C220 a taste of finer things

I GUESS as you mature you begin to appreciate the finer things life has to offer.

I GUESS as you mature you begin to appreciate the finer things life has to offer.

Your taste in music begins to change, you prefer sushi to a russian and slap chips, and a nice, mature bottle of red wine replaces a double Klippies and Coke!

Out goes a cramped holiday in a 10th floor studio flat (with the lift not working) on the Durban beach front, hopefully replaced with a couple of days lazing about in Camps Bay.

But then again, when it comes to cars, some of us never want to grow up.

We enjoy a dice now and again between robots, we love the sound of a revving engine and get off on the smell of burning rubber.

Now when you are 20-something you can get away with doing it in a Golf GTi or perhaps an Opel OPC, but when you are 40-something it's time to grow up ... well kind of!

And that's where the new Mercedes Benz C class comes in.

Often viewed as an "old man's car", with the new C220 the Germans have managed to combine a dash of maturity and refinement with a slice of kick-butt hooliganism that lurks in all of us.

By refined I refer to the lovely interior the car comes with - leather seats, dual climate control (whatever happened to good, old-fashioned air-con?), multi-function steering wheel and plush carpets.

And then when you've finished with the niceties of the satellite navigation and superb sound system and want some fun, well it's just an accelerator pedal away.

The 2.2 litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine behaves itself most of the time, but tap that right pedal and you awaken the teenage side of the vehicle.

125kW of power doesn't sound like much on paper, but factor in the impressive torque of 400Nm and it combines nicely when called upon.

Also, the gear changes on the six-speed automatic gearbox are smooth and the MacPherson struts ensure the suspension is firm but comfortable.

One-touch windows at the back and rear make things easy, as does the fact that you can put the windows up without switching on the car.

As with most Merc's, seating can be adjusted electronically to fit your preferred driving position with the simple use of a lever on the side of the seat.

Boot size is a whopping 475 litres, which is more than enough for a couple of suitcases and space left over for the golf clubs.

A little "BlueEfficiency" logo on the side of the car indicates it's eco-friendly and will keep bunny-huggers happy, while Mercedes Benz claim the fuel consumption is around an impressive 6,2 litres per 100km (combined).

After a week of driving the C220 it didn't bother me that the car didn't attract the envious looks that a car in this price range often does ... it didn't bother me that some referred to it as an "old man's car" ... nor that I can ever get used to that sorry excuse for a handbrake that Mercedes Benz uses in their cars.

No, because at the end of the day, the C220 is definitely one of the finer things in life!