Benz C220 CDI Long Termer - December 2008

After almost 4500km of motoring in the C200K, we recently traded petrol for diesel power in the form of a new C220 CDI Estate. Though happy with the C200K, we agreed from the outset to do what a growing number of motorists are doing, and make the switch to compression ignition.

In the decade since 1998, diesel models increased from 1.25 to a healthy 22.25 percent of Benz's Australian sales mix. Despite this, the supercharged four-cylinder petrol C200K remains the preferred choice for C-Class buyers, with a dominant 62 percent. The C220 CDI ranks second of the five C-Class engine options, claiming 16 percent of sales. But, along with AMG's mighty 6.2-litre V8, the four-cylinder diesel has only just become available in the Estate.

The change-over means our long-term Estate is now motivated by a 125kW and 400Nm 2.1-litre diesel, in place of the slightly more powerful, but markedly less torquey, 135kW and 250Nm 1.8-litre petrol four mit blower. The difference, as you might imagine, is substantial, with all that extra torque available at lower revs making for a more relaxed driving experience.

In truth, we had few problems with the smooth and energetic supercharged petrol four, but with just $4400 separating the two in our chosen Avantgarde spec, we'd opt for the diesel, due to its superior torque and better fuel economy. This, plus the fact that, in increasingly energy-conscious times, you're likely to get the premium back at resale.

We haven't traded spec for spec, however, and have swapped some desirable features such as the AMG sports pack and Easy Pack tailgate, for others like the COMAND telematics (sat-nav) system ($3202), dark tinted rear windows ($823) and active headlights ($326). Other options fitted to the C200 CDI include metallic paint ($1557), and protective undershield ($244), while black leather upholstery comes 'standard' as part of the $4668 Avantgarde package. Like its predecessor, WQA-855 also gets the $3692 Vision package (bi-xenon headlights, electric sunroof and 12-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system) to tip the scales at a slightly lower RRP of $76,505.

Date acquired: November 2008
Kilometres this month: 378
Total kilometres: 934
Av. fuel consumption: 10.3L/100km
Maintenance: nil>

Benz's nervous PR man will be happy to see the switch to diesel has immediately shaved 1.5L/100km off the C200K's overall average. It's likely this is as bad as the C220 CDI gets, given low total kays and exclusively urban running thus far.

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