The C-Class Lite edition
Do you own a computer? If you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you do. You probably don't know how to use most of the features in your word processor and spreadsheet software, but that's okay; neither do I. There's no use learning functions we'll never need, don't we? So why pay for them if we'll never use them?
Well, consider the new C230 sedan as the C-Class Lite. Pay for the good stuff, not for the superfluous stuff.
Hey, a C350 is pretty quick, with its 268-hp engine, but let's face it; the highest speed limit is 100 km/h, a velocity you'll reach in any car. With that much firepower, you're just that much closer to a speeding ticket.
The C230 is offered in Canada and in certain European countries, but not in the U.S. It's powered by a 24-valve, 2.5-liter inline-6 that develops 201 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. That's more than enough, as our test car, equipped with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive hardware and 7-speed automatic, can reach 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds.
We noticed two things about this small 6-cylinder engine, which powers no other Mercedes model in their Canadian line-up. It's not a screamer; floor the throttle, and the revs climb moderately quickly, but it won't get you an adrenaline rush. Sometimes, the transmission takes a second or two to think about which gear to choose when you summon some extra forward motion.
Great highway cruiser
On the other hand, the engine is buttery-smooth and silent. And the gearbox still gets a manual mode as well as Comfort and Sport shift patterns. Fuel consumption isn't really better than with the two bigger engines, though, averaging 12.3 L/100 km.
The C230 handles pretty nicely, too. The 4MATIC system isn't breaking a sweat during the test, as winter is over now. Yet we know it performs admirably, as a C350 4MATIC won our recent all-wheel drive sedan comparison test. The C230 also changes directions the same way as the C350 does, with a peculiar delay between steering inputs and execution.
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