14 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Gorgeous design and sharp steering

Saloon had been overshadowed by BMW 3 Series – but current gen changes everything

The sweetest model in the C-Class range is the C180 CDI diesel estate

The sweetest model in the C-Class range is the C180 CDI diesel estate

 

For more than three decades, Mercedes’s sports saloon laboured in the shadow of that colossus of roads, the BMW 3 Series, generation after generation of 190E and C-Class were judged never quite as much fun as a Beemer, even if it was grudgingly admitted that they might be slightly better to own, overall.

With the introduction of the current generation of C-Class, that all changed. Here was a C that put in an A-plus performance. Handsome to look at, with a truly gorgeous cabin that leapfrogged BMW and Audi for class honours, it also has wonderfully balanced handling and sharp, responsive steering.

Ultra-hot AMG V8 versions take all the headlines, but actually the sweetest model in the range is the C180 CDI diesel estate. Humble it may be, but rather wonderful too.

Alternatively, take the new C-Class coupe; it doesn’t matter with which engine as it’s a car you can buy almost entirely for its slinky styling.

Price range: €35,850 to €57,380

Co2 emissions: 94 to 154g/km

Which one? C180d Estate in Avantgarde trim. Just about perfect.

PCP from €POA