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Mercedes-Benz C320 2007 Review

The new, $92,800 Benz 320 CDI is economic and at the same time a performance car.
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This must surely be the way of the future.

In fact, it makes you wonder why these donks haven't taken the passenger car market by the scruff of the neck and changed the world of motoring even more in Australia; like they have for so long in Europe.

We are talking about the turbo diesel power plant that has been dropped into the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the new 320 CDI.

Apart from the rapid C63 AMG hot rod, the CDI is now the range-topper for the C-Class family.

And that is no idle claim to fame.

Accepted that you have to be a diesel fan and that you must appreciate the way those engines blend performance with reasonable economy to justify even a look-see at one.

At $92,800 it is priced in the upper echelons for what is in essence a small sedan that tucks into the garage beside a humble Mazda 3 sedan.

A casual glance cannot pick the size difference.

This new 320 CDI joins the all-new W204 model C-Class launched earlier this year.

It is a rapid piece of kit and is not going to break your bank account considering the infrequent stops at the bowser.

After a test of mainly freeway work mixed in with splashes of peak-hour crawling, the CDI was showing that it used half a tank of diesel after about 420km.

So somewhere around 800-900km out of a tank would not be an unreasonable assumption.

OK, so there is no doubting the economy but where it really stands up is in performance.

After a think for a split second when you press the throttle, the CDI soon warms to the task, building up a healthy burst of energy that seems to have no bounds on open stretches.

It is in the mid-range where it shines and the marriage to the 7-speed 7G-Tronic auto box seems to be a smooth union ordained in heaven.

Third and fourth are particularly well hooked up to what is a beautifully refined powertrain. There is 510Nm on tap which not too many moons ago used to be the domain of bigger engine petrol muscle cars. That is a mountain of torque for a small car coming from the well mannered direct-injection V6 diesel.

There is a bit of clatter at idle but other than that there is little suggestion a compression ignition motor lurks under the bonnet.

But however good this Benz diesel is, it still lags behind BMW's 335d twin-turbo diesel available in Europe, which this tester sampled in a comparable three-series on autobahns and twisting roads.

BMW has committed to bringing that engine here in the X5, which is a boon to BMW buyers because it is again a shining example of why you would be converted to these high-performance diesels.

Over and above the engine, which is the primary story with this car, it gains all the kit of the new C-Class range which is, dare we say it, bigger, wider and taller than the W203 version it replaces.

The interior switches and console layout is a little busy and cluttered compared to the BMW layout, which sways toward clarity and a simplistic design.

But if you are greased enough financially, and you feel the need to look over and above the entry C200 Kompressor ($56,990), or the baby diesel C220 CDI ($60,300) and the V6 C280 ($85,000), then the 320 CDI is calling you.




Mercedes-Benz C 320 CDI

Price: $92,800

Body: 5 seats, 4 doors

Engine: Turbocharged diesel 2987CC V6

Power: 165KW

Torque: 510NM

Transmission: 7-speed automatic, rear wheel drive

Tyres: 225/45 R 17 (front), 245/40 R 17

Economy: 7.6L/100KM (combined)


Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

C230 Evolution 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $11,100 – 16,280 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2007 C230 Evolution Pricing and Specs
C230 Evolution AMG 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $11,900 – 17,490 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2007 C230 Evolution AMG Pricing and Specs
C200 Kompressor 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,200 – 13,860 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2007 C200 Kompressor Pricing and Specs
C200 Kompressor Evolution 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,900 – 14,850 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2007 C200 Kompressor Evolution Pricing and Specs