Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
The general consensus amongst the great and good of the Driven to Write community appears to be that Mercedes’ current crop of rear wheel drive saloons, if not exactly a triumphant return to form, are at least broadly acceptable. But never mind us and our vain masthead slogan, the sheer ubiquity of the current W205 C-Class model eloquently testifies to the broader market’s giddy endorsement. However, on this matter I continue to stand unmoved; arms metaphorically folded in petulant refusal.
I was buying wiper blades the other day at my local high street auto factors when I spotted a C-Class in what could perhaps be usefully described as LIDL Area Management spec. Patently entry level C-Class, it offered an overwhelmingly meek face to the world. Is this what £28,160 gets you? A car that screams; ‘It’s all the procurement manager would rubber-stamp, so I had to settle for this’.
I’ve always believed a good test of a car’s style is to view it in poverty specification, painted in a dark colour – say a non-metallic dark blue or black. If it still manages to look vaguely robust, the designers have probably done their job well. If not, the styling simply isn’t strong enough, requiring the tinsel and tawdry addenda to mask the deficiencies.
In the case of boggo-C here, not only does it look insipid, but worse still, insubstantial. That half hearted strip of brightwork at the base of the DLO shrieks afterthought and only serves to highlight its absence elsewhere. Inside, the seats are upholstered in synthetic Artico – or faux leather to the likes of you.
Mercedes’ designers are fond of reminding us about their Sensual Purity® design ethos, and I suppose if you squint really hard you can see what they’re on about. Purity as in unadulterated, unadorned, undesirable even? But as for sensual; well, I suppose there’s always those sinuous body creases to rub up against.
Of course there have been poverty level Mercedes’ for generations, but they’ve been more commonly known as taxi’s. Even back in the halcyon ‘vertical affinity’ era, entry level Merc’s sported plastic wheel trims, cloth seats and no brightwork, but they never yelled ‘cheapskate’ with so much vehemence.
So is this the naked face of ‘premium’? I want my money back.
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