What is it?
It’s the new Mercedes C-Class in its most refined form: with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, automatic gearbox and in Elegance rather than Sport specification.
What’s it like?
Pretty nice, as it goes. With its Elegance/SE and Sport variants, Mercedes has done for the C-Class what BMW has done with SE or M-Sport versions of the 3-Series. Sport variants of the C- get AMG alloys, lowered suspension, a badge set into the grille rather than one mounted on the bonnet, a different steering ratio and side-skirts.
The Elegance does without all that and, on this occasion, is none the worse for it. It rides well, the interior’s fit and finish is excellent and materials are just about up to scratch for a £35,000 executive car.
Ergonomically it’s sound, there’s decent space front and rear and the boot’s well sized. And the 3.5-litre V6? It’s not as rorty as a BMW 330i’s engine, but it is very smooth and, at 268bhp, plenty powerful enough: Mercedes claims it’ll do 0-62mph in 6.4sec.
The seven-speed auto shifts very smoothly, too. In everyday driving it even returned about 25mpg in our hands, which isn’t at all shabby.