First introduced in 2014, the fourth-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class (codenamed W205) is not due to be replaced until late in 2020. That means the approved used dealer network is packed full of second-hand examples that will not be superseded for the better part of two years. Choose wisely and you could be driving a C-Class that, to most onlookers, will appear to be a new car, but at better than half price.
The W205 represented a significant step forward for Mercedes’ small saloon car, not least because the extensive use of aluminium in the body structure lowered the car’s overall weight by up to 100kg compared with the version that came before it. When we first reviewed the car, in 2014, we awarded it a strong, four-star rating, praising its very slick and modern cabin, its four-fifths-of-an-S-Class styling and its mature blend of ride and handling. We had reservations about the diesel engines, which were quiet enough at a cruise but loud, clattery and unrefined under acceleration.
Nonetheless, with much better fuel economy than the equivalent four-cylinder petrol engines and muscular torque delivery, the diesel models are the ones to look out for. The entry-level C200d diesel starts at around £14,000, but the version we’re drawn to most is the C250 BlueTec. Also a four-cylinder diesel, the C250 is much more powerful than the C200d, with 201bhp and a bulging 369lb ft of torque. Mercedes quotes a 0-62mph time of 6.6sec – brisk by any measure – and a combined fuel economy figure of 64.2mpg.
So the C250 BlueTec is quick, frugal and good to drive. Even the entry-level SE model is reasonably well equipped, with leather trim, a reversing camera, DAB radio, cruise control and mobile phone connectivity all standard fit. The cars – and there are plenty of them – you’ll find for sale through Mercedes’ official channels will most likely be in Sport specification, which also has sat-nav, heated seats and LED lights. Range-topping AMG Line trim further adds 18in wheels, AMG bodystyling, sports seats, gearshift paddles and sports suspension.