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Mercedes-Benz C180K BlueEfficiency SE

Mercedes-Benz

Review

3

BlueEfficiency is, rather confusingly, Mercedes-Benz’s name for its eco sub-brand. And while the name may not automatically be associated with being green, the savings it offers to drivers and fleet managers certainly is.

Many models in the Mercedes-Benz line-up now carry BlueEfficiency badging, denoting they are equipped with fuel saving measures such as low rolling resistance tyres, more aero-dynamic wing mirrors and optimised engine components as standard.

There is also a dash-mounted economy gauge and a shift indicator light to alert the driver to the optimum point to change gear to maximise fuel economy. 

The C180K is, so far, the only C-Class to be offered in BlueEfficiency trim, powered by a supercharged 1.6-litre petrol engine delivering 156bhp. 

Further models will follow later this year when the C-Class diesel models adopt the 2.2-litre engines from the recently-launched E-Class range.

But for now the C180K is not only the sole BlueEfficiency model, it is also the cheapest to buy at £22,350.

It replaces the previous model, which carried the same name, but offers a host of improvements which make it an all-round better package, and at the same price.

The BlueEfficiency model has the same power output (despite the engine downsizing by 199cc), but fuel economy rises by 11% to a claimed 44.8mpg average. CO2 emissions fall by 18g/km to 149g/km.

As a result, a 40% taxpayer’s benefit-in-kind tax bill falls from £156 a month to £126. And for companies who outright purchase their fleet, the emissions reduction sees this model drop well under the 160g/km threshold for increased writing down allowances.

Running costs also fall, with the BlueEfficiency version being just over two pence-per-mile cheaper to run over three years and 60,000 miles.

And despite all the focus on reducing costs, the driver of an SE-specificaiton model will not feel short-changed. Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, radio/CD player with MP3 connectivity, automatic climate control, on-board servicing warning, leather steering wheel and gearbox, scratch-resistant paint and Bluetooth telephony.

Also reassuring is the high level of safety features fitted, with a host of systems helping the car to a five-star EuroNCAP test result, including adaptive braking, driver’s kneebag, crash-responsive Neck-Pro headrests to reduce whiplash and Pre-Safe – a series of devices which react if the vehicle senses a crash and takes action to reduce the likelihood of injury, such as tensing the seatbelts and closing the windows.

On the road the 1.6-litre supercharged engine feels surprisingly strong and revvy for such a small unit, while the six-speed manual gearbox has a much improved action, shifting betwen ratios smoothly.

Verdict

Mercedes-Benz has enjoyed huge success with the new C-Class, and the arrival of the new Blue-Efficiency version will enable it to adjust its model mix, which has been reliant on diesels. The C180 brings useful savings to both company and driver while offering a safe and stylish package.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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