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Old 10th May 2012, 18:46   #1
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Default The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

First of all it's my first review so the disclaimer that it might not be as you expect it to be. Also, I express my opinions very blatantly - no offense intended to anyone. Also, I know many of you have chosen this name, so did I - it just suits the car! Enjoy!
PS: feedback most welcome!


- All the alternatives that were considered, and why you zeroed in on this particular car


This car was to replace the 2007 Toyota Camry AT - had to be luxurious, powerful, loaded and Diesel - it had to be luxurious and a sedan! It was going to be driven by me and our chauffeur 50-50 - so had to have a very good driving experience and equally good rear seat experience!

In the given segment and budget the obvious contenders were:
  1. Audi A4 TDI
  2. BMW 3xxD
  3. Mercedes C2xx CDI
Have liked BMWs and Mercs since a long time, never really liked any Audi besides the Rx and the TT. But, kept it in contention just for the heck of it!

Test drove the C class and BMW 320D.

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BMW 320D
: Felt very peppy to drive, response was great and driving it was pure fun - on the other hand the interiors were a disappointment! They were cramped, boring and too outdated for my liking. Also, overpriced - don't feel it's very value for money, especially with a facelift round the corner. The BMW is better to drive than the others, but for spirited driving - and the lack of equipment, boring interiors and outdated looks - it's not worth compromising all that just for spirtied drives, which won't be happening too often anyways! So it was ruled out!

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Audi A4 TDI: Never been a fan of it's looks (too simple and straight lined for me) interiors on higher trims are very decent and luxurious as well. Lots of friends' own one, so travelled in one - but it's waiting and my dislike made me rule it out - sorry Audi - you have to work harder in your design to gain my vote (no offense to any Audi owners, its my personal choice).

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Mercedes C250 CDI: Test drove this at T&T motors, after spending 30 minutes or so having a good look at it! First impression was that of being lovestruck - the looks from outside are fantastic, appeal to me the most! Inside is great, loaded, posh and rich! It's comfortable both for driver and pax. However the drive was half a step behind that of the BMW - that was more "fun" to drive, but it was good enough for me and can be fun in it's own way!

-Decision


So this was it, Mercedes Benz C250 CDI was the choice, ruled out the other two trims C200 and C220 because of the features they lacked, I do believe that a car is not bought everyday so one should get the best.

The color options were white, black and silver - white was rules out - so the choice was black and silver, black looked more elegant! So black it was, with beige upholstery!

Now the choice between Elegance and Avantgarade - din't like the Alloys, Steering and the Panoramic roof - only thing I preferred in Avantgarade was the grill and the aluminum trim, dealer said both could be added to elegance and Avantgarade wasn't available in pre-budget stock, so confusion over! Mercedes C250 CDI Elegance - Black with beige interiors it was!



- Complete booking & delivery experience from the dealership

Went to T&T Motors Merc's sole dealer in Delhi which has 4 branches in Delhi itself - went to the West Delhi branch, the experience was slow, they took a while to arrange the TD and were confused till they realized that yes, I was a potential buyer! The showroom itself was neat had a good display for 6 cars. Test drive was fine the agent wasn't too keen or enthusiastic, but answered whatever was asked, the condition of the TD car was much better than that of the BMW I TD'd.

Booking was done on phone via higher ups in Merc who passed instructions from Chennai to the dealer - the waiting time was around 20 days - I requested for a delivery in South Delhi branch, which was obliged - also requested the Avantgarade grill to be fitted - which again was obliged.

I was not in a hurry - so did not make any calls/follow ups, received a call from them 20 days ago that the car is ready, since we were busy the delivery was deferred by one week - finally took delivery on 6th May - they especially opened the showroom for one delivery, commendable! car was parked inside itself - the marketing manager explained everything very well, took a few signs - spent some good 2 hours demo'ing the features etc - especially to our chauffeur who needed the lessons in Command controls etc - the marketing manager was very patient especially since it's not his job! Also, note I did a lot of filp-flop on which grill to chose got it changed twice over - finally settled for the Elegance grill (the logo less grill) - to me it looks more elegant and rich - plus the dealer has given a open offer that I can switch to Avantgarade grill anytime I want, so no loss to me - again the dealer was very patient during this, extra points there!

After all the demos and a few signs here and there the traditional bouquet, photograph and the photograph print which was immediate in a very posh leather photo frame - I drove off The Dark Knight.

10/10 for booking and delivery experience.

- On-road price, discounts etc.

For various confidential reasons - I would not like to discuss this - so please don't ask questions regarding this, but the discounts were decent - not groundbreaking and it was a good deal especially with accessories like the grill, mats, cables, xenons etc included.

- The Goods
  • Looks
  • Comfort
  • Attention it grabs
  • Brand value
  • Gadgetry provided
  • Chrome styling - perfectly used in right proportions
  • DRLs - they look oh so sexy! Way better than Audi's IMO
  • Quality of materials used
  • ICE
  • Front seats - the thousands of seating combinations possible
  • Lighting (inside and outside both)
  • Ergonomics
  • Luxuriousness
  • Back seat's comfort
  • Sun blinds at the rear (with sun film banned! It's perfect)
  • Boot space
  • ACC
  • 3 memory slots for driver and co-pax
  • Braking
  • Sturdy Ride
  • Safety levels
  • Linguatronic
  • Connectivity
  • Dealership experience
- The Bads
  • The noise the engine makes (doesn't affect when inside! but outside it sounds bad!)
  • No rear ICE
  • No Navigation
  • Parking assist is very basic
  • Ground clearance (not complaining! raising it will kill the looks!)
  • No remote for the ICE
  • The hump in the rear center
  • Heavy maintenance of black
  • No push start stop
  • No smart key
  • Very small ORVMs - very limited view - Mercedes please improve this ASAP!
  • AC is noisy after fan speed 5
  • Have to switch on the recirculation mode each time one starts the car - irritating!
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- How many kms you have completed at the time of writing your review

The odo has clocked around 1,100kms and has consumed 2 tanks of diesel, has only done city driving and not been driven over 100kmph yet. It has been partially driven by me and partially by the chauffeur say 400-700kms respectively.

- Your usage pattern

Around 30 KMs a day in city - mostly in central Delhi in mild traffic - one or two trips a week to suburbs on the whole not more than 300kms a week. Do plan to take it on a trip to the Himalayas soon though!

- Comments on the exterior styling & design


Beautiful! The exterior styling is superb it is very elegant, proportional and appealing. The curves are just right - it doesn't feel too plain or too curvy - all the parts come together very well! Especially the lights at the rear and the back both give it the perfect finish. My favorite part is the front - I finally chose the Elegance grill after dilly-dallying - to me it looks more posh, elegant and more "Merc" like. The grill, chrome beading and the DRls on the front are the showstopper, it's the sexiest front I have seen in a long time.

9/10 for Design!

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- Overall build quality and fit & finish

Far better than the BMW, at par with the Audi if not better - highest grade of materials used throughout on all trims unlike Audi and BMW which use different materials on lower trims (namely Corporate editions etc). Everything is built to last and the design team deserves a standing ovation for the ergonomics they kept in mind, which some manufacturers just miss. Everything one needs is at the push of a button. Mighty pleased here - way better than the quality of the Japanese Toyota (Camry) I had earlier. Each part comes out together so well!

9/10 for Build quality!

- Interior design & quality

Very posh and elegant interiors especially the dash very well designed with highest quality of materials. The center console looks great and very futuristic unlike the BMW and the Audi which look boring. Also the instrument cluster, looks very sexy - especially when lit up with small LEDs at night!

The back seat is all about the comfort with the very big and practical door panels and electronic sunblinds - as well as a very practical and useful arm rest with pop up cup holders (which feels very cool, the way they pop out!).

Overall interiors are very good, though maybe a little more gadgetry at the back would have been better - like rear ICE, remote, ACC controls, seat adjustment - but then I'm being greedy considering the segment!

8/10 for Interiors!
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- Interior space and comfort

At first space felt less, but then on using it really felt roomy almost as much as the Camry which was huuuuge and very roomy!All four seats are very comfortable and ergonomically great. Though the center hump at the back is a tad too high - which is where the C class loses some points.

7.5/10 for Comfort and Space!


- Air conditioner, seat support, ergonomics and other noteworthy interior points

ACC - very good and effective tested it in 44 degrees Celsius already! Just a little noisy after fan speed 5 and have to switch on recirculation each time one puts the AC on - irritating!

Seat support and comfort is out of this world!

Ergonomics - brilliant.

The equipment is very good, practical and luxurious - some things to be noted are :
  • pop up cup holders at the back
  • back ashtray with DC socket
  • automatic sunblinds
  • 6 different reading/map lights
  • 3 memory slots for driver and co-pax - BEST features from driving point of view!
  • position of seat adjustment buttons
  • steering controls
  • MID and instrument cluster's design
  • Net holders on rear seat and pockets at the back of front seats - as well as space for peripherals in door panels
  • Footwell, door handle, buttons, frames - everything is lighted up and ambient lighting - controllable!
  • Storage bin under co-pax seat, front armrest, rear armrest - very useful!
9/10 for misc interiors!


- Engine performance & driveability in the city

Engine is very powerful, though not had much of an opportunity to test it - but the feedback from the engine is amazing! Depress the gas pedal and the engine responds immediately! For slow speeds the engine is very good though needs to be constantly accelerated (or cruise control like me).

Driveability is great, it's very easy to drive - very easy to get used to!

8/10 for performance!


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- Engine performance & driveability on the highway

Not tested yet, but she will certainly do great when the gas pedal is floored! Can't wait to take her for a spin, hopefully soon.

- Additional comments on the engine (outright power, refinement, turbo-lag etc.) -
Overall opinion on the engine
The engine on the whole is a bit noisy, it's not as peppy as the BMW one but much more than any other car I have owned in this segment or lower. It's response time is very quick - you can feel the power and the power translates into acceleration very quick! The engine is refined, though should be worked on to make it better, the sound needs to be further cut, for sure! The engine is not the types where you take the car to around 60kmph and can take the foot off the gas and expect the car to remain at 60kmph, as soon as you leave the gas pedal at slow speeds - you can feel the power go away and the speed fall down! Constant acceleration is needed, I kind of like that - in my Camry one would not feel much difference between accelerating and otherwise unless one floored the accelerator!

8/10 for engine performance!


- Gearshift / transmission quality, smoothness, response time etc.

This is a 5 gear AT transmission on the C250 CDI - other gearboxes offered is a 7 gear AT on the CGI (petrol) variant (C200). The first reaction is why 5 gears? The car deserves 6 if not 7. But when you drive that questions is soon laid to rest.

The shifts are VERY smooth and accurate - I have driven AT most of my life and this is by far the best AT I have ever driven, even the BMW I TD'd it's transmission wasn't so great, was rather slow! Response time is quick, floor the gas and you won't have to wait till eternity for upshifts - it's instant and that helps you reach fantastic speeds in no time! Also the shifts are very smooth can't feel any jerks - usually the Camry use to jerk when the gas was floored and then after a moment suddenly surge forward (taking it's own time to upshift!). Great transmission system by Mercedes here!

10/10 for transmission!


- Fuel efficiency : City and Highway

This does not really make a difference and can't expect wonders here, but for the trivial information:

City - 9-10 KMPL
Highway - Yet to test

7/10 for fuel efficiency!

- Suspension & ride quality

Great ride quality, very smooth - noiseless and comfortable, gives one the confidence to drive more and faster.

The suspension handles the Indian roads fairly well - smooth and shorter speed breakers are handled very well by the suspension no need to slow down. Potholes too which one misses or unmarked breakers also test the suspension every now and then! And it shows how good it is!

The rear pax will not feel the jerks or the bumps - unless on really drives like a freak. Even at high speeds the car remains grounded and there is no bounce unlike the Camry which used to start getting lighter at higher speeds almost giving the feeling that it will take off!

8.5/10 for suspension!

- Handling, on-road behavior and grip levels

Handling is very easy and comfortable, the steering is on the lighter side and takes no effort to turn it around - even the turning radius is very good, better than the Camry for sure! Slightest of movements of the steering amount to fair bit of movement of the car - also noticed that the tyres tilt on turns - or appear to tilt on turns, looks very cool and I guess it's part of the fancy design by Merc!

8.5/10 for handling!


- Comments on the steering, braking, high speed stability etc.

Not really driven at high speeds yet to comment on the same, done tops of 120 KMPH, car felt rock solid and zero noise, shake, bodyroll.

The car had superb grip on the road and turns very as easy to handle as at 40 KMPH. Very impressive, even the braking which is very smooth and quick - one certainly does not need to floor the brake to stop before rear ending someone. Very stable and gives one the confidence to drive fast.

8/10 for high speed driving!


- Any niggles, problems or part replacements faced

None, yet.

- Quality of after-sales service

None experienced thus far, but seeing the experience during delivery - I'm confident it will be great, also hear great stories from friends and family who have a Mercedes!

- Cost of upkeep & maintenance

Not known yet, but certainly won't be cheap.

- Conclusion


It is the most value for car money I own, I have driven cars from all segments, even owned a few D segment cars. This has been the best, yet. Very happy with the purchase.

The Dark Knight is great to look at, great to sit in and even better to drive - it is the right blend of luxury and practicality - it does come at a price but the folks at Mercedes have priced it justifiably - it's well worth it!

Just wish it was a little more peppy while driving and more loaded at the rear, but then one can't have everything! Looking forward to many miles on The Dark Knight.


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Score Card:
  • 10/10 for Dealership!
  • 9/10 for Design!
  • 9/10 for Build quality!
  • 8/10 for Interiors!
  • 7.5/10 for Comfort and Space!
  • 9/10 for Misc Interiors/Features!
  • 8/10 for Performance!
  • 8/10 for Engine Performance!
  • 10/10 for Transmission!
  • 7/10 for Fuel Efficiency!
  • 8.5/10 for Suspension!
  • 8.5/10 for Handling!
  • 8/10 for High Speed Driving!
Overall:8.5/10
THANKS FOR READING!

PS: I will be adding 2-3 pictures not many, if you have any particular questions or any particular pictures you want, feel free to ask here!

Last edited by Vid6639 : 25th May 2012 at 09:50. Reason: fixing typos.
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Old 25th May 2012, 09:34   #2
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Default Re: The Dark Knight - Mercedes Benz C250 CDI

Moderator's note: Thread moved to ownership section from Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing and excellent review.
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Old 25th May 2012, 10:20   #3
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Default Re: The Dark Knight - Mercedes Benz C250 CDI

congratulations! great review, nearly covered all the aspects.

but more pics of interiors would have made the reading wonderful!
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Old 25th May 2012, 10:26   #4
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Thanks Vidyut for all the help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nayakrnr View Post
congratulations! great review, nearly covered all the aspects.

but more pics of interiors would have made the reading wonderful!
Thanks, will try - any specifics you want?
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Old 25th May 2012, 10:59   #5
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Default Re: The Dark Knight - Mercedes Benz C250 CDI

it is a facelift version, right? the major changes they made is of dash and command control, how about some pics of that.

a humble request not to Photoshop the pics! those look like i,am reading a broucher!
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Old 25th May 2012, 11:52   #6
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Default Re: The Dark Knight - Mercedes Benz C250 CDI

Congrats on your Purchase.Have you got extended warranty done for your car or any Service Packages?

Please update the thread with some more pictures of your Car.
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Old 25th May 2012, 12:00   #7
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@nayakrnr I haven't photoshopped any picture - just taken both in tearing hurry and of course can not reveal the reg# plate so hidden that.

And yes it is the facelifted version - same car is sold globally - where as at the time of purchase both Audi A4 and BMW 320D were one version older than their global products - one more reason to chose the Merc! The COMMAND system and the Dash in general is by miles better than that of the BMW and though it's functions are same (if not better) than the Audi - this one looks much better (again, my personal choice!).


Quote:
Originally Posted by cityvic View Post
Congrats on your Purchase.Have you got extended warranty done for your car or any Service Packages?

Please update the thread with some more pictures of your Car.
Yes, three years.
Will get some interior pictures soon!
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Old 25th May 2012, 16:43   #8
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Default Re: The Dark Knight - Mercedes Benz C250 CDI

Your first review is excellent. Thanks for sharing so much about the car. Will for sure help potential customers (though it does look as if you were biased towards the three pointed star before the purchase .

Black in Delhi in peak summer season with dusty winds blowing almost all day - thats brave.

Also I would agree with the others. Some interior pics - esp. dashboard - would be nice.
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Old 25th May 2012, 17:02   #9
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Wonderful review, extremely detailed. Congrats on the Merc and I hope she serves you well in the years to come.

My brother-in-law recently upgraded his Laura; I gave him considerable warning about German reliability issues. But the Laura had served him well for 70,000 kms (no DSG issues) and he wasn't willing to look Japanese because he wanted a diesel sedan only. His TD experiences in a nutshell:

BMW 320d : Loved the drive, but hated the small cabin. Also, he didn't want to spend 30 big ones on a car that is soon to be phased out.

Audi A4 2.0 TDI : He hated the CVT gearbox and said that the A4 is "very lethargic". The CVT alone killed the deal.

Mercedes C250 CDI : Loved the drive, comfort, space & refinement. Says it feels a "lot more powerful" than the A4. Main downer for him was that the warranty & service plans didn't run as long as BMW. The 3 lakh discount acted as a sweetener and he sealed the deal.
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Old 25th May 2012, 18:40   #10
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Congrats Madnish.

All Mercedes has to do is improve the maintenance plans and warranty and they will have best selling cars.

The C250 CDI is without doubt the best of both worlds. Where the BMW has sporty pretentions and the Audi is just average, the Merc gives best of both worlds.

500Nm torque and 204PS is reason enough to get this car. That's truck like torque!

To top it off it has best rear seat comfort compared to the trio. The rear seats are the best designed in a Merc, they support you in all the right places and the ride is legendary.

If I was to get a premium car I would anyday get the C250CDI or the E250CDI. Best of performance and efficiency.
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Old 25th May 2012, 19:06   #11
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cesc View Post
Your first review is excellent. Thanks for sharing so much about the car. Will for sure help potential customers (though it does look as if you were biased towards the three pointed star before the purchase .

Black in Delhi in peak summer season with dusty winds blowing almost all day - thats brave.

Also I would agree with the others. Some interior pics - esp. dashboard - would be nice.
I was biased against Audi, but not towards Merc - that's how I would put it - reading Audi experiences Karan, Androdev and others have had, their boring looks, outdated model (back then - now facelift is here!), underpowered engine (though they offer 3.0 Quattro as well) and being oh so common in Delhi made me kill that option even before i went to the showroom.

Have a chauffeur - he will maintain the black well, we cover the car at night and try to park it in shade as much as possible, difficult indeed - but the attention black gets is unmatched - as well as it's a real looker - so it's worth the extra effort, besides German manufacturers - Merc, VW, BMW etc are known for their paint jobs - unlike their Asian counterparts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Wonderful review, extremely detailed. Congrats on the Merc and I hope she serves you well in the years to come.

My brother-in-law recently upgraded his Laura; I gave him considerable warning about German reliability issues. But the Laura had served him well for 70,000 kms (no DSG issues) and he wasn't willing to look Japanese because he wanted a diesel sedan only. His TD experiences in a nutshell:

BMW 320d : Loved the drive, but hated the small cabin. Also, he didn't want to spend 30 big ones on a car that is soon to be phased out.

Audi A4 2.0 TDI : He hated the CVT gearbox and said that the A4 is "very lethargic". The CVT alone killed the deal.

Mercedes C250 CDI : Loved the drive, comfort, space & refinement. Says it feels a "lot more powerful" than the A4. Main downer for him was that the warranty & service plans didn't run as long as BMW. The 3 lakh discount acted as a sweetener and he sealed the deal.
Thanks GTO! One more review of another new German black beast in my garage coming soon

Great choice by your BIL there, he won't be disappointed - maintainance might be expensive - but the expereince will always be good - especially road side assistance! I have heard countless stories which are all praise for Merc's service and support. And there are enough horror stories with Audi experiences, also BMW's run flat tyre is scary - especially after reading one horrible instance here on BHP itself, especially considering that we travel to the hills 2-3 times/year (did confirm before buying that Merc dealers and service centers are within reach in those areas where as BMW and Audi not even anything close).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Congrats Madnish.

All Mercedes has to do is improve the maintenance plans and warranty and they will have best selling cars.

The C250 CDI is without doubt the best of both worlds. Where the BMW has sporty pretentions and the Audi is just average, the Merc gives best of both worlds.

500Nm torque and 204PS is reason enough to get this car. That's truck like torque!

To top it off it has best rear seat comfort compared to the trio. The rear seats are the best designed in a Merc, they support you in all the right places and the ride is legendary.

If I was to get a premium car I would anyday get the C250CDI or the E250CDI. Best of performance and efficiency.
Thanks Vidyut!

Exactly the reason why I too chose the Merc! Not worth the BMW for the added fun in the driving - Audi is just at par with Merc inside - driving is dull on it, so this makes the most sense - also, it's not too common.


It is interesting now that my entire garage is now German - a very years ago it was all Japanese with Toyota and Honda, some Suzuki too! Nice shift, no complains till now! But, indeed some vast difference between the two.
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Old 25th May 2012, 19:36   #12
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Pictures - Interiors

Sorry about the quality, they are in a moving car from a Cellphone camera - feel free to request any specific angels/views you want.


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Pictures - Exteriors

Sorry about the quality, they are in a moving car from a Cellphone camera - feel free to request any specific angels/views you want.


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Old 25th May 2012, 20:59   #13
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Thanks for the lovely interior shots.

Some more exterior ones please.
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Old 26th May 2012, 03:21   #14
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Excellent choice! Congrats on the great car, you won't regret buying a C-class!

My dad just ordered a C250 CDI yesterday. Our car is white, and in the Avantgarde trim, but without a sunroof. The car will only be delivered in the middle of June. I'll post a detailed review when we get it.

Enjoy your car madnish30!!
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Old 26th May 2012, 09:14   #15
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Default Re: The Dark Knight : Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI

Congratulations !
I knew i had to respond on this thread as soon as i read it as your liking and choices are diametrically OPPOSITE to that of mine !
Am sure the 500nm of torque has completely blown you away.
Trust me i know how it feels driving around in a not so subtle 240hp/500nm specimen myself.
That apart , i adore Audis (for obvious reasons), really like BMWs for the driving pleasure they derive and absolutely hate Mercs & reasons are plenty (pardon me here)
But like you said it all comes down to personal choice.
Enjoy!
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