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25 Februari 2010

Aku dan Mercedes C200K







Given the fact that more and more young Malaysian executives are earning higher incomes, DaimlerChrysler is looking to cash in on it with the introduction of the new W204 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. As usual, the grapevine has been buzzing with news of the imminent launch of the W204 Mercedes following its debut earlier in the year at the Geneva Motor Show.

The new C-Class comes with two faces, the Elegance having a more conventional front mask, made up of the familiar-looking Mercedes grille, topped with the iconic three-pointed star mounted on the bonnet immediately behind the grille. The Avantgarde looks more aggressive, with a large three-pointed star mounted to the grille itself, and minus the star on the bonnet, the slot being taken by a Mercedes-Benz badge. The body shape and design is absolutely new, but many of the Mercedes-Benz DNA and design cues are retained.

Inside, the trimmings are in-line with what customers would expect in a Mercedes-Benz; leather seats, high quality, two-tone soft-touch plastic trim, with some wood inlays tastefully placed to give it a touch of class. The front driver and passenger seats have electric controls and the controls are like in the E-Class, in the form of a seat profile, and located on the driver and passenger doors. Dual zone air-conditioning is standard, so you can have the air-conditioning freezing cold on one side, and hot air blowing out the other, if you so wish.

A very user-friendly blue tooth connection can pair up your phone with the car, making the interior of the car a huge ‘hands free’ kit. Audio and the blue tooth can be controlled using a toggle mechanism called the Comand Control system (no spelling error here). Driver and passenger airbags, and front-to-rear side curtain bags cover both sides of the cabin.


The design lines of the new C-Class leans more towards the young crowd, with a more aggressive demeanor. More conservative types can go for the Elegance, while the Avantgarde will appeal more to the sporty types. At the front end, Bi-Xenon lights will give a better view at night, and these come with headlight washers. Also standard are fog lights which light up when the car is negotiating a corner. A rain sensor turns on the wipers automatically, and varies the speed according to the amount of rain hitting the front windscreen.

As far as performance goes, the 1.8 litre supercharged engine now delivers 184 horsepower, and 250Nm of torque available from 2,800 to 5,000 rpm. Mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox (with a manual shift option), the C200 scoots to 100 km/h in a little over 9 seconds with the air-conditioner on,(versus a claimed time of 8.6 seconds) and has a top speed of 239 km/h.

On the Avantgarde variant, an Agility Control shock absorber system senses the road condition through the movement of the front shock absorbers and adjusts the rear shock absorber damping force to compensate for any dips or bumps, thus softening the ride shocks. The effect is a more comfortable ride over rough roads. Similarly, when the car is traveling fast over winding roads, the agility control system also modifies the damping forces on the shock absorbers to give the C200 improved handling. In a nutshell, you might say that the system gives you the best of both worlds in terms of handling and comfort.

On a media drive from Petaling Jaya to Cameron Highlands, during which we were able to put the C200 through its paces, we found that the ride comfort over the rough ‘B’ roads was excellent, and on the Simpang Pulai to Cameron Highlands, we had fun going through the sweeping bends and parabolic corners. The C200 performed flawlessly, although there were a couple of instances where the ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) stepped in to cut back on the throttle when we went into a corner a little beyond what the ESP was programmed to accept as ‘normal’.

In terms of safety, the C200 comes equipped with driver and passenger airbags, and curtain airbags stretching from the front to the rear of the cabin on both sides. As a matter of course, ABS, EBD, and BA are all part of the standard equipment.

Generally, we are of the opinion that the C200 is a great car that lives up to the reputation of the three-pointed star, and will find a place in the hearts (and pocketbooks) of not only the Mercedes-Benz loyalists, but also amongst the young and up-coming executives. It is a car that offers a good combination of class, comfort, and performance, and all-rounder of sorts!

Stop Press! The prices of the Mercedes-Benz C 200 have finally been announced! The Elegance version retails for RM248++K, while the Avantgarde is RM10k more.

www.autoworld.com.my

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