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Hyundai Creta owner's crazy experience test driving the Mercedes C220d

Although I've sat in a Merc before, the most expensive & powerful car that I've driven till date was the Mahindra Thar Diesel AT.

BHPian rGT recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Today, my friend and I were headed to a Go-karting place, only to realise that the place was under renovation. We headed back, and I was disappointed as I really wanted to get some adrenaline pumping after a lacklustre week.

Then I spotted the T&T Motors banner and immediately had a brainwave. I asked my friend if he had ever experienced a Merc. He replied in the negative. And off we went to the showroom like two good-for-nothing vagabonds to get a taste of The Silver Star.

We entered and were courteously introduced to a SA. I enquired about the C300d, to which he replied that because of fewer allotments, the 300d wasn't available. No problem, the C220d then. And immediately he asked if we were interested in a test drive! Aah! Couldn't have asked for more.

He took us to the basement, where the test drive cars were kept. Because the entire building was being renovated, they were also keeping the customers' cars there. We saw a white GLC 43, a black E 53 and a G 63 in what must be the Selenite Grey colour in a satin finish. The G looked heavenly. Our test drive car was a Cavansite Blue coloured one, and it did look beautiful.

We got in, and I began setting the seat position to my comfort. Here, the SA asked for my height (6'0") and did something on that massive centre console screen, which made the seat move automatically as per my height, and I must say, it was a rather comfortable position. The SA went on to explain some connected features of the car, but I was way too excited for the actual drive to focus on all of that.

Now let's hop on to the actual driving experience. Mind you, I haven't driven a lot of cars before. Although I've sat in a Merc (pre-facelift GLC 220d) before the C, the most expensive and powerful car I've driven was the Thar Diesel AT. So my comparison points are also similar. Obviously, the C is the best car I've driven till date.

Somehow, I didn't feel intimidated when I first got into the car, it was as if everything was fresh in my mind (thanks to TBHP reviews). Pushed the gear stalk downwards to put the car in D, and we crept forward smoothly. The diesel motor felt smooth and refined at low revs. Drove out of the basement and onto the main road, and dug the throttle by about 50% and the linear pushback onto the seat put a grin on my face. I knew then and there that this was gonna be a bit of a roller coaster drive.

Did a U-turn, took an empty lane, and gave it the beans, and the C just zipped past the other cars. The pushback onto the seats, although linear, was clearly felt. And this was the Eco mode. I asked the SA to change it to Sport mode, and surprisingly he did so without any hesitation at all! Immediately the revs rose, and the throttle response became distinctly sharper. And I pinned it again, and OH MY GOD!

This time, the C flew! And during the entire drive, I made zealous use of the paddle shifters, which gave a click-clack sound. Did some unmentionable speeds in relative ease and effortlessness. The test drive was a short 2 km one on a pre-set route. So all that fun was over way too soon. I just couldn't imagine how manic the 265ps C300d would be if this was the case with the C220d. After the test drive, I saw my friend's bewildered face (couldn't gather if the bewilderment was because of the drive or because of my audacity).

A few takeaways from the drive:

  1. The engine is pretty smooth and refined throughout the rev range, and it is only audible at higher revs. The engine note itself isn't bad for a diesel.
  2. The 9G-Tronic is a smooth-shifting gearbox, but it was also decently quick. The responses for both upshifts and downshifts in Sport mode with the paddle shifters were pretty quick for a TC.
  3. The suspension was neither soft nor stiff. It felt just right. Sharp bumps could be felt, but shouldn't be a deal breaker for most.
  4. The C220d has a 6-speaker music system, which is just about okay. Nothing to write home about.
  5. The car's auto start/stop system is smooth, but it can be felt when the engine shuts on/off. I turned it off at the beginning of the drive, so as to minimise its hindrance.
  6. The steering, in all honesty, didn't feel really different from that in our Creta. It's light, direct and accurate, but lacks feedback.
  7. Talking of the steering, the horn pad is hard, and also a stretch for the fingers. Can be a bit of a problem in dense and chaotic Indian traffic.
  8. Using the massive screen in the middle for almost all purposes while driving is a challenge, and would take time to get used to.
  9. Visibility all around was pretty good. Having been used to a C-SUV, I didn't feel anything untoward or odd when it came to viewing the surroundings.

All of my observations are related to the actual driving experience, and not to the car overall, the reason being, I was too engrossed in driving it. Forgive me, if certain observations are noob-like, but this was the first ever test drive, where I was actually driving the car, and was not just a passenger.

That's about it. I want to add a note of appreciation for the folks at T&T Motors, Gurgaon, and our SA, Mr. Mohit Dang, for accommodating us, despite us being seemingly under-aged to buy a Merc.

P.S. The SA was impressed with my ability to use the paddle shifters so ineptly (now I realise why he wasn't hesitant to engage the sport mode). As per him, in his two years of being a Merc SA, he had never seen anyone use the shifters as liberally as I did. In my mind, I went, "Well, that's what happens when you come across someone who happens to be a car freak and an F1 worshipper."

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