A few years ago the idea of owning a Mercedes-Benz that came with a manual gearbox seemed unthinkable.
But through a combination of Mercedes-Benz offering much better manual gearboxes and the drive towards lower emissions, along with a desire to appeal to driving enthusiasts, the idea of a manual C-Class doesn’t seem so off-putting.
The current BlueEfficiency-powered C-Class range has even more to attract those drivers.
The C250 CDI uses a twin-turbocharged version of the 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel found in other C-Class models, producing 204bhp and a hefty 369lb-ft of torque.
But the good news is that CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are hardly any higher than the less powerful diesels, with 142g/km and 55.4mpg on the combined cycle for the Sport model. These are remarkable figures for a 204bhp car.
Mercedes-Benz also seems to have done well from distinguishing its Sport models from the SE and Elegance equipment grades.
Residual value predictions are stronger in percentage terms for the Sport model over other trim levels.
The C250 CDI is pretty sharp on the road. Although the steering is lighter than you’d find in a BMW 3-Series, it is no less precise, and the C-Class inspires confidence on twisty roads.
Body control is excellent when changing direction, and there is plenty of grip available.
Noise suppression of the diesel engine isn’t as accomplished as some rival products, with a slightly harsh edge to the engine note in the background not found in four-cylinder diesel BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 models, and the optional 18-inch wheels fitted to our car generated a fair share of road noise.
But show me a car on 18-inch wheels at this price that doesn’t suffer from road noise.
Four cylinders and twin turbos get the job done for both lower running costs and performance for the C-Class giving it an edge over the BMW 3 Series.