THE recently upgraded Mercedes C-Class delivers extra firepower and it boasts freshened up looks that perfectly match its dynamic handling capabilities.
Viewed from any approach, the sleek C 220 Estate oozes elegant design cues with the likes of a diamond-effect radiator grille housing the Mercedes star emblem, heat insulating dark tinted glass, sweeping light clusters with full LED tail lamps, 18-inch alloys and a panoramic electric sunroof. AMG bodystyling on the front apron, rear apron and side skirts complete the powerful appearance.
Move inside and the interior is clutter-free, spacious and very classy with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. There is full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, along with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display plus 10.25-inch multimedia screen.
Creature comforts include powered and heated AMG sports seats, a Burmester surround sound system, wireless charging pad, a DAB radio and plenty more besides.
There is a truly premium feel to this car with black leather upholstery, grey oak open-pore trim, plenty of soft-touch surfaces and a smart analogue clock perfectly positioned in the centre of the dashboard.
The car, priced at £42,365 (£52,610 with options), was powered by a 2.0-litre 194hp diesel engine delivering 400Nm of torque. This unit was mated to a super smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddles for added fun.
It could complete the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 7.4 seconds, maxing out at 142mph while delivering a combined 41.5-47.9mpg along with way with carbon emissions of 133g/km.
The acceleration is very swift and the car handles more like a saloon car than a practical estate vehicle capable of carrying between 460 and 1,480 litres worth of kit with the rear seats dropped flat.
It's a car that effortlessly clocks up the motorway miles but is deceptively agile when pushed on through twisting country lanes.
The road holding is exceptional and there is next-to-no sign of any body sway no matter how enthusiastically the Mercedes is driven.
The driver can select from different drive modes called Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, that alter the manner in which the car reacts and responds with the Sport modes proving the most rewarding. And there is ample driver feedback through the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel too.
There were also some rather clever optional extras on our car, including self-levelling suspension and variable damper control to help improve the ride and handling.
And a whole host of safety features were introduced thanks to the additional Driving Assistance package costing an extra £1,695.
These included Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Braking Assist with cross-traffic function, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Route-based speed adaptation and Pre Safe Plus. The car also features Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system to keep you on the move during more adverse weather and driving conditions.
Comfort levels within this C-Class model are high and there is ample room for a trio of back seat passengers. And apart from that generously-sized boot, there are numerous storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a lockable glovebox, a deep central cubby box, cup holders and practical door pockets.