Great expectations matched by style

Andrew Whiting, of Andrew Whiting Wealth Consultancy LLP, asks a lot of a new Mercedes aimed at the business market...and it doesn’t disappoint

The ferocious eyes and grill at the front of this sleek machine were surrounded by the suave, slim line curves of the solid chassis. With the chrome grill and Mercedes iconic, classic insignia running along the front spoiler, first impressions of this car were that it had dynamic style and statement. Test driving this car as a businessman, it is certainly a vehicle that lives up to expectations, with fine handling and relaxing journeys to and from business meetings. It is everything that a business professional would need.

Upon receiving the car, I was to road test it during a 130 mile return trip to get an understanding of the Mercedes’ performance, handling and comfort. I wanted a car that could offer effortless cruising on motorways, get me to any destination in swift time and reduce the stresses of regular business travel. It needed to be able to adapt to any driving environment, whether through country lanes, rush-hour traffic or quaint villages and offer something special for weekend adventures.

Sliding into the driver’s seat, I was impressed how the driver’s cabin and instrumentation moulded around you and the console was packed with modern equipment, using touch pad technology to operate some of the car’s functions, visible via an Ipad-esque screen. This was positioned on the centre of the console so that it is easy to use with your left hand but still keep your eyes directly on the road. It controlled the majority of the systems for the running of the car, including navigation audio, synching music stored within personal devices, heating and hands free phone systems. The screen also displayed the usual expected features such as live traffic updates and journey points of interest.

For those of us who aren’t computer savvy, there were normal buttons within the centre console to aid with manually controlling the ventilation system or satellite navigation, for example. One of the quirky features that I thought was useful was the touch pad’s ability to recognise drawn commands and letters and automatically control relevant parts of your smart phone directory or navigation system.

The C220 diesel, aimed at the business market, included all the normal cruise controls and distance warning signals. Although it was a diesel engine I felt that it was hardly noticeable and gone are the days of feeling like you’re driving a tractor.

One further feature available on this model was the ability to change gear via paddles placed at the centre on the steering wheel and although, not being able to utilise this facility fully, the small number of times I used the paddle gears it gave the car a more immediate reaction, which in a sporting environment would be extremely responsive. However, it is debatable whether it’s practical to maximise this feature for everyday driving.

With the slick sports steering wheel, it gave instant response and a comfortable feel when driving. Once on the motorway, I had a smooth and effortless cruise at 70mph. This seemed to undersell just what the car could offer and the abilities it had, but it made for a very easy drive accompanied by a quality sound system. There was only one minor panic during my business trip, with an engine diagnostic light coming on. But after pulling over and making a quick call to the dealership technicians, I was reassured that it was probably only a minor adjustment that was required and that I was perfectly fine to continue with my planned trip.

On the return journey an accident on the motorway had meant that the satnav took me through country lanes and through many charming villages. This allowed me to explore the car’s ability to be driven rather than just cruising. The first thing that struck me was very hard suspension which over rough lanes seemed slightly harsh. However, it did not detract from the car’s ability to handle the winding lanes or stop-start traffic through the towns.

Again the sports steering wheel and ease of handling made it a pleasurable drive. The eco-friendly driving system, which switches the car off automatically when you come to halt, can be over ridden manually so as not to have the frustration of the engine restarting just as you’re trying to accelerate away.

In summary it’s a car that lived up to my expectations and does everything, I feel, that a business driver requires. The question is would I buy it? I had a comfortable and composed business trip in a car that offered a handsome interior, a sense of luxury and terrific handling. Therefore if the structure of the financial package from the dealership was right
then this car may be worth the business investment.

The car Andrew drove was the Mercedes C220 BlueTEC AMG Line Saloon with an on the road price of £30,810.40. The car was kindly supplied by Mercedes-Benz of Wolverhampton, 46 Penn Road, Wolverhampton. WV2 4HD
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