a diesel variant as the top dog of the range. But the C 300d finds itself in a tricky situation due to which it has a bit of convincing to do. You see, the C 220d, the variant just below it, offers the same 2.0-litre diesel engine as the C 300d and costs ₹5 lakh less (ex-showroom cost difference). So, here’s the million-dollar question – If someone wants to buy a diesel C-Class, then why not simply go for the C 220d and save some money? And what does the C 300d additionally offer for the premium it demands? Well, it’s time to find out.
Right off the bat, the C 300d looks smashing thanks to its bespoke AMG Line treatment. The other two variants (C 200 & C 220d) are offered in the Avantgarde trim, which in all honesty, makes the C-Class look a bit too mature, a bit too much of an older gentleman’s mobile. Imagine Zac Efron turning up to his high school in a suit instead of a leather jacket & denim jeans in 17 Again. The C 300d though has a very sporty vibe that it flaunts with some pizzazz. And coming back to the AMG Line trim, on the outside, the C 300d offers a bold-looking fascia, thanks to a large radiator grille peppered with three-pointed elements and a huge Mercedes-Benz logo. The grille is flanked by the brand’s top-of-the-shelf Digital Light units. In essence, each of these headlamps is made up of about 1.3 million light pixels that allow the light beam to constantly adapt depending on the road, weather & traffic conditions. And the AMG-spec front bumper further adds to the car’s dynamic appeal.
Likewise, at the back, AMG treatment has also been given to the rear bumper. It features a faux diffuser insert and twin chrome-lined exhaust outlets. Visually, what sets the C 300d apart further are the bespoke 18-inch AMG five-spoke alloy wheels (17-inch wheels offered on the lower variants) and sporty AMG side sills.
The Inner Beauty
Jump inside the C 300d and the AMG Line treatment continues. The cabin is draped in a very tasteful two-tone Sienna Brown & Black Artico leather upholstery that gives a very sumptuous feel to the cockpit. The driver is also greeted by a twin-spoke AMG flat-bottom steering wheel that’s wrapped in soft Nappa leather, AMG brushed stainless steel sports pedals with black rubber studs, a metal-weave trim finisher on the dashboard and a plethora of trim elements finished either in silver chrome or high gloss black. Add to the mix AMG-spec headrests and the overall feel of the cabin is quite sublime. The 11.9-inch infotainment screen and 12.3-inch digital driver display are shared across the C-Class range and, as always, offer unmatched graphics and quality. But for me, the key party pieces of the C 300d’s cabin are the 64-colour ambient mood lighting and the bespoke 15-speaker 710W Burmester 3D surround sound system. At night, with the ambient lighting in all its glory, the C 300d’s cabin looks funkier than Leslie Jones’ hairstyle! And the fact that the Burmester system lets me store individual sound profiles only sweetens the deal.
'At night, with the ambient lighting in all its glory, the C 300d’s cabin looks funkier than Leslie Jones’ hairstyle!'
Warp Speed, Mr Spock!
Now I’d like to draw the reader’s attention to the star attraction of this car – its diesel heart. The four-cylinder OM654M unit is the first diesel engine from Mercedes-Benz India to get the brand’s 48V integrated starter-alternator (ISG) technology. And in the C 300d, it offers a supreme 261bhp and 550Nm of torque, thanks to the Boost function from the onboard electrical system. In comparison, the same unit in the C 220d offers 191bhp and 440Nm of torque. Ask anyone – that’s a BIG difference. And the results are more than apparent on the road. The C 300d simply wafts through and the accelerator pedal is more of a hyperspace button – one gentle press is all it takes to launch the car ahead with a palpable surge of torque. Now, I agree that all of that 261bhp may seldom be fully usable, especially in the city, but it’s good to know there’s enough oomph at the disposal of my right foot to blow the competition out of the water, all day every day! Overall, the drive experience was quite hard to fault – the ride quality is surprisingly good for a car with 18-inch wheels and the AMG steering wheel is not only great to hold but it’s well-weighted and super precise as well. On the downside, the only cause of concern for me was its low ground clearance – it’s very easy to scrape the underside even on smaller speed-breakers.
So, to summarise, the C 300d is a diesel sedan that’s as docile as a Beagle but it’s always ready to pounce and attack like a Cane Corso, and it’s loaded to the gills with top-notch features & equipment. And to answer the original question, for that extra five lakh, there’s a hell of a lot of bespoke elements that indeed justify the C 300d’s positioning as the top dog of the range and its appeal over the C 220d. Thus, if I were given the choice, I’d happily opt for the C 300d, because when it comes to making the driver & passengers feel truly special, nothing in the segment comes even close!
- Mercedes-Benz C 300d
Engine: 1,993cc / Four-Cylinder / Turbocharged (with ISG)
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic / Rear-Wheel Drive
Power: 261bhp @ 4,200rpm
Torque: 550Nm @ 1,800 – 2,200rpm
Price: ₹61 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: A superb diesel engine and bespoke AMG Line treatment make the C 300d a very desirable & attractive prospect!