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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.


Tech spec

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]

Graeme Tuckett

Graeme lives on the Kapiti Coast. He fits bouts of writing, broadcasting and business ownership between his many and varied leisure activities.