The model we’re concentrating on here is the C 220 d, because its likely to be among the more popular choices in the UK.
There are two things of note here: the amount of performance that the 168bhp C 220 d offers, and the manner in which it offers it.
First things first, then, and the raw performance figures: the C 220 d is marginally slower to 60mph than the (manual, admittedly) BMW 320d Sport that we tested previously. The BMW managed the sprint in 7.7sec to the Merc’s 8.1sec.
Although the fitment of a seven-speed automatic transmission to the variant we tested, which understandably doesn’t have any nonsense like launch control, is a significant factor in that difference, the pattern is repeated in the arguably more relevant 30-70mph through-the-gears time: BMW 7.4sec, Mercedes 8.1sec.
The Mercedes has a slight advantage in fourth gear – 10.5sec versus 10.8sec – but, by and large, the BMW shades it. Still, the C-Class feels perky enough, with its best work done through the mid-range, which is okay because the automatic transmission is reluctant to shift into higher gears too early.
It’s sometimes recalcitrant if you’ve asked it for a downshift into the higher echelons of a lower gear’s rev range, too. Little change there, then, which means that, we suspect, most owners will never trouble the manual override on the auto ’box.