Is it worth paying RM288k for this CBU model, or just wait for the CKD version later this year?
In the past couple of months, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia was on an assault with new car launches and events. We were bombarded with invites to witness the launches of the new C-Class, Maybach S-Class, and even the brand's first EV model in the country, the EQA 250 AMG Line.
One of the events was a press drive to Johor to test out the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C 200 Avantgarde Line and C 300 AMG Line. Unfortunately, our team was struck with COVID-19, and we were unable to participate. On the bright side, they were kind enough to give us a loaner for a few days for us to experience the all-new C 200 Avantgarde Line.
First and foremost, the new C-Class models were launched back in February. Both the C 200 and C 300 were unveiled as CBU models priced at RM288,334 and RM330,681 respectively (OTR price excluding insurance, 5% sales tax included), with plans to introduce the CKD versions later this year.
Despite that interesting notion, it didn't stop Malaysians from almost fully booking all of the available CBU models, which is certainly good news for Mercedes-Benz Malaysia. Nevertheless, we were given a few days to find out if the sexy-looking W206 C-Class is more than just style over substance.
Looking at the C 200 Avantgarde Line, the fifth-gen model is certainly a wonderful car to admire visually. Taking notes from the more premium S-Class (which is why some folks are referring to this new C-Class as a proper 'baby S-Class), the new C-Class is no baby as it's taller, wider, and lower compared to the previous-gen W205. In other words, the 'baby S-Class' has grown up quite a bit.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C 200 Avantgarde Line
2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line
During the launch, the C 200 Avantgarde Line looked particularly 'normal' compared to the much sportier-looking C 300 AMG Line. On its own (without the C 300 by its side), the C 200 actually looks decent with clean lines and figures flowing from the front to its rear. Its low-key hexagonal grille can be positively referred to as 'minimalist' which blends well with the set of 18-inch 5-spoke wheels plus Lowered Comfort suspension stance.
As for firepower, the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mild-hybrid unit produces 204hp and 300Nm of torque. Mated to a 9G-Tronic transmission as well as a 15kW electric motor, the C 200 completes the century run in 7.6 seconds paired with a top speed of 246km/h.
Designed to offer great levels of comfort, NVH, and fuel efficiency, the C 200's powertrain can go down to 6.6-litres/100km thanks to the inclusion of that electric motor positioned between the engine and gearbox (if you're really careful with the pedal). The C 200 might feel slow at first, but once you get used to it, that 1.5-litre certainly delivers quite a punch, but not enough to make you go 'Wohoo!'. Comfort is the name of the game here.
There is, however, one particular aspect that we did not enjoy with the C 200 - its ground clearance. For most speed humps and bumps here in Malaysia, you really have to manoeuvre it carefully to avoid contact with its undercarriage. The Lowered Comfort suspension might be sublime when you're gunning it on the highway, but in cities and towns with three or more adults in the car, be prepared to hear that dreaded scratching sound when you roll up to a speed bump a bit too fast.
If you can manage to overcome that obstacle, then you'll certainly have more time to appreciate the interior. The first thing that you'll notice is the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system which comes in the form of a 12.3-inch driver display and an 11.9-inch centre touchscreen.
That waterfall-style portrait-format centre screen is definitely an attention-getter for anyone who steps into the car for the first time. Working it out was as smooth as butter, and with the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the infotainment package in the new C-Class certainly gets all thumbs-up it deserves.
There are a couple of things that future owners might need to get used to - the mix of buttons that can be clicked and those which are touch-sensitive, plus getting the right seating position for maximum comfort. Seating-wise, it took us a while to get it just right (a couple of days, not sure why). The Artico-wrapped seats, however, were certainly comfortable enough for any posh posteriors.
At the end of the day, the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C 200 Avantgarde Line offers a more minimalist approach when it comes to style and substance, which is understandable when you consider that almost all of the CBU allocations are booked within a few weeks of its introduction.
If your budget is restricted to under RM300k, the C 200 might be worth it (even more so when the CKD version launches later this year). If not, hope on straight to, in our opinion, the better-looking and performing C 300 AMG Line.