I get the impression that the Mercedes Benz CLC is one for the ladies.
Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. Under the bonnet of the Sport test car was a 2.0-litre, CDI diesel engine, which was mated to the 5-speed automatic gearbox. It produces 122PS at 4,200rpm and 270Nm of torque between 1,600 and 2,800rpm. It is a common rail, high pressure injection unit with a turbocharger, which sounds good on paper but in reality, it doesn't live up to the Sport name.
The top speed of 126mph is fine but it takes 11.1 seconds to complete the 0-62mph dash and although it might seem fast enough, it is not what is expected when the word 'turbocharger' is used in the description. There are different settings and a manual sequential shift via the leather-trimmed gearstick or paddles on the steering wheel; an optional extra at £1,050, but for me the Sport setting just doesn't deliver, although it does make for slightly better performance.
The Sport trim includes sports suspension, lowered by 15mm at the front and 5mm at the back which allows drivers to enjoy the pleasures of country roads. And it is pleasurable because once 'wound up', the CLC 200 CDI enters a different phase more befitting the Sport name. On fast bends, the car behaves very well and becomes eager to show off its agility, while on motorway journeys it demonstrates a smooth and quiet attitude.
As you would expect from a diesel, the CLC test car was the most frugal automatic of the range with a combined figure of 48.7mpg derived from 32.1mpg for the urban cycle and 52.3mpg for the extra-urban. That said, the CLC 220 CDI with automatic transmission has the same figures, which is not surprising as it houses the same engine as the 200 but with higher outputs.
For petrol fans, the range comprises three engine sizes; 2.5-, 3.5- and a 1.8-litre with two different power and torque yields.
Prices range from £19,920 to £28,640 and although there are a lot of optional extras to be had, the standard CLC is well equipped to cope with everyday needs. For instance, the test car came with front, side and front curtain airbags, ABS with Brake Assist (BAS), automatic climate control, speed-sensitive Direct Steering, powered and heated folding door mirrors, front fog lamps, auto headlights and wipers, rake and reach-adjustable steering column and Parktronic parking sensors, front and rear.
A CD/radio with six speakers and telephone keypad is standard issue but in the test car, these were upgraded to a 6CD auto-changer with media interface for MP3 and USB storage devices for an extra £340, and £385 pays for telephone pre-wiring with hands-free.
I get the impression that the Mercedes Benz CLC is one for the ladies. The narrow seats and shoulder room suggests that it is suited to smaller frames. It is a fairly large car but feels small enough not to be intimidating and of course the three-pointed star makes a difference.27 November 2008
Mercedes Benz CLC-Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz CLC 200 CDi Sport Panorama|
|Colour||Tenorite Grey Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||126 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / Unlimited miles|
|Price (when tested on the 27/11/08)||£22,415|