Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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Mercedes-Benz C-Class C280 SE

Driven July 2007

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Having waxed lyrical about the diesel C-Class last month, a quick word on the current petrol range. Not to redress the balance, but to reaffirm the assertion that this car needs to be taken very seriously, and needs the full attention of all those 3-Series devotees.

The four-cylinder 200 Kompressor and 280 and 350 sixes are all excellent. The 200 because it isn't weedy and a bit rubbish like you might expect, the 280 because it's spot on, and the 350 because it's more than enough, and there's nothing wrong with that either.

Prices for that lot range from £24,117, to a slightly unnerving £33,877 for the 350 Elegance. And that's without any of the toys you definitely want if you've bought a Merc. A 180 will be available which comes in at just under £23,000, but maybe that'll be the weedy, rubbish one. Buyer beware.

Mercedes is also debuting some impressive voice-control technology on the C-Class, with typically crap Merc name: Linguatronic. You can programme satnav, tune the radio, make it play your CDs while you're prank-calling your mum. All without taking your eyes off the road.

So it's actually pretty good. And the whole immensely comprehensive unit costs just over £1,700. Not bad when you consider the price of a basic satnav. But not good when you consider the price of a basic C-Class.

Matt Master

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