The difference between humans and cars is that while we are plagued by mid-life crises, cars are bestowed mid-life makeovers.
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was a watershed model that heralded a new era for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, changing people’s perception that the brand belonged in senior citizen territory. This timely facelift builds upon the winning formula of the preceding model.
Changes to the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz C180 are not drastic as facelifts go, but enough to increase its appeal, especially to younger buyers. Bi-xenon headlamps, unfortunately, still do not come as standard, except on the C350.
The interior is markedly better than that of the earlier model. The four-spoke steering wheel of old has been replaced by a three-spoker embellished with aluminium trim and perforated inserts, while the instrument cluster now looks more AMG-like with three distinct aluminium-clad gauges.
The dashboard sweeps continuously across the dials and 4.8-inch LCD display, making the cabin appear wider and even more cohesive. This, together with the use of more attractive shapes in the centre console and air-conditioning vents, contribute to a more dynamic feel inside the cockpit.
Many features that used to be optional on the 1.8-litre Mercedes-Benz C180 now come as standard on the replacement model, which might exasperate existing owners a bit. Memory seats, which used to be for the C200 and above, now equip the Mercedes-Benz C180, which also comes with the 7G-Tronic gearbox that was previously reserved for the V6 versions.
The new Hold function was conceived for drivers who have the habit of engaging neutral gear and lifting their foot off the brake pedal while waiting at traffic lights. Newly added, too, are cupholders and extra storage compartments for loose items.
The facelift goes beyond skin deep, with the supercharged Kompressor 4-cylinder making way for the turbocharged CGI unit, except for the entry-level 1.6-litre. For the Mercedes-Benz C180, displacement and power output remain the same as before, but the car feels noticeably faster thanks in part to weight-saving measures.
A quick check of the technical data confirms that the car accelerates from zero to 100km/h a second faster than before. With the supercharger whine gone, the engine also feels more effortless. And the 7-speed transmission works more seamlessly than the defunct 5-speeder.
This nip-and-tuck of the Mercedes-Benz C180 is well done, and will probably keep it popular among young executives.
Mercedes-Benz C180 1.8 (A)
ENGINE 1796cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 156bhp at 5000rpm
MAX TORQUE 250Nm at 1600-4200rpm
GEARBOX 8.9 seconds
TOP SPEED 223km/h
CONSUMPTION 15.6km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $189,888
Check out the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class