Fast, fun, frugal - 8th Merc C320

Fast, fun, frugal - 8th Merc C320

A diesel C-Class is not something you'd expect to encounter at a track day, but the 2007 Wheels Car of the Year boasts a finely balanced chassis and, with 510Nm from its 3.0-litre V6, it's hardly slow. Mercedes claims a 7.7sec 0-100km/h time but the C320 punched out repeatable 7.0sec runs with no more effort than slipping the auto into drive and standing on the throttle. Around the circuit, John Boston recorded an effortless 54.12-second lap, placing the Merc fifth, a fraction ahead of the overtly sporty Civic Type R. "So easy, you could drive one-handed," grinned Boston. "You can't turn ESP off so you need to drive smoothly. It doesn't feel as fast as it is. You wouldn't take it to a track day, but if you did, you wouldn't be embarrassed."

No surprise that the comfy luxury sedan was the best at eating up the highway kays and urban crawl, and it recorded the best actual consumption (12.1L/100km), even if it was 60 percent more than its 7.4L/100km ADR number. But wearing the third highest price tag and scoring second last on the subjective fun factor, the C-Class was unable to add more silverware to the cabinet. JT

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