REVIEW | Mercedes-Benz's C220d AMG Line is the new segment leader, but it has a downfall

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

• The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has set new standards in its segments.

• Having driven the C220d, the car's diesel engine is quieter and with fewer vibrations.

• The C220d AMG Line retails for R965 812.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24

When Mercedes-Benz announced its all-new C-Class, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the new saloon would be a hit. Nor that it would boast the latest technologies that could even make a NASA spaceship doubt its capabilities. And that's what the C-Class has always been: a trendsetter in the world of luxury cars, often setting the standard that others would follow.

Though an official media launch is still on the cards, the new C is already in rotation for publications to sample and review. It meant that we could drive the diesel model in the range, the C220d. Fortunately, our tenure with the car coincided with a long-distance trip covering both national- and B-roads.

It proved ideal for putting the car to the test, delving into its capabilities as the 'benchmark' saloon in its segment. Our time behind the wheel confirmed that the C220d is indeed an impressive vehicle, but it is not without fault.

Mercedes-Benz C220d
2022 Mercedes-Benz C220d

Engine and efficiency

While the S- and E-Class are the absolute epitome of Mercedes-Benz's automotive abilities, the C-Class is not far off. And the talents of what the car has to offer often coincide with what's hidden under the bonnet. In 2022 it's no different, and the diesel mill is one of the car's best attributes.

For the new C220d, the automaker fitted its 2.0-litre turbodiesel mill in the car's nose. Sending power to the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, the engine offers 147kW and 440Nm. Again, the engineers in Merc's engine division did what they could to make the engine as good as possible. Not only is it softer with fewer vibrations than the previous engine, but it is fuel-efficient, too. Merc claims an average return of 4.7-litres/100km, translating to a driving range of 1 404km on its 66L fuel tank.

The C220d's engine and drivetrain combination works a charm and fits the car like a glove. Our time behind the wheel saw city and open-road driving, all of which can either positively or negatively affect consumption. At the end of our time with the car, the onboard computer gave an average consumption reading of 7.6-litres/100km after almost 1 000km.

READ: All-new Mercedes-Benz C220d - listing its two most prominent rivals

Mercedes-Benz C220d
2022 Mercedes-Benz C220d

Driving traits

From the moment one sets off, it becomes clear that the new C-Class' suspension has been improved by leaps and bounds over the previous model. It feels more planted and secure, and instils a greater sense of confidence when pushing on. And as alluded to, the engine never feels under any strain as you march through the rev range. The gearbox compliments it well, cogging over like clockwork and always seeming to find the right gear. Drivers can use the steering wheel-mounted paddles to become more involved with the experience, but the car's computer is more than capable of thinking for itself.

Interestingly, the car's suspension setup is a two-sided story. On national roads, at least in the Western Cape, the C220d feels sturdy. The rear follows the front without fail and reacts brilliantly to the road conditions. Drivers quickly become one with the car and can predict its mannerisms.

Sadly, on B-roads, one is soon confronted with the suspension setup that's been designed for first-world roads. The car's balance is thrown off, and occupants can feel it. The experience is like motion sickness and is not what you'd expect from a segment-leading car. At low speeds on B-roads, drivers will only have to contend with the shaky ride quality, but greater speeds will bring a disturbed chassis into the equation.

Mercedes-Benz C220d
2022 Mercedes-Benz C220d

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "We had just landed the new C-Class 220d in the Wheels24 test garage when I had taken it for a drive. A woman walking past at the traffic lights stopped right in the middle of the road and shouted over the bustling noises: "This car is absolutely stunning; it's so beautiful!". She's right.

"This is a brand new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It's more refined, more sophisticated, and definitely a lot more expensive. But then again, so are most new cars these days. The fact that a C-Class now costs more than R1 million might seem ridiculous, but if a three-cylinder Toyota GR Yaris is priced close to R720 000 for the Rally version, it really shouldn't come as much as a surprise. 

"The C-Class has always been a car with grandeur, or class for that matter, and as it has evolved with better driving dynamics, so it has matured in its styling and technology. Sedans might not be one of the most popular segments for local motorists these days, but a vehicle like this could just shake things up again in the market."

In summary

The test team does not doubt that the new C-Class is one of the best cars in its segment. It feels more engaging to drive than its rivals, and the overall feel of luxury and opulence is almost without peer. These are the traits you want the standard-bearer to have, and it's befitting a car of its nature.

While we do appreciate the mastery that went into fine-tuning the engine and gearbox, it would have been more beneficial if the suspension was tuned - even just slightly - for the unique conditions of the South African road network. We have no doubt that the new C-Class - built locally for export to more than 100 international markets - is a star (pun intended) in every market it competes in, and it should not be too much of a surprise if success is achieved here, too.

Price: Mercedes-Benz C220d AMG Line - R965 812

Mercedes-Benz C220d
2022 Mercedes-Benz C220d
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Do you think Mercedes will return to form later in the 2022 F1 season after two poor races?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, don't discredit them.
33% - 611 votes
Who cares, F1 is exciting again!
44% - 809 votes
No, it's Ferrari's turn to dominate again.
23% - 430 votes