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Old 22nd August 2006, 12:28   #1
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Default Mercedes C220 20,000kms Report. EDIT : Now 90,000 kms update!



Have you ever owned the perfect automobile? A diesel car? A RWD diesel car that makes the traction control light blink in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears? A car that accelerates like a mad horse, hits a top indicated speed of 242 kph, handles like a train on rails and yet delivers 11.5 kpl in Bombay city traffic? This is a machine that smokes Honda City Vtecs, Skoda Octavia RS’ and even its petrol supercharged sister – The C200K. With 340 nm of torque, it has only the second best mid-range acceleration in India (to the E280). Butttttttttt the E280 is an automatic, and that’s why I will never consider buying one. (Read my C vs. E comparison here (Short drive with the C220 and the E200K).)


Thats my old C180 in the background

My experience with Mercedes India didn’t quite start off on the right note. My previous Mercedes was a 2003 Silver C180 Petrol. That car was so ridden with problems that it had Rs.3,00,000+ of warranty repair work carried out in a little under the initial two years of ownership. Everything was problematic – right from the engine to the air-con to the electrical system. I sued Mercedes and the rest is history.

Then came the Black C220 CDI. This is one review that will start with the engine.

Engine and transmission :

141 BHP and 340 nm of torque. The only 6 speed manual in Mercedes’ entire Indian range, and quite possibly the fastest accelerating manual diesel car in the country. Though the rest of the car is so good, it’s really the engine that makes it a truly appealing package. A monstrous 340 nm of torque. It does a 0 – 100 in about 9 seconds, and accelerates from 140 – 200 like a regular car does from 0 – 60. The monstrous torque stops you from downshifting (ever) in city traffic. Even if you are cruising at a leisurely 100 kph…floor the throttle and you will be shoved back into the seat. Yup, this car taught my parents all about G-forces. All this and an in-city average of 11.5 complimented with a high 13.xx on the highway. Common-rail certainly rules.

Exteriors / Interiors :



Mercedes did a great job of spicing up the old C’s exteriors with clear lamp headlights, a more aggressively cut bumper, delicious multi-spoke alloy wheels and a sunroof.





People who complain about the C’s interior quality ought to check out my machine. Its light years ahead of my C180, with the new beige leather interiors, a partly redesigned dashboard, laminated dash finish and an extremely sporty instrument cluster (two large dials for speed & rpm). The only clear restriction is space, and 5 people are an impossibly tight fit inside. 4 are comfortable and 2 are perfect.



Ride and Handling :

Before I even took delivery, I upgraded my rubber to 225mm Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3s (thanks to the persistence of fellow moderators Rehaan & Rtech). Typical to most German cars, the low speed ride quality is not refined. It is not exactly harsh, but very firm – firm enough to make you feel the bumps and ridges on our city roads. Build up speed and it’s a different matter. This car is built to cruise at 100 kph+, and thereon takes even the worst of roads in its stride.

The handling is sheer beauty, and brings a smile each time you push it down lonavla ghats. Being RWD, oversteer sets in but never catches you by surprise. It’s very predictable and gradually starts sliding, rather than catching you with a snappy surprise. Either ways, the traction control takes care of things before you would even try to. I have taken corners at speeds that would be unthinkable in most other cars I have owned, and came out of the corner with either a smile or a yawn. Of course, the Eagle F1s helped but the brilliantly right chassis is a joy to experience.

The finer things :

Living with a Mercedes is really about the smaller details. The ultra-solid feeling. The damped glove box lid. Excellent carpeting even in the storage areas. How you shut the door, and all the exterior noise stays where it belongs. There are two focus bulbs which light up the gear knob at night, but I initially couldn’t even find the bulbs (they are well concealed).

Weaknesses :

- Overpriced : Is this car worth 30 lac rupees?

- Exorbitant service costs: About 16 grand for the 1st service (10,000 kms) and close to 35 grand for the second service (due anytime now)

- No extended warranties (Standard is 2 year unlimited mileage plus the customary goodwill warranty thereafter)

- Rear seat space is very dismal.

- The external rear view mirrors are just too small. They are horribly inadequate, and give presence to several blind spots.

- The Speedo is to the left, and the rpm is to the right. Clearly a LHD arrangement.

Problems :

I am sure many of you came straight to this section Mercedes’ lemons are not an illusion; it’s a reality with almost every Mercedes in my circle having problems. After my terrible C180 experience, I had (umm…have) my fingers crossed. Until the 20,000 km mark, there have been only four issues. The first appears to be a design issue that most C Class’ have i.e. ihe plastic clip which holds the handbrake cable always breaks, and makes it interfere with the drive-train to cause a ticking sound. 5 minute of repair. The second is the sun-roof switch acting funny, and never making the sunroof do what you want it to (open, close, tilt up and down). The third is an SRS malfunction warning that had come up on the display. The final is a malfunctioning turn signal on the left side mirror.

This car is special. If it stays trouble free…..like I said in the start…the C220 is the absolutely perfect sedan.

Last edited by GTO : 25th August 2006 at 17:15.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 12:36   #2
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Hey nice review, good to know this one turned out to be as good as you'd expected (maybe a bit more).

How're the tyres holdin up though, since you had traction probs a while ago.

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Old 22nd August 2006, 12:39   #3
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Oops, forgot to mention. I am not particularly happy with the wear rate of the GSD3s. More Information
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Old 22nd August 2006, 12:42   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
Oops, forgot to mention. I am not particularly happy with the wear rate of the GSD3s. More Information
Doesnt it make a lot of tyre noise too?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
Exorbitant service costs: About 16 grand for the 1st service (10,000 kms) and close to 35 grand for the second service (due anytime now)
Not entirely unexpected, is it? Its a package deal where the package costs more than the deal.

Nice review and great to hear you're ripping her!

Last edited by Steeroid : 22nd August 2006 at 12:45.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 12:45   #5
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Great Review dude!

The revamped C really looks brilliant, but like u said- 30L!!!! Bit steep fo rthe car.

But as they say- U can never put a price on passion, and going by ur review, PASSION comes through strongly!

Happy driving!
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Old 22nd August 2006, 12:50   #6
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30?? Wow, I thought it was closer to 25.

Anyways, if you're happy with it, that's all that counts.

Happy driving!
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Old 22nd August 2006, 13:16   #7
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Looks like the decendent of the 190E is finally getting into the grandfathers shoes. Feeling good for you that you kept to the Mercedes inspite of the experience with the C180. That three-pointed star is always special, hope they earn their (pre-1990's) reputation back.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 13:31   #8
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I just got one thing to say, you are LUCKY
Firstly coz your car thats upto your mark. Secondly because you have one of the most problematic model (imo) and yet havent had problems!
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Old 22nd August 2006, 13:44   #9
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@GTO ,Wonderful write up , the pic on the first post is terrific ,like dont mess with me attitude .
BTW how many times have you done more than 200 kmph + runs?
30 lakh ,man you are rich GTO.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 13:51   #10
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Hey GTO congrats on a problem free (relatively) C-Class, I guess you are a very lucky man!! I have recently spent two months trying to get my friend's C180 fixed & believe me it is one of the most frustating cars I have ever had experience with. Good Luck for the future too!
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Old 22nd August 2006, 13:54   #11
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Is there any sticker on the hood or is it my eyes playing tricks?
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Old 22nd August 2006, 17:00   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artofzen
Is there any sticker on the hood or is it my eyes playing tricks?
nice observation there.... and nice report GTO.... and the color choice... just one word... Puurrrrfect !!!

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Old 22nd August 2006, 21:44   #13
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Excellent review, GTO...
Eagle Eyes, artofzen....
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Old 23rd August 2006, 10:16   #14
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Just realised one more point - The Speedo is to the left, and the rpm to the right. It is clearly a LHD arrangement. Also, I read on a lot of forums that the C Class is optimised for LHD, and in RHD the driving position is not that comfortable. Honestly, I have no complaints on that front.

To answer some questions:

1. Steeroid - Nope, the tyres are not particularly noisy. The first generation was, but the D3s are pretty good on the sound front.

2. Black12rr - On almost every out of town trip.

3. iraghava - The C180 is a waste. Dont push any more money behind that car. Sell it.

4. Artofzen - Great observation! Yup, that is a sticker of the supercar rally in which some of us Team-BHPians had taken part. Heres a picture:

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Old 23rd August 2006, 17:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
3. iraghava - The C180 is a waste. Dont push any more money behind that car. Sell it.
That's what we are trying to do once we have her running well enough for a test-drive atleast!! I wouldn't like to have the car breaking down while on a test-drive to potential customers.
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