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Buy a Mercedes C-Class and you know it’s going to be well built and residually stronger than most, though the three-year warranty is small beer compared to what, for instance, Korean manufacturers offer on cars costing half as much.

In fuel consumption terms, the AMG is a nightmare: the official stats say 23.5mpg, which is bad enough but still a world away from what you’re likely to achieve if you drive as its maker intended. Even with a fuel tank seven litres bigger than the 59-litre tank used in other C-Classes, you’re looking at a real-world range on the wrong side of 250 miles.

The relatively low running costs of the diesel models will make them appealing to those covering high mileages

The petrol models are commendably frugal given which pump they fill from, but the 47.9mpg offered by the 1.6-litre, 156bhp C 180 is no better than that achieved by the C 350 CDI with its 3.0-litre V6 motor, 265bhp and well in excess of twice the amount of torque.

As for the smaller diesels, you’d think the C 200 CDI would use least fuel, but you’d be wrong. On paper at least it manages 57.7mpg in manual or automatic form compared to the outstanding 68.9mpg of the manual C 220 CDI with its band B tax disc.

Think about that for a moment: this is a 144mph Mercedes saloon that costs nothing to tax in year one and a paltry £20 per year thereafter

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