Now, the C300d might have AMG in its name - and it has potent output figures, no question - but, it still isn’t as mad as AMGs go. Plus, all the sense of occasion that the popping and crackling of an AMG exhaust brings, is conspicuous by its absence on the 300d.
But it is a lovely car to drive. Toggle to Comfort mode, and the light but quick and precise steering, the adequately alert throttle response, and the seamless gear changes, make the C300d both easy and enjoyable to drive. Plus the visibility, particularly at the front, courtesy the not-so-fat A-pillars and a low set dashboard, is fantastic. It is remarkably effortless and relaxing to drive on your daily commute.
And when you take it on the highway, with all that torque and a 9-speed automatic, the C300d sits at 100kmph as if the engine were just idling. Even the straight line stability is outstanding. Unless you look at the speedometer, you wouldn’t be able to tell that you are doing three digit speeds. That’s how quiet and unhurried and easygoing the C300d feels.
But, it’s no slouch around corners either. It does have AMG in its name, after all. Shift to Sport+ mode and the steering weighs up a bit. The throttle response feels more alert. And the gearbox holds each gear for a bit longer to give the driver a stronger and more instant drive out of corners.
But, it’s the light-footedness of this C around corners that took us by surprise. It’s like a boxer - nimble, alert and quick - in the way it changes direction. There’s no hesitation or delay. And no matter how hard you fire it into a corner - wet roads or not - it always seems to find grip. And it is amazingly neutral in its handling balance. There’s just no understeer to be found! Plus, the harder you drive it through a set of corners, the wider the smile it returns.
The only real negative when it comes to C300d’s drive is the ride quality. At slow speeds and over small bumps and ditches, the C feels fine. It also rides flat over undulating roads. But, over something more pronounced - squared out bumps or potholes, or even larger road joints or broken tarmac patches - the 300d can feel crashy. Its ride can get noisy and thumpy; something that one doesn’t expect from, what is otherwise, a pampering car to be transported in.