The official papers state that this 1815kg car emits a mere 124g/km of CO2, 0.007g/km of NOx and 0.0002g/km of those lung-infesting ultra-fine particles that we all so worry about. This information is available because the C220d is compliant with Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) regulations, which incidentally lowers its benefit-in-kind tax rating from 32% to 28%.
That will be pretty appealing for company car drivers. Certainly not as appealing as the 1% payable on a fully electric car, you may well counter, but can you name an electric car that has an official range of 873 miles? Yeah, thought not. And that official figure of 60.1mpg isn’t entirely unrealistic, either. Over 565 miles at an average of 35mph, it achieved 57.8mpg; and on one morning’s 65-mile congested-motorway commute, averaging 52mph, it peaked at 66mpg; all without any hypermiling techniques. Music to our ears in these dismal days.
Would you know the C220d is a diesel? Start it up on a cold morning and you sure would, but once it’s warmed and on the move, the engine is a very smooth performer. It has plenty of punch as well, with the ability to blast away on a surge of mid-range torque, all while remaining impressively isolated from the cabin.
The nine-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox must also take some of the credit, for while you can naturally sense its shifts, they’re swift and sensible. Its behaviour never jars amid the smooth driving experience, which certainly isn’t a given any more.
While the jump from Mk3 to Mk4 C-Class was significant, this Mk5 is more an evolution of its predecessor, employing an updated version of the MLA platform. The suspension is similar to before, with double wishbones at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear.
Ride comfort is better, but it had to be said that this aspect of the Mk4 was somewhat disappointing, and there’s still room for improvement. Thankfully, it doesn’t suffer unpleasant firmness from trying to be a sports car, but the graceful primary ride is sometimes joined by an unpleasant secondary ride when the road gets rough.
Even so, this is still a rather refined thing, so a very pleasant cruiser. And if forced by traffic onto a rural rat run, you can enjoy controlling what is a surprisingly nimble chassis through direct and accurate steering. It lacks the meaty feel of the rival BMW 3 Series Touring, sure, but there are faint echoes of the forthcoming AMG-fettled C-Class models to be heard.
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