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Mercedes-Benz C-class review - Can it take on the mighty 3-series? - Engine and Gearbox

Trades some dynamic ability and excitement for comfort - unless you opt for the AMG C63

Evo rating
Price
from £30,850
  • S-class looks, exceptional interior quality, refined manners
  • Ultimately lacks driver engagement, four-cylinder models not the most inspiring

Despite numbers like 300 and 350 among the C-class lineup, all of the non-AMG C-class models use a four-cylinder engine, with the bulk of the work handled by the venerable 2.1-litre twin-turbodiesel. It can be a little noisy, but not excessively so and the C-class remains a relatively quiet car.

You can have the unit in higher power, unassisted trim for the C250 (201bhp) or with the electric back-up of the C300h hybrid. There’s also a 1.6-litre C200 diesel with 134bhp and a 182bhp 2.0-litre C200 petrol.

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The remaining non-AMG petrol is found in the C350e. Like the C200 it uses a 2-litre, four-cylinder powerplant, but electric assistance brings total output to 289bhp with 258lb ft of torque - the latter developed at only 1200rpm, courtesy of that electric motor.

Most potent of the standard C-class range is the AMG C43. This uses a twin-turbocharged V6, developing 362bhp at 5500rpm, and 383lb ft of torque from 2000rpm, eventually revving to a 6500rpm red line. It's not the brutal device we've come to expect from the V8-engined AMG models but the manner in which it delivers its performance still makes the C43 a very swift car indeed. It's got plenty of traction too, thanks to a standard all-wheel drive system.

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> Read our C63 AMG review

There are three different transmissions available in the C-class models – a six-speed manual gearbox, the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic and the new 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto. The manual is nothing like as bad as Mercedes manuals of years ago but the C-class is better suited to the auto gearboxes. The nine-speed is quicker, smoother and more refined than the old seven-speed, which still sees service in the two hybrids and the C63.

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