2008 Mercedes-Benz C180K Review

Posted on 30. Jul, 2008 by in Auto News

Engineered like no other car in the world. Sometime in the 90s, Mercedes dropped their long campaign. And no wonder. Become the promise snigger-worthy ironic joke. That is, it stopped funny when it started as you make regular pilgrimages to your local dealer. Mercedes trumpets its new C-Class as a return to the legendary, over-engineered cars from Mercedes-Benz in the past. Straight path to the bottom of the range, the cheapest and easiest of all "true" Benzes is done right 15 years wrong?

"Heir IS your Mercedes C180." The attractive Europcar staff gave me the keys and pointed to a basic search silver Mercedes between two very seductive located Alfa Romeo cars. Sitting next to the two beauties watched the C180K more like Miss Moneypenny instead of Vesper Lynd. Restrained and elegant, dropped the new C-Class last year and look goofy egg back into the timelessly classic wedge shape of the late 1970s.

As the cheapest in the C-Class, you will receive a hood ornament, body-color door handles and plastic hubcaps. The C180K, none of the chrome disco bauble jewelry in North America C300 found, and it's all that. Better for them The C180K feels perfectly safe in its low-cost roots, proclaiming to the world that you have purchased a masterpiece of engineering, not a tarted-up special (cough cough Lincoln).

The austere minimalism sits down inside, the only glossy surface is a polished aluminum six-speed shifter. High-quality black plastic and a few chrome accents emphasize the rest of the C180K interior and gauges. Power windows, locks, air conditioning and a small Nav screen hidden away in the top of the instrument panel are the only options. For only 30k Euro, get what you need and nothing more (if you have a place to put your coffee).

Everything about the C180K inside smells designed to care and manufactured by the ergonomically perfect cloth-covered seats, materials, as if they were designed to feel survived a nuclear explosion. The C180K shows worth every euro is its cost in its absolute perfect construction.

Commissioning of the infrared key in the slot, I cranked the Merc diminutive 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine. The 156bhp engine types and high-torque 230Nm is available with a solid small thrum leaving the single chrome exhaust. The motor rotates as smoothly as it sounds, and, surprise, it does so with puppy dog eyes zeal. Press the perfectly weighted clutch (yes, a manual) and slide the vague feeling shifter in first, I pulled out of the parking lot and headed straight to the highway.

The smallest engine in the C felt at home puttering around Kaiserslautern. Despite the fierce 3400 pounds, the C180K felt lively and quick through the narrow streets, weaving around Smart cars, golf and BMWs. The steering was light and tossable.

The company-compliant ride was not quite true. Whether overcoming paving stones, concrete or brick, the C180K was a planted, communicative and comfortable city car. Never want for power, easy to move, gave the C everything, asking nothing.

Amy, my electronic navigatrix, told me to turn left to merge onto the A6. And now it's time to find out whether the downmarket Merc had elevated aspiration.

Shifting to a third party, flooring the gas pedal, the C180K moved forward at a reasonable pace. A useful 100kmh came in about nine seconds. I've driven faster cars, and I drove slowly. The C180K slots nicely between the two, in that special place where hot-base requires a combination of some attention, but not much. And then you're done.

Entering the unrestricted speed zone I mashed the gas again. Expect the engine to run out of breath, I was surprised to see how the engine kept pulling. 140kmh flashed by. The tighter steering, suspension hugged the ground and remained calm in the cabin. If 160kmh rolled around, I shifted gears. The Merc rush continued.

The wind noise increases slightly as we insist 260kmh (downhill) crowned, but the little Merc was like Yoda in a flotation tank. When the engine finally in the sand out in the flat and level C180K was doing over 130 mph, in the rain, in the Alps., In the night And my passengers were asleep. We averaged 40mpg return from Munich. Amazing.

It's been years since I've driven a car so completely coherent. The C180K was cheap, but never cheap. It was not strong, but it has been fun to drive. It delivers excellent fuel efficiency. Price is right, could also help the low-C Mercedes NA restore some lost luster.

Of course, mechanical and electronic reliability are the ultimate barriers to true return to size. I remain skeptical, but chances are even better prepared for the American mid-market drivers are betting on a Benz.