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Mercedes-Benz C-Class


Alfa Romeo 4C

Summary

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Australia's relationship status with the Mercedes C-Class has long been… complicated.

Over 40 years and five generations, the German midsized luxury sedan has been a paragon of efficiency and safety on one hand, but on the other, well, the quality and ride comfort haven't lived up to brand expectations.

Now the completely redesigned version has landed in Australia, with shrunken S-Class limousine styling to take on not only the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Genesis G70, but rivals as disparate as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Tesla Model 3.

The question is? Is this latest, sixth-generation, new-from-the-ground-up C-Class good enough to take on all those and more? Let's find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats

Alfa Romeo 4C

Nothing could’ve better prepared me for my drive in the 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C than a trip to Sydney’s Luna Park.

There’s a rollercoaster there called Wild Mouse - an old-school, single carriage coaster with no loop-the-loops, no high-tech trickery, and with each ride limited to just with two seats apiece.

The Wild Mouse throws you around with very little regard for your comfort, gently impinging your fear factor by making you consider the physics of what is happening underneath your backside. 

It’s an unbridled adrenaline rush, and genuinely scary at times. You get off the ride thinking to yourself, “how the hell did I survive that?”.

The same can be said with this Italian sports car. It’s blisteringly quick, it’s superbly agile, it handles like it has rails attached to its underbody, and it could potentially do brown things to your underpants.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.7L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.9L/100km
Seating2 seats

Verdict

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8.3/10

Over five decades, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has pivoted between mastery and mediocrity, and all-too-often relied on that three-pointed star up front to win over buyers.

Thankfully, the W206 is one is one of the better generations. It's easier on the eye, comfier to travel in, more intuitive to use, safer across the board and a huge improvement to drive. On the evidence of the C200 and C300 launch grades, there's newfound depth and consistency to savour.

Sure, prices have gone up, the C200 could use a bit more power, the steering could benefit from a bit more feel, the odd build-quality glitch made itself heard and there's a fair bit of road noise at times, but overall, the C-Class now deserves to be at the top of your luxury medium sedan shopping list.

Particularly if you can afford to stretch to the rorty C300.


Alfa Romeo 4C7.1/10

People might wonder if there’s a reason to buy an Alfa Romeo 4C. It has some great dollar-for-dollar competitors - the Alpine A110 does most of the things the Alfa does, but in a more polished way. And then there’s the Porsche 718 Cayman, which is a considerably more, well, considered option.

But there is no doubt the 4C stands alone, a sort-of cut-price alternative to a Maserati or Ferrari, and nearly as rare to spot on the road as those cars, too. And just like the rollercoaster at Luna Park, it’s the sort of car that’ll leave you wanting another go.

Would you take the 4C over a Alpine A110? Let us know in the comments.

Design

Mercedes-Benz C-Class9/10

If you're checking out the new C-Class for the first time from the front, you'll probably think… hmm, it looks just like the old one, and that's largely true.

But a side view reveals proportions that have changed significantly, thanks to the more raked windscreen, shorter overhangs and cleaner lines, which give it a slightly smaller S-Class look.

Which is more in fitting with where Mercedes wants to place this car against its 3 Series and A4 competitors.

Additionally, the taillights are split for the first time, allowing for a wider boot aperture since the lid now contains some of the lighting elements.

The shrunken limo looks aren't just the whim of some designer or Mercedes-Benz marketing department copywriter, either.

Underneath is an albeit highly modified version of the latest S-Class' MRA2 platform, which results in the longest (at 4755mm) and widest (at 1820mm) C-Class in the series' 40-year existence, as well as the first with this level of electrification capability.

Height and wheelbase dimensions also see a stretch, by 8mm and 25mm to 1450mm and 2865mm over the previous model respectively, and to the benefit of passenger accommodation.

Speaking of which, get used to this new interior aesthetic and general layout – it's a look that's probably going to filter through to most coming non-EQ-branded Mercedes models over the next few years.

From S to C to future E and A classes and beyond. It's a rare instance of trickle-down economics actually working!


Alfa Romeo 4C8/10

Slap a Ferrari badge on it, and people would think it was the real deal - a pint-sized performance hustler, with all the right angles to get plenty of glances.

In fact, I had dozens of punters nod, wave, mount ‘nice car mate’ and even a few rubber-neck moments - you know, when you drive past and someone on the footpath can’t help but forget they’re walking, and they stare so hard they might well collide with the upcoming lamp-post. 

It really is a head-turner. So why does it only get an 8/10? Well, there are some elements of the design that make it less user-friendly than some of its rivals.

For instance, the step-in to the cabin is enormous, because the carbon-fibre tub sills are huge. And the cabin itself is pretty tight, especially for taller people. An Alpine A110 or Porsche Boxster are much more amenable for day-to-day driving… but hey, the 4C is markedly better than, say, a Lotus Elise for ingress and egress.

Also, as smart as it still looks, there are elements of Alfa Romeo design that have moved on since the 4C launched back in 2015. The headlights are the bit that I dislike most - I had a real thing for the spider-eyes lights of the launch edition model.

But even if it isn’t unmistakably Alfa Romeo, it’s unmistakably a 4C

Practicality

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

One of the best things about the new C-Class is that it's larger and therefore roomier than before. It's also higher quality, easier to use, more comfortable to sit in and - overall - more of a delight to behold.

In contrast, the old C-Class dash looked and felt like it was designed for a much cheaper car, especially compared to Audi's efforts.

Obviously related to the S-Class this time around, it's clear Tesla provided the inspiration for the twin floating screen look and layout, which are just right in their driver orientation and ease of functionality.

There's never really been anything wrong with Mercedes' old front seats, but these AMG Line items are both sumptuous and bracing, keeping their occupants well located ahead of the clever and thoughtfully laid out dashboard.

The brilliantly high-resolution MBUX multimedia and voice-recognition system now works as it should - intuitively and logically, with the screen menus simple to recognise and easy to use, and most without the need to get lost in confusing sub-menus. Just like BMW has managed for years.

If you want to change the instrumentation design, it's now a couple of clearly marked steps, using handily placed switchgear. The same goes for the superb climate control and audio systems. And the wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connected faultlessly and worked a treat. Effortless see-and-push operation all round, backed by concise and classy graphics.

No more degree in Earth-to-Mercedes comm skills required to master this C-Class interior.

Yet there's just enough old-school Benz features to appeal to brand diehards, from the eternal door-card mounted electric seat controls and column-mounted gear shifter, to the deep centre console and turbine face-level air vents. They meld together beautifully with the advanced tech also on offer, like the optional augmented-reality head-up display with 3D-graphics.

Annoyingly, on one of our test cars, that tradition also extended to a couple of squeaks and rattles, proving that maybe Mercedes hasn't quite conquered all its past quality gremlins. And, like most luxury cars nowadays, endless ambient lighting choices are available of dubious taste.

Never mind. This is the finest C-Class front-seat environment since, well, probably the original W210 190E's of the 1980s.

And all those extra dimensions pay dividends in terms of interior space in the back seat.

There's plenty of knee room even with the tester sat behind their 178cm frame; head room is adequate even with the optional sunroof fitted, and there's ample shoulder space. So, it's more comfortable than any C-Class ever has been in terms of sheer dimensions.

Additionally, the rear backrest is well angled, while the cushion is deep enough to provide sufficient thigh support. But the centre perch is a bit of a squeeze for all concerned. Best avoided.

There's also added practicality to be found with the large and deep door pockets, front seat-back map pockets and folding centre armrest, that not only has a tablet holder, but when pressed in twice, also reveals sliding cupholders as well. Clever.

The C-Class rear seat is really lacking for nothing, with face-level air vents, overhead lighting, grab handles and coat hooks all highlighting the level of thought that went into making this a practical compact family sedan.

Plus, the C-Class comes with this folding ski port, which along with the folding rear seats, increases boot volume from 455L to, well, a lot more. While that's not quite as good as others like the BMW 3 Series, it's big enough for this car.

Note that there is no spare wheel, as the tyres are of the limited-distance runflat variety.


Alfa Romeo 4C6/10

You can’t get into a car this small and expect a lot of space.

The dimensions of the 4C are tiny - it’s just 3989mm long, 1868mm wide and only 1185mm tall, and as you can see from the pictures, it’s a squat little thing. The Spider’s removable roof could be great for you if you’re tall.

I’m six-feet tall (182cm) and I found it to be cocoon-like in the cabin. You feel almost as though you’re tying yourself to the tub of the car when you get into the driver’s seat. And getting in and out? Just make sure you do some stretches beforehand. It’s not as bad as a Lotus for ingress and egress, but it’s still hard to look good clambering in and out of. 

The cabin is a cramped space. There’s limited head room and leg room, and while there is reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel, the seat only has manual slide and backrest movement - no lumbar adjust, no height adjust… almost like a racing bucket. They’re hard like a race seat, too. 

The ergonomics aren’t terrific - the controls for the air-con are hard to see at a glance, the buttons for the gear select take some learning, and the two centrally-mounted cup holders (one for your double-shot mocha latte, the other for a hazelnut piccolo) are inconveniently positioned exactly where you might want to put your elbow. 

The media system is rubbish. It’d be the first thing to go, if I bought one of these, and in its place would be an aftermarket touchscreen which would: a) actually let you pair to Bluetooth; b) look like it was from sometime after 2004; and c) be more fitting for a car of this price tag. I’d upgrade the speakers, too, because they’re poor. But I can totally understand if those things don’t matter, because it’s the engine you want to hear.

The materials - aside from the red leather seats - aren’t great. The plastics used are similar in look and feel to what you find in second-hand Fiats, but the sheer volume of exposed carbon-fibre does help you forget those details. And the leather pull straps to close the doors are nice, too. 

The visibility from the driver’s seat is decent - for this type of car. It’s low, and the rear window is small, so you can’t expect to see everything around you at all times, but the mirrors are good and the forward vision is excellent.

Price and features

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

Initially, there are two sedan versions of the new W206 series C-Class on offer – the base C200 from $78,900 before on-road costs, and the more-powerful C300 grade from just over $90,400 before ORC.

There's no sugar coating this. These prices represent a shocking $12,000 and $15,100 jump, respectively, over the outgoing W205 equivalents. Which means that, now, even the cheapest C-Class costs significantly more than any of its corresponding direct rivals.

For example, the Audi A4 35TFSI kicks off from $59,900, Volvo S60 B5 Inscription AWD from $62,490, Genesis G70 2.0T from $63,000, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport from $63,950 and BMW 320i Sport Collection from $69,900 (drive-away). And even the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range (SR) Plus RWD and Polestar 2 SR EVs slip in at under $60K apiece. All before ORCs, BMW-aside.

But the news isn't all bad, because even though prices have jumped, Mercedes reckons it gives you more, as well as the very latest in technology, design and engineering, since the W206 is the newest kid on the block by some margin.

Let's begin with equipment levels.

On top of the front electric seats, satellite navigation, automatic parking, dual-zone climate control, artificial leather Mercedes brands ARTICO, digital radio, remote boot lid closing and 18-inch alloys that the base C200 all came with previously, the new one now adds an AMG Line body kit and interior trim, adaptive cruise control, Lane Keep assist, a 360º camera, auto high-beam headlights and keyless entry/start. These go a long way to offset that $12,000 price hike.

Plus, for the first time, you'll also score a centre airbag between the front seats, fingerprint scanner ID tech for the new 11.9-inch media display and a 48V mild-hybrid system to help cut fuel consumption and emissions. Most of these items are segment-firsts. Note, too, that the engine's been downsized from 2.0 litres to 1.5L. More on that later.

Meanwhile, the C300 gains all of the gear above, as well as a new 2.0L mild-hybrid engine, leather trim, privacy glass and a Driver Assistance Package Plus – a very worthwhile addition since it brings Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Emergency Stop Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, among heaps more driver-assist safety features.

More details follow in the Safety section below.

Of course, these are just the start of a wave of fresh C-Class models. Soon they'll be joined by the AMG 43 and thunderous AMG 63 sports sedans, as well as plug-in hybrid versions.

So, from a pricing perspective, yes, the new C-Class sedan does come at a premium compared to its direct competitors. But all that kit – including the advanced hybridised and safety technologies that are now either standard or available – presents a compelling value proposition.

Especially as the W206 sedan is measurably larger and thus roomier than before.


Alfa Romeo 4C6/10

Look, no-one considering an Italian sports car is likely to be wearing their common sense hat, but even so, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is an indulgent purchase.

With a list price of $99,000 plus on-road costs, it isn’t affordable. Not considering what you get for your money.

Standard inclusions consist of air conditioning, remote central locking, heated electric door mirrors, leather sports seats with manual adjustment, a leather-lined steering wheel, and a four-speaker stereo system with USB connectivity and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. It’s not a touchscreen, so there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and there’s no sat nav… but the thing about this car is going the fun way home, so forget maps and GPS. And there’s a digital instrument cluster with a digital speedometer - believe me, you’ll need it.

The standard wheels are a staggered set - 17-inch at the front and 18-inch at the rear. All 4C models have bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights and dual exhaust tips. 

Of course, being the Spider model, you also get a removable soft top and you know what’s neat? You get a car cover included as standard, but you’d want to put it in the shed, as it takes up a bit of boot room!

Our car was even further up the pay scale, with an as-tested price of $118,000 before on-roads - it had a few option boxes ticked. 

First there’s that beautiful Basalt Grey metallic paint ($2000), and those contrasting red brake calipers ($1000).

Plus there’s the Carbon & Leather package - with carbon-fibre mirror caps, interior bezels, and a stitched leather instrument cover panel. It’s a $4000 option.

And finally, the Racing Package ($12,000), which includes a staggered set of 18-inch and 19-inch wheels with a dark paint finish, and those wheels are fitted with model specific Pirelli P Zero tyres (205/40/18 up front, 235/35/19 at the rear). Plus theres the sports racing exhaust system, which is awesome, and a racing suspension setup. 

Engine & trans

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

Probably the biggest departure compared to any previous C-Class is this generation's switch to direct-injection four-cylinder-only powertrains – including the coming Mercedes-AMG high-performance versions. Now that should be interesting.

As mentioned earlier, the C200's four-cylinder turbo engine is now about 25 per cent smaller in capacity, down from 2.0L to a 1496cc 1.5L twin-cam 16-valve turbo engine. Dubbed the M254, it pumps out 150kW of power at a high 6100rpm and 300Nm of torque between 1800-4000rpm.

That's not to say it's lacking in muscle, though, since it can sprint from zero to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds, on the way to a 245km/h top speed. These outputs are at least a match for the bigger-engined 3 Series and A4 equivalents, by the way.

If it's more you want, then the C300 features a 1999cc 2.0L turbo version of the M254, delivering 190kW at 5800rpm and 400Nm between 2000-3200rpm. This slashes that 0-100km/h time to a speedy six seconds flat. There's also an extra 20kW of overboost available for short periods if you're really in a hurry, while - where legal - it's possible to hit 250km/h.

Both send drive to the rear wheels via a nine-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, while the 48V mild-hybrid system, dubbed EQ Boost, employs an integrated starter-generator and lithium-ion battery that provides an additional 15kW and 200Nm of electric boost at low engine speeds.

So, while it doesn't ever run purely on electricity, the electrification tech certainly either brings more punch or takes the load off the petrol engine, depending on how you're driving it.


Alfa Romeo 4C8/10

The Alfa Romeo 4C is powered by a 1.7-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine, which produces 177kW of power at 6000rpm and 350Nm of torque from 2200-4250rpm. 

The motor is mounted amidships, and it is rear-wheel drive. It uses a six-speed dual-clutch (TCT) automatic with launch control. 

Alfa Romeo claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds, which makes it one of the quickest cars at this price point. 

Fuel consumption

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

Remember when I said that the C-Class moved to an all-four-cylinder engine range? Well, that's primarily to help it better meet fuel consumption, efficiency and lower emission targets.

On the Australian combined fuel consumption cycle, the C200 manages 6.9 litres per 100km – and that's extremely impressive for a medium-sized sedan weighing almost 1.8 tonnes. So is the fact that the larger-engined C300 returns only 0.4L/100km more at 7.3L/100km. Fitted with a 66-litre tank, these numbers suggest that the former can average nearly 960km between refills while the latter can manage just over 900km.

These figures translate to averages of 157 and 164 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions respectively. On the flipside, both these Euro-6 emissions rated engines require 98 RON premium unleaded petrol to deliver their best.

So much for lab tests. Out in the real world, we drove both cars for several hundred kilometres on a hot summer's day, from inner Melbourne during peak-hour traffic, to some great curvy rounds out in central Victoria, featuring some tight corners and ample opportunity to really stretch both cars' legs.

Over these routes, we averaged an indicated 8.4L/100km in the C200 and – astonishingly – 7.4L/100km in the C300. Yes, the larger and more powerful engine proved more economical.

Clearly, along with the advanced aerodynamics, engine stop/start system and 48V mild-hybrid tech, all that downsizing works. No wonder Mercedes deemed it unnecessary to bother with diesel engines for this generation C-Class.


Alfa Romeo 4C8/10

Claimed fuel consumption for the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is rated at 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres, so it’s no miser.

But, impressively, I saw real-world fuel economy of 8.1L/100km, over a loop that included urban, highway and ‘spirited’ driving on twisty roads.

Driving

Mercedes-Benz C-Class9/10

There has been a philosophical shift in how the C-Class is presented.

Even with their standard-in-Australia AMG Line package, the regular grades like the C200 and C300 are now leaning into the brand's luxury heritage, while the BMW-baiting sports sedan versions will be left to the coming AMG versions.

And this in turn profoundly informs how the W206 drives.

Even with the optional Sports Pack on 19-inch wheels, the C200 as tested finally feels like a premium midsized sedan experience. Muted at start up, the 150kW/300Nm 1.5L turbo steps off the line smartly and smoothly, its nine-speed auto shifting effortlessly through the gears to keep the engine feeling lively and lusty.

Around town it's easy to mistake the engine as a larger-capacity unit, since throttle response is instantaneous, with little to no lag detectable. It's a strong start for a base powertrain, especially as the C200 settles into a relaxed cruise at freeway speeds. Cycling through the driving settings also reveals how feisty the 'Sport' mode is.

But the 1.5L's lack of size becomes obvious the moment you need to overtake quickly, or when a quick squirt of acceleration up a hill is required, because the engine needs plenty of revs to approach that 6100rpm power peak. While still pretty brisk in these situations, it's also fairly vocal too, with a sense of having to work hard to maintain momentum.

Switching to the C300 highlights how much better suited the 190kW/400Nm 2.0L turbo is to highway driving, leaping forward with much more force and conviction, across the entire performance spectrum. In every metric, this is a better choice – throttle response, mechanical refinement, cruising ease. And the fact that the onboard computer showed less fuel consumption cements our preference for the larger-hearted C-Class.

In fact, both models possess a chassis that feels like it could do with a whole lot more power. Light and tight around town, the steering weighs up nicely at higher speeds, with a linear and reassuringly planted feel. The same also applies to how confident and controlled the Mercedes feels through fast, tight turns, yet settles into a relaxed and comfortable tourer along long, straight stretches of road.

It's a pity, then, that such dynamic agility and prowess doesn't really involve the driver, since the steering feels quite isolated from what's going on underneath; for the vast majority of C-Class buyers, that's fine. But, as a quick spin in any latest BMW 3 Series or Jaguar XE will reveal, there isn't an intimate, two-way connection going on here. That's probably going to be reserved for the AMG models.

Our C200 rode on bigger wheels and steel springs, while the C300 was fitted with optional adaptive dampers. In the previous-generation C-Class, the differences would be stark: a busy and jittery ride in the former, compared to soft yet still unsettled suspension in the latter.

That's all ancient history now, as even the 'passively' suspended C200 now isolates its occupants from the rough and tumble of our inconsistent roads. Still firmish, but no longer harsh.

And the C300 with adaptive dampers seems downright plush by comparison, while offering the driver personalisation options within the aforementioned driving models to tailor the steering, performance and engine sound settings that best suit the prevailing mood.

Too bad there's some road and tyre noise intrusion heard inside when driving over coarse bitumen roads. This is a common pitfall amongst German vehicles in Australia.

Still, it doesn't detract from the fact that the whole chassis set-up can at-last cushion and cosset occupants like, well, a mini S-Class.

Which is the whole point of the W206 C-Class. It now majors on comfort and reassurance like the better Mercedes-Benz models used to, while still being suave and sprightly enough to be a memorable – if not over-exciting – drive.

As a result, the C300 especially is a much-more likeable car than past iterations. Just remember to tick the adaptive damper option for the most optimal experience. Job well done, Mercedes.


Alfa Romeo 4C9/10

I said that it’s like a rollercoaster, and it really, truly is. The air doesn’t quite rush through your hair as much, sure - but with the roof off, the windows down and the speedometer constantly edging towards licence suspension, it’s a real hoot of an experience.

It just feels so tight - the carbon-fibre monocoque chassis is rigid and super stiff. You hit a cats-eye and its all so sensitive, you could mistake it for having hit an actual cat. 

Alfa Romeo’s DNA drive modes - the letters stand for Dynamic, Natural, All Weather - is one of those proper examples of this type of system done well. There’s a marked difference between how these different settings operate, where some other drive modes out there are more sedate in their adjustments. There’s a fourth mode - Alfa Race - which I didn’t dare sample on public roads. Dynamic was enough to test my mettle. 

The steering in Natural mode is lovely - there’s great weighting and feedback, super direct and incredibly in touch with the surface below you, and the engine isn’t quite as zesty, but still offers tremendous response on the move. 

The ride is firm but composed and compliant in any of the drive modes, and it doesn’t have adaptive suspension. It is a stiffer suspension setup, and though the damping doesn’t change in Dynamic mode, if the surface is anything but perfect you will tram-track and twitch all over the place, because the steering feels even more dialled in. 

In Dynamic mode the engine offers amazing response when you’re at pace, building speed incredibly and before you know it, you’re in licence loss zone.

The brake pedal requires some firm footwork - just like in a race car - but it pulls up strongly when you need it to. You’ve just gotta get used to the pedal feel. 

The transmission is a good thing at speed in manual mode. It won’t overrule you if you want to find the redline, and it sounds tremendous. The exhaust is exhilarating!

With roof on and windows up there’s very noticeable noise intrusion - lots of tyre roar and engine noise. But remove the roof and drop the windows and you get the full effect of the drive experience - you’ll even get some "sut-tu-tu” wastegate flutter. It doesn’t even matter that much that the stereo system is so rubbish.

At normal speeds in normal driving you do need to be considerate of the powertrain because it is finnicky and slow to react at times. There’s notable lag if you’re gentle on the throttle, both from engine and transmission, and the fact peak torque doesn’t come on song until 2200rpm means there’s lag to contend with. 

It’ll be a difficult choice between this and Alpine A110 and a Porsche Cayman – each of these vehicles has a very different character. But for me, this is the most go-kart like and it is, undeniably incredibly involving to drive.

Safety

Mercedes-Benz C-Class9/10

The W206 C-Class has not been crash-tested yet by ANCAP or European affiliate EuroNCAP, so does not have a star rating. However, Mercedes-Benz claims it has striven to create one of the safety vehicles on the planet.

To that end, there are now 10 airbags fitted, including dual-front combined pelvic/thorax airbags, front centre airbag, rear side airbags, window airbags and driver's knee airbag.

Plus, you'll find Autonomous Emergency Braking front and rear (including for cyclists and pedestrians, at speeds from 7km/h to over 200km/h), adaptive cruise control with active stop/go, a 360 degree camera, Active Parking Assist, drowsy driver monitor, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, ABS anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, Adaptive Brakes with Hold function, brake drying and Hill Start Assist, electronic stability control, traction control, dusk-sensing LED lights, rain-sensing wipers and runflat tyres with tyre pressure warning.

The C300, meanwhile, adds Driving Assistance Package Plus, with features such as Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Steering Assist, and Active Stop-and-Go Assist… basically, this is where the car actually intervenes to help avoid accidents and impacts. There's also the PRE-SAFE side accident anticipation and protection system.

Both models also feature two ISOFIX child seat restraints as well as three top tethers for straps.


Alfa Romeo 4C6/10

You’re in the wrong spot if you want the latest in safety technology. Sure, it’s at the cutting edge because it has an ultra strong carbon-fibre design, but there’s not much else happening here.

The 4C has dual front airbags, rear parking sensors and an alarm with tow-away protection, plus - of course - electronic stability control

But there are no side airbags or curtain airbags, there’s no reversing camera, there’s no auto emergency braking (AEB) or lane keep assist, no lane departure warning or blind spot detection. Admittedly - there are a few other sports cars in the segment which lack safety smarts, too, but 

The 4C has never been crash tested, so there’s no ANCAP or Euro NCAP safety score available.

Ownership

Mercedes-Benz C-Class7/10

Kudos to Mercedes-Benz for being the first luxury manufacturer in Australia to offer a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty – matching most other mainstream makers. Lexus and Audi have only recently followed suit.

A five-year roadside assistance subscription is also included. Service intervals are 12-monthly or at every 25,000km, whichever occur first.

Additionally, a four-year capped price service plan is available, at $550 for the first year, $900 for the second, $1000 for the third and $2450 for the fourth, totalling $4900.

Alternatively, buyers can also choose three pre-purchase service plans to save a bit of money, but these must be bought prior to the first service.


Alfa Romeo 4C6/10

If you’re hoping that a ‘simple’ car like the 4C will mean low ownership costs, you might be disappointed in this section.

The Alfa Romeo website service calculator suggests that over 60 months or 75,000km (with service intervals set every 12 months/15,000km), you will have to fork out $6625 total. For a breakdown, the services cost $895, $1445, $895, $2495, $895.

I mean, that’s what you get when you buy an Italian sports car, I suppose. But consider you can get a Jaguar F-Type with five years of free servicing, and the Alfa looks like a rip-off. 

The Alfa does, however, come with a three-year/150,000km warranty plan, which includes the same cover for roadside assist.