Flying Business Class

Many of the new Mercedes C-Class cars are destined for the company fleet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still in a class of its own, says Danny Cobbs

Mercedes C-Class C250CDI

There was a time, not so very long ago, when the carrot of a company car usually came in the form of something quite mundane. But that was then, when you knew where you with all the different car makers. Back then, who would have thought that Porsche would make an SUV? And an Audi supercar; what a ridiculous notion. Yet now it seems there isn’t a boundary a car maker isn’t prepared to cross, or diversify into, to engage with an ever-discerning and demanding audience.

Take Mercedes, for example. They used to be the default setting when middle-England wanted to go out and buy a new car. And still is. However, because most cars are bought through leasing plans nowadays, it’s possible for a new Merc to be sitting on your driveway for virtually the same monthly outlay as a Ford Mondeo.   A Mercedes for the masses, who would have thought?

Admittedly, this only works when there is the prediction of high second-hand values coupled together with low interest rates, but even so, if the offer’s there, why not snap it up?

And this brings me neatly to the latest generation of C-Class, or more specifically the C250 BlueTec Sport, the subject of this month’s missive.

The new C-Class, then, which went on sale in July, and follows the same format as the outgoing model: a mid-sized, four-door executive saloon.  It’s slightly bigger this time around and far better looking. But to merely describe it as being handsome is like saying Gordon Ramsey just reheats food. It appears to be a mini-me version of the S-Class, Mercedes flagship model, which was never going to be a bad thing.

The interior follows the same S-Class narrative too. It’s like an automotive version of a chocolate body wrap; a place where you feel safe and never want to leave, even after the longest of journeys.

If you wanted to buy this particular model outright, then you’d be looking at spending £34,015, but you’d be in the minority. You see, more than half of all C-Class sales are bought by the fleet market, and most of those are on some type of leasing drip.

You could opt for the entry model, the C200 SE at £28,570, but don’t think for one moment you are going to be short changed by doing so – these aren’t the scantily-clad Mercedes of yesteryear, when even the radio was an added extra.

All C-Class’s now, irrespective of trim levels – there’s three; SE, Sport and AMG Line – come complete with an array of goodies which include such things as a 7-inch colour display monitor, reversing camera, 7-speed auto transmission, alloy wheels and cruise control.

Part of the standard package also includes Mercedes Agility Control; a worthwhile inclusion which remaps the engine, quickens the gear change and tightens-up the suspension and steering. However, once you’ve fiddled with all the different settings, it soon becomes apparent the ‘eco’ mode will deliver the best economy – up to 76.4 mpg – even if it does feel a little on the lacklustre side.

So here, dear reader, is my observation: this C-Class proves the point that company cars aren’t always the equivalent of a beige cardie. Sometimes you could get lucky and end up with a sparkly catsuit.


Quick facts:
Car Driven: Mercedes C250 BlueTec Sport
Engine: 2143cc Turbocharged diesel
Transmission: 7-speed auto
Performance: 204bhp@3800rpm
0-62mph: 6.6 seconds
Top Speed: 153mph
Fuel Consumption: 52.3mpg (urban), 64.2mpg (combined), 76.4mpg (extra urban)
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Price: £34,015