Merc’s tech-savvy efficiency certainly won’t leave you feeling blue, writes The Wheel Deal
Perhaps Al Gore and his doomsaying ilk deserve some credit for this but the recent automotive trend of building cars with smaller, more efficient engines is nothing short of revolutionary. Not only do these lither lumps produce the same – if not more – power than their bigger, thirstier predecessors, they also save us money at the pumps and lessen our eco-footprint thanks to their reduced emissions. Volkswagen has had a great deal of success with their twincharged 1.4 TSI engine in both the Tiguan and Golf and now Mercedes-Benz is offering similar earth-saving tech in their popular C-Class sedan.
The badge on its bonnet may be a bit misleading but the supercharged 1.6 that’s actually lurking under the bonnet of this new C180 Blue Efficiency sips 10 percent less fuel than the 1.8 it replaces. Now this may not sound like the greatest feat of engineering but when you consider that both the peak power and torque figures remain unchanged, you’ve just got to doff your hat to the Mercedes-Benz development team. On the road it feels just as good as the previous C180 too and you’d never suspect – barring the occasional hint of supercharger whine – that you were piloting a vehicle endowed with a smaller engine. Syrup smooth right up to the redline, the little 1.6 hustles the Merc around with a surprising amount of vigor and, with the traction control turned off of course, easily achieved the claimed 0-100km/h time on our test strip. A meaty midrange makes highway driving a dream and, armed with cruise control as standard, the comfy C180 Blue Efficiency proved particularly suited to devouring long distance kilometres.
Unfortunately the five-speed automatic gearbox that it’s been mated to left a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Slow to react in both manual and auto modes, it felt decidingly old school in its operation and in nowhere near as accomplished as the units found in its rivals. Mercedes, if you’re listening, please bring this car’s cog-swapping abilities up to date by fitting your 7G-Tronic ‘box.
Besides helping to reduce aerodynamic drag, the Blue Motion’s lowered (15 millimetres to be exact) suspension system has helped to tighten up the handling a little bit. It’s still not quite as sharp as a BMW 320i but for the average C-Class owner it’ll certainly suffice. And although the specially designed, energy-saving power steering does feel a little too light and lacking in feedback the ride on the C180 is wonderfully compliant. Soaking up bumps in true luxury saloon style, it’ll leave both its occupants and driver feeling cool, calm and collected no matter how long or short the journey.
The inside of the Blue Efficiency is pretty much standard C-Class fare, which means you get granite-like build quality, a supremely comfortable driving position and host of electronic gizmos all controlled by the superb COMAND interface system. Festooned with acres of leather and the occasional wood veneer the interior also exudes an inbuilt sense of space and airiness that seems lacking in its closest Audi or BMW competitors. Well-designed, competent to drive and making a concerted effort towards reducing its environmental impact, Mercedes-Benz’s streamlined C180 Blue Efficiency makes a lot of sense in our world dogged by inconvenient truths.
Mercedes-Benz C180 Blue Efficiency Fast Facts:
Engine: 1597cc, supercharged four-cylinder petrol
Power: 115kW at 5200rpm
Torque: 230Nm from 3000 – 4500rpm
0-100km/h: 9.9 seconds (claimed) , 9.97 seconds (achieved)
Top Speed: 223km/h (claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 7.1l/100km (claimed combined)
Price: R338 700
Mercedes-Benz C180 Blue Efficiency Dynolicious Test Results:
Location: Hartebeespoort Drag Strip
Conditions: Fine and sunny, no wind
0-40 km/h: 3.04 seconds
0-60 km/h: 4.82 seconds
0-80 km/h: 7.20 seconds
0-100 km/h: 9.97 seconds
0-120 km/h: 14.17 seconds
1/4 Mile Sprint: 17.28 seconds @ 133. 9 km/h
Very comfortable and luxury car. These cars of Mercedes are really amazing, offering space for 5 persons, luggage and whatever do you like.
very good car ,if you are thinking of buying one do not hesitate. Black with light grey inside color is the perfect combination.