We all reside in a state of post-traumatic shock. Our hearts yearn for an era when hope was part of our daily thoughts and our minds were not so ravaged by our environment. As we skirt the realm of our infinite possibilities, there is one reality that marches forward with no regard for the passage of time or the temporary nature of self: technology.
In this fourth iteration of the C Class, Mercedes has created one of those almost perfect singularities that defies belief in its elegance and simultaneously creates a sense of morbid concern: where to from here?
If the objective was to be balance, power, comfort and consumption with trending appeal and business-like functionality without mortgaging your property, then they have done it with this sedan.
You will not mistake this car for anything other than a C-Class; flashier lights front and back with added appeal in the guise of colour-coded bumpers stave off the any of the millennial influencers who need everything to match. If you glance at the rear quickly, it may even hint at Maybach heritage or maybe that’s just wishful thinking: either way, it’s cuter now. Let’s not forget the grinning diamond grill, which gets accolades for just being there and never fails to draw complementary glances from random pedestrians.
The supple and well-designed steering wheel just feels perfectly balanced and suited to this model. Tantalising metal adorns the interior in typical Mercedes lavish style. For this price tag the sheer audacity of standard equipment overwhelms and satisfies all in one swift coup. If you crave attention the “energizing comfort” option adds a dash of ambient lighting with massage functions and then tops it off with ionized air-conditioning and if that was not enough, it can even simulate a stroll on the seashore. OK, the option is there, but apart from the fluctuating lightning and varied blasts of air, it may be compared to a fresh whiff of filtered mountain breeze.
The equipment is simple to grasp and the sound system is strong enough to keep you awake if the active comfort gizmos fail on a long trip. Visibility on all the technology is exemplary and although it may seem a bit daunting at first, there is a systematic logic to all the functions that will have you feeling like a whizz kid in no time.
It’s not cast on this stage as a performance car and it sticks doggedly to its role of being effortless and easy to manoeuver, with just enough aplomb to allow a skilled driver to use its 400Nm of torque with snickering simplicity. It feels more front-wheel drive than rear and the steering input is as predictable as the lottery carry-overs, so unless you are attempting to risk your mortality on a mountain pass, the C220D will not give you any undue pulmonary shocks. Depending on the suspension option you pick, you can insulate yourself against our bumpy roads and unpredictable freeways. Its acceleration is not sluggish for its mass and will leave other vehicles in the dust as you cruise past.
The consumption of this car is probably the most surprising and intimidating secret in this stable for a long time. It scratches at the surface of usage and you can easily keep this car pulsing along at under five litres per 100km. Yes, it is with absolute certainty that we flounce these figures. It really is that good.
Class leading safety, trending good looks, barrels of technology and sedate personality aside, this engine coupled with this chassis is for me the perfect blend of underrated executive car with the occasional sporty alternative. Offering enough space and road presence to place it a cut above the rest, it will definitely be a pragmatic contender to lead this segment.
Price R875 146 (as tested) Base Model R 684 059
Engine 2.0-litre Turbo Diesel
Top Speed 238km/h