According to the TV commercial, this Mercedes C‑Class is the car that “changes everything”, presumably at around the same time as it’s having whoever is sitting in the passenger seat next to you stare at your chiselled visage with blunt and undisguised carnality.
Sadly, on the day I took the Mercedes for a thrash up and down the Kapiti coast all of my friends were otherwise employed, and so I can’t report on the implied aphrodisiac effects of whatever it is Mercedes have built that front passenger seat from.
But I can at least tell you that the driver’s seat in a 2014 Mercedes C‑Class is a very nice place to spend a few hours. It’s firm and comfortable, it grips you enticingly around the hips, and if you stretch your right leg out a few inches, then a massive lump of something very clever up the front makes a noise like a small grizzly bear gently copulating with a nestful of wasps in the next room, and the entire world starts to move past your peripheral vision very fast indeed.
Which was more or less exactly what I was hoping for, from a car that won’t leave you much change out of $72,000.
There’s a lot to like about this new mid-range Merc. It’s a handsome lump for one thing. Pootling at 30km/h down the mean streets of Lambton Quay of a weekday lunch hour, I swear more than a few pedestrians actually did turn and give it the admiring once-over. In fact, I’m pretty sure that one or two punters even glanced past the car’s pulchritudinous flanks to take in who the driver of the gleaming charcoal beastie might be. Only to look away immediately, having correctly deduced from my T‑shirt and frankly agricultural face, that I couldn’t possibly be the rightful owner.
Once out on the motorway, on a still and blue Wellington day, the Mercedes strode up the tarmac like it couldn’t wait to get to the beach either. In fact, if you are wondering about the motives of the lobbyists who want to raise our maximum speed limit to 120km/h, then this is the car you need to drive to see their point. At 100km/h the C200 just doesn’t want to stop accelerating. Get this car to what feels like a relaxed cruising speed — you know, that sweet spot at which you’re lolloping along at a pace you could happily sit on all day — and you’d better pray that Mr Plod is having a nap (or a fan of European cars — Ed.), because if you glance at the heads up display, trust me, you’ll be clipping along at about 125km/h.
The Mercedes is a sublimely comfortable cruiser, with a heft and solidity about it that those of you who like that sort of thing will adore. It reeks of high build quality and the latest technology, combined with Old World presence, all wrapped up in a truly terrific-looking body.[warning]
Graeme drove a 1,991cc four-cylinder petrol C200 Sedan in Palladium Silver. The car was equipped with COMAND colour display, HDD navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and an incredibly excellent 13-speaker Burmester stereo that made the Buzzcocks sound as though they were sitting in the back seat shouting at him. The car was also equipped with a heads-up display, a glass sunroof and an intelligent LED lighting system, none of which he appreciated as much as he should have.[/warning]