- Lap Time
- Max Speed
- C1 Exit Speed
- Speed at C7 Apex
Like all great circuits, the MMRT makes for an apt automotive equaliser. Its blend of rhythmic sweeping corners (Read: C4 and C5) and bumpy technical portions would spit you out if you are not prepared to steer with the pedal as much as the wheel. As for choosing the ever so comfy C-Class to challenge the diesel Beemer, well it does have a rather strong diesel engine and it made for proper apples to apples comparison.
On the two long-ish straights before C4 and C8, the C250d pulls like a train riding the wave of torque that builds right from 1800rpm. However, it’s when you drop the anchor at speed that you realise the weight of the car. If you brake too hard you can shift the weight far too forward and lose traction at the rear. Aditya Patel explains, "It's the weight of the car. It needs little bit of care when driving hard. The steering is lacking in feel but the front-end is pointy and the brakes have good bite, too".
C2 is a flat 90-degree right-hand corner that’s shortly followed by a similarly angled off-camber left-hander. Here the Merc is surprisingly agile – stand on the strong brakes, flick down to fourth then third gear, right foot bucking the throttle to power out. At this point, the car is tipping on its nose with plenty of weight over the front axle, allowing the wheels to grip without too much understeer. The turn-in, as a result, is sharp and you will find very little signs of the nose washing out. In fact, the solid front-end meant I was pushing beyond my preconceived limits and yet taking the tight inside line on faster corners including C7 and over the slight kink that follows it. Good fun.
What really hurts the C250d's lap time though is the overly intrusive traction control. Despite all the electronic nannies switched off; the Mercedes system would use the brakes to prevent wheel spin in the damp and cut off power for added measure, especially on the fast C9 and C12. Interestingly, Aditya was quick to point out that the car would fare better in the dry with higher grip leading to less intervention from the traction control. He also found the rear-end to be skittish midway through some of the bumpy corners. "Its stable at turn-in but midway through the corner the back wants to come out and play".
"The handling is interesting because you've to be careful about the weight. Its tail steps out at an odd time, little bit too late. I’d like it to step out earlier. The seating position is quite nice and the steering feels good to hold. Traction control is very intrusive – definitely safe for the road, but on the track it gets in your way when you are going for quick lap times."