• Handling and steering
    • Engine and transmission combo
    • Quality and solidity
    • Run flat tyres ruin the ride
    • Open roof creates loads of wind noise
    • Fuel economy could be better

    About the Mercedes-Benz C250

    M B purchased this Mercedes-Benz C250 used for $45,990 (including all on-road costs) in 2023. M B would buy this car again because: “Would depend on the timing. If I was looking to replace immediately (say from a write-off) I definitely would. But probably not in a few years time when it’s time to replace, as I’d look for something else or something newer. “

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    Apart from a broken passenger window switch/button that I discovered after collecting the car I have had no issues over the past few months since purchase.

    Everything works flawlessly, which should be expected with only low kilometres (50,000km when purchased).

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    The purchase experience was great, although a bit spontaneous. But first a back story. In 2014 when the W205 arrived, I stopped by a dealer to take a look.

    My W204 was three years old at the time, and I was keen to compare. Well I don’t know if the one I drove was a dud, but I walked away disappointed. Flimsy feeling doors, uncomfortable ride which also had some sort of clanging noise coming from the suspension, steering that just didn’t feel right, and a number of rattles from the dash.

    I went back to the solid security of the W204 and never took an interest in the W205 again, even though I found the styling to be beautifully executed.

    Fast forward to 2023 and the time had come to think about replacing the W204, and while on a walk through Fortitude Valley I spotted a W205 C250 at an attractive price.

    I had some spare time so organised a test drive. I was apprehensive as it had the AMG Line suspension (although on normal, non-run flat tyres), and I winced remembering how terrible the ride was on the standard suspension I test drove in 2014. I was however shocked. Yes the ride was firm, but not uncomfortable, and the handling ran rings around my W204.

    I returned to the dealer ready to buy, only to be told that someone else had beat me to it! After this day though I was smitten, so started a search for something similar.

    Well the (online) search was successful if not simple, ending up quite a distance away in Townsville. The dealer was fantastic and did a very comprehensive tour of the car over the phone/vid with me (as I’m in Brisbane), kept in touch and answered any questions I had, arranged for my trade-in to be dropped off locally, and collected us from the airport when we arrived to drive the new car back to Brisbane.

    A couple of hours into the drive home I noticed the passenger side electric window switch was broken. I contacted the dealer who arranged for it to be replaced at my local Mercedes-Benz dealer. Simple right? Not quite, as the Townsville dealer was doing everything they could to organise, and the local dealer made it as difficult as possible (which in 20+ years’ experience with them I shouldn’t be surprised).

    I won’t name and shame the local dealer, but it’s right near a famous Brisbane pub… Eventually the window switch was replaced, and I’ve had no issues with anything since.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    Very happy. The combination of options (AMG Line, Vision Pack, COMAND Pack, and Seat Comfort Pack), low kilometres, two-year certified warranty, two-year roadside assist, good price, and the unique carbon fibre trim option on the dash/console (for a non AMG model) made it an easy decision to make the trek to Townsville to buy.

    The C250 is packed with safety and convenience equipment, the Burmester sound system is spectacular (and much better than the Harman Kardon in the W204, which couldn’t handle bass at all), and the size is perfect. It’s quite remarkable that a seemingly small increase in length and wheelbase over the W204 has made such a noticeable difference in interior room and comfort.

    I’m not overly tall (175cm) but can very comfortably sit in the back behind my own front seat position with room to spare. Almost every interior panel, even right to the bottom of the doors is covered in soft touch material, and apart from some minor noises from the panoramic sunroof/roof lining on very rough roads there isn’t a hint of a squeak or rattle from the interior.

    And just look at all those buttons and stalks. Glorious, easy to use, quality feeling buttons. Not an annoying, soulless, fingerprint magnet touchscreen in sight!

    I have always preferred and bought the post-facelift versions of the preceding C-Class models, however for the W205 the pre-facelift just looks stunning, with mini S-Class lines, jewel-like head and tail lights, minimal overhangs, and an expressive interior. The simpler, cleaner styling, especially at the front, make it preferable to the later mid-life updated version.

    One option I would have liked would be the air suspension, however I would not take the plunge on a used car with it unless at least a five-year warranty was included, so air was struck off the ‘must have’ list. And where is the option for seat cooling? Or a rear electric roller blind like the W204? I’m sure heated seats are nice, but completely unnecessary and barely used in Queensland.

    In lieu of my dream W205, which doesn’t exist (C400, pre-facelift AMG Line but with traditional grill and upright bonnet star, Obsidian Black with red leather interior, all options and Airmatic) my silver C250 machine is perfect.

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    The 2.0L M274 engine is a bit of a mixed bag. Compared to the preceding 1.8L M271 in the W204, it is far more drive-able, with maximum torque from only 1200rpm.

    Coupled with the seriously smooth 9G-Tronic transmission progress is serene, especially in Comfort mode where it will take off in second gear. Select Sport or Sport+ and give it the boot and it will launch with quite serious intent, getting to 100 in a bit over 6 seconds.

    Obviously 155kW and 350Nm are not going to set the world on fire, but it’s hardly a slouch in a car that is quite light (~1500kg) for its size, thanks to the extensive use of aluminium. Overtaking on the Bruce Highway back from Townsville was a breeze, with just a flex of the right foot needed before speeds reached ‘that will put you in jail’ levels. Sitting on the national speed limit in 9th gear has the engine spinning quietly at 1400rpm.

    On the other hand, the M274 is quite noisy when cold, especially compared to the quieter M271. Smooth, but noisy until it warms. They all sound like it, but it’s a blot on what is otherwise a very agreeable 4-cylinder turbo.

    And economy is just ok, but nothing special, with an average over the past few months of 9.4L/100km over 2600km. This has been heavily skewed (at least 95 per cent) towards inner city, peak hour driving with an average speed of only 37km/h.

    This is more than the W204 C250, which surprises me considering the W205 is lighter, has two additional gears, and is only very slightly more powerful.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    The technology included is, for the most part, helpful, useful and reliable. Exactly what you want from technology.

    In saying that some of the technology is not immediately user friendly and requires learning. Take COMAND; the system in the W204 was simplicity personified, the newer version in the W205 has small changes that make it slightly more challenging to use.

    It’s still reasonably simple, and the voice control system rarely gets things wrong, but some things have been made more difficult, mainly thanks to the control wheel and touch pad combo.

    The control wheel by itself would be perfectly fine. After a short time though it becomes second nature. It also does not include Android Auto or CarPlay; this does not bother me as I have had both before in a previous car and barely used either, as Bluetooth (when required) is enough for me.

    DAB radio is included, as well as sat-nav, voice control (with a short press to activate, or a long press to bypass and activate your connected phone’s voice assistant), and the glorious sounding Burmester sound system, which sounds superb especially when playing a CD (remember those?) where the sound quality really shines.

    Also the ability to set the drive mode to Individual and prevent the engine auto stop-start is a boon.

    Safety systems include all the usuals (active blind-spot assist, active lane-keep assist, pre-safe, autonomous braking etc), and then some, such as adaptive cruise control, active steering assist (rather unnerving at first, but easy to get used to, and easily turned off with one button), 360 degree surround view cameras, a comprehensive head up display, and adaptive intelligent LED headlights that can hold high beam for extended periods by blocking out cars so not to glare.

    Convenience systems include heated electric seats with memory, electric steering column, electric bootlid with kick to open and close feature, Keyless Go (entry and start), self-parking, and some seriously comfortable and supportive sports front seats.

    I have found a couple of negatives though. The adaptive cruise control, although always working reliably, seems to be far less cautious than the system in the W204.

    I find myself with my foot hovering over the brake a lot more than I would have in my old Mercedes. It has never not worked but can be a bit disconcerting. And the lack of some final detailed touches from left to right-hand drive has continued on from the W204.

    Example being the buttons on the steering wheel, where the right-hand side buttons control the volume and things on the centre display/COMAND, and the left controls the instrument display. It would make far more ergonomic sense to have left control left, and right control right.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    Ride comfort, in its current state, is a 5/10. It’s not uncomfortable, but definitely on the firmer side, not helped by run flat tyres. Driving in urban areas results in a somewhat fidgety ride over the rubbish roads in Brisbane, but highway driving is the complete opposite, smooth and more traditional Benz like.

    As soon as the current tyres fitted (run flat Pirelli P Zeros) are worn out I’ll be replacing with normal tyres and a puncture repair kit. This should substantially improve the ride quality.

    For handling it’s the complete opposite, at least a 9/10. Corners are a joy, with barely any body roll, direct and nicely weighted steering, loads of grip, and powerful brakes. A run up Mount Tamborine not long after buying was an absolute hoot, the level of grip providing loads of confidence.

    Airmatic suspension would have been the best of both worlds, but as mentioned previously, without a warranty for as long as I intend to keep the car there’s too much that can potentially go wrong and cost big dollars to fix.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    After a 202, 203, and two 204s over the past 20+ years I thought I was done with the C0Class after my early experience with the 205 in 2014.

    However I’m glad I gave it another look as it really is a superb car that mixes stunning good looks, excellent usability, room and comfort for four adults, driving pleasure, advanced safety, and exceptional quality and build.

    Will a 206 be next? Maybe, but I don’t think the rear looks quite as special being bereft of chrome, and the lower interior plastics are terrible. But who knows, maybe the facelift will fix them and I’ll be back!

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