The Mercedes-Benz C250 AMG Sports came out on top in the Business Class category in the first annual Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, announced on 14 January in Johannesburg.
In order to compete in the Business Class category certain entry criteria had to be met. The judges looked for an aspirational vehicle that appealed to the image-conscious driver who places a priority on performance, dynamics, technology and design. Eligibility into the Business Class meant that the cars had to be priced between R400 000 and R700 000 including extras. Other defining criteria were a minimum of six airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESP).
Once the criteria were met, certain ‘pillars of success’ led the judging process. These included engine technology, luxury, brand strength, design and quality appeal, driving dynamics and advanced technologies.
Why did the Mercedes-Benz C250 AMG Sports Win?
Since its launch, the C-Class has notched up multiple awards and boasts a World Car of the Year title under its belt, so can’t be ignored in this segment. The competition in the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards came in the form of perennial rivals Audi, in S3 Sedan guise and BMW, with 428i Gran Coupe. Once the judging panel completed the comprehensive scoring sheets, the C250 AMG Sports emerged as the winner. At this final voting phase judges also had to consider consumer data collected through our Ownership Satisfaction survey, developed in partnership with Lightstone Consumer.
The C250 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that delivers 155 kW and 350 Nm of torque. The C250 is respectably quick with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.6 sec and still very frugal with a claimed consumption figure of 5.9L/100km. Mercedes-Benz’s smooth seven-speed automatic does shifting duties. Manual gear changes can be effected by using standard gear shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
As is the case with most German premium vehicles, the standard specification is decent, but for the really tasty technology you have to spend extra. It is thus in the C250 – PreSafe is standard, as is a comprehensive audio system with Bluetooth support and even two USB ports. There’s also that very attractive TFT control screen that is nearly 18 cm wide. But then there are the options and there are some great items to choose from like a Parking Package that includes rear view camera and active park assist (R14 900). A heads-up display system costs R15 000. The COMAND on-line navigation system that also includes 10Gb of music storage space is priced at R24 500. And Driving Assistance Plus, which includes Distronic Plus, Lane Keep Assist and Cross Traffic Assist costs R29 900.
Vivendren Patchiappen from Mercedes-Benz accepts the Business Class trophy from Cars.co.za co-founder, Alastair MacMurray.
With the Agility Control system as standard, the driver can select a driving mode to suit his/her mood. Left in its default settings the C-Class is an agile handler, and beautifully composed on a wide variety of surfaces. It also feels considerably nimbler than its predecessors, and there’s certainly good entertainment on offer here. This model also offers a lowered (by 15 mm) and recalibrated suspension set-up that further sharpens dynamic responses.
It is often said that the Mercedes-Benz C-Class takes what is best about the S-Class, and makes it available to a broader public. Indeed, step into the C-Class interior and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re inside something much more expensive. The sweeping facia centre section and the obvious focus on technology is what dominates. Still, although the design is far sportier than Mercedes models of the past, comfort levels are among the best in class.
Lastly, Mercedes-Benz’s brand strength was taken into account. The C-Class itself is one of the most desirable buys in the local market, so resale value should be good.
Opinion From The Judges
“The C-Class is the king of the compact executive cars, and in C250 AMG Sport guise the desirability is really heightened. Beware the options list, though!” Hannes Oosthuizen
“Mercedes’s C-Class has really moved the segment forward. The engine is superb, the tech is unbelievable and the entire package offers so much. It’s a really difficult car to fault and it is a class act all round.” David Taylor
“This is a car that takes refinement, luxury and comfort to the next level. The C-Class ticks all the right boxes a premium sedan needs.” Ashley Oldfield