Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 2022 Review : Baby got Bach
Singapore - It’s often been said that Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class saloon is the “baby” version of the much larger S-Class luxury saloon. By extension, one could even say it’s the bairn of the Mercedes-Maybach S580, the ultimate expression of the venerable Sonderklasse.
It’s no easy feat coming up with a successor for what is one of the best selling compact executive sedans in the market. Nay, one of the best selling compact executive sedans in the world. To put it into context, Mercedes sold over 2.5 million units of the former W205 generation C-Class during its 8-year span.
So it goes without saying that this fifth-generation C-Class has some seriously, seriously big shoes to fill. A daunting task made tougher by the fact that consumers are gravitating toward crossovers like the GLC SUV over your run-off-the-mill sedans. For reference, Mercedes sold 2.6 million units of the GLC during its tenure. That's a hundred thousand cars more than the regular 'C', and these are figures quoted by Mercedes themselves. So, big shoes indeed.
However, the W206 C-Class makes a damn strong case for itself. And for every prospecting customer who has his/her eye on the GLC SUV, there would almost certainly be another buyer who would prefer the sedan.
Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 2022 - The Exterior
While it lacks the heft, breadth and towkay proportions of the S-Class, several of the design cues on the W206 C-Class are almost an exact replication of the larger luxury saloon. Even from a visual standpoint, the car’s silhouette resembles a shrunken Sonderklasse with its smooth contours, long hood and cab back design with a sloping rear end.
Built atop the existing (but reworked) MRA II platform from the older C, the new car is larger and roomier than its predecessor with 65mm of added length and 25mm more room between the wheels.
Being the C200 AMG Line, this car also sees the addition of several AMG-inspired elements like larger 19-inch AMG Alloy Wheels, a sportier front end with a more aggressive bumper, a grille insert with tiny three-pointed stars and a more aggro rear diffuser with faux exhaust tips (the real ones are nestled beneath the rear fascia).
Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 2022 - The Interior
Inside the cabin, the S-Class influences are even more apparent with a dashboard layout that’s a dead ringer for the Sonderklasse. Taking literal centre stage on the dash is a portrait-oriented 11.9-inch display that serves as the command centre for all of the car’s functions, all of which running off Mercedes-Benz’s second-generation MBUX interface. Beneath that lies a row of buttons for driving functions, volume controls, a fingerprint sensor and the hazard lights. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard too, so you’d have less trouble faffing about with pesky cables and wires.
Ahead of the driver sits a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with a multitude of screen layouts to choose from. As per Mercedes-Benz’s modus operandi, the gear selector stalk is mounted on the steering column, leaving the centre console bereft of any clutter, just like the S-Class. Some of the AMG Line additions include sportier and rather snug bolstered seats, “carbon fibre” trim inserts and a multifunction sports steering wheel.
We know without a doubt that the next generation E-Class would see a similar interior layout. But we couldn’t help but gawk at the sheer size of the massive screen and wonder about its efficacy on the road. We’re happy to report that our initial scepticism was quickly quashed when we got behind the wheel.
While it is huge, most of the screen icons and functions fall easily to hand. The cluster of HVAC controls are permanently situated on the bottom of the screen for easy access, and the drive functions are only a few button clicks away. As an added bonus, the MBUX voice control has been massively improved over the previous generation cars and it isn’t as trigger happy to respond to every other phrase that sounds even remotely similar to “Hey Mercedes”.
Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 2022 - The Engine
Trick new interior aside, the new C-Class also comes with a new range of powertrains, all based on the brand’s new FAME engine family. That’s F.A.M.E. for FAmily of Modular Engines. This particular C200 AMG Line, the C200 Avantgarde and base C180s (in both Avantgarde and AMG Line trim) all come with the same turbocharged 1.5-litre inline four-pot in different states of tune. Both powertrains come with 48V Mild Hybrid tech and an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG), which provides an additional boost of supplementary power as and when needed.
The C200 in both trim variants churns out a combined 204 horsepower and 300Nm of torque, does 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and tops out at 246km/h. But the ace up the C-Class sleeve isn’t in its power figures. It's all down to the way the car handles. We’d even go as far as to say it handles in a more sporty fashion than a C-Class would. Or should.
Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 2022 - The Drive
Every turn is executed with a deftness and agility that is surprising for a car that traditionally prioritises comfort. That enhanced agility is due in part to the rear axle steering system that is standard fit on the C200 AMG Line. Sounds posh, that’s because it is. Its 2.5° rear steering angle may not be as steep as the 4.5° rear axle steering angle of the S-Class, but it is still a mighty impressive trick that gives the C200 AMG Line a turning radius that’ll run circles around some smaller hatchbacks.
But that innate sportiness also translates to a mildly harsher driving experience than one would naturally come to expect from a C-Class saloon. While some might appreciate the torquey get-up-and-go nature of the perky turbocharged engine, the car isn't as supple and refined as we'd like. By no means is the suspension setup back-breaking, even with four adult passengers, but the combination of lower, stiffer springs and 19-inch rims does impair the car's NVH levels somewhat. We’re certain the C180 with its softer springs and comfort biased tuning would fare much better in this regard. Additionally, it'd be less harsh on your wallet.
Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 2022 - The Price
At the time of writing, the Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line starts at S$310,888, while the C200 Avantgarde (with no AMG embellishments and rear steer) is slightly cheaper at S$293,888. On the other hand, both C180 models are considerably cheaper, with prices for the C180 Avantgarde beginning at S$261,888 and S$8,000 more for the AMG Line spec C180. The cheaper C180 has a combined output of 170hp/250Nm and loses out to our test car in some ways (360° Cameras, power figures, AMG goodies), but the S$40,000+ price gap for the C200 AMG Line is a substantial one that isn't easily justifiable by most.
So this AMG Line spec car loses out on some of the traditional comfort biased traits we’ve come to expect from the C-Class range. That being said, where it loses out on refinement, it edges closer to its competition in the compact executive niche (like the BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS) in terms of handling dynamics. Plus, borrowing tech from the fraternity of full-sized luxury saloons like the Sonderklasse and Maybach would undoubtedly be a huge plus in any buyer’s book.
Also, it’s got an inherent mean streak that no other brothers can deny.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line
Engine 1496cc, inline4, turbocharged
Transmission 9spd 9G-TRONIC Automatic
Top Speed 246km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.8l/100km