C220CDI-1

If you work in Menara TM and happen to be a car geek, you’d probably have noticed a fleet of W204 C-Class with the AMG Sport kit tucked away in parking bays belonging to Mercedes-Benz Malaysia. The badge on the rear of this particular C-Class fleet is what makes the cars interesting – the badge says C 220 CDI, which indicates a 2.1 litre four-cylinder diesel engine under the hood.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia hasn’t featured a passenger car with a diesel engine in its line-up for many years. It used to though – the pre-facelift W211 E-Class line-up had a E 270 CDI variant that was packed full of features, including a solar panel on the roof that could power the air-con blowers while the car was parked under the sun so you’d have a nice cool cabin waiting for you when you got back.

Yours truly bought one for just over RM100k off the used car market a few years ago, and it was my first experience owning a diesel car. I was amazed that I could make trips to Johor and back on a single tank with plenty of fuel left over. After that, I was hooked on the instantaneous torque and superior fuel economy, so my next two cars were also diesel cars.

MBC220_Ext_07

Anyway, the days of the E 270 CDI on the showroom floor was in the early 2000s. After that, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia decided to stop selling diesel cars because at that time, our diesel fuel was pre-“Euro” standards, while the new diesel engines that were being developed required something better. Our fuel only became Euro 2M in 2009.

That makes this fleet of C 220 CDIs very interesting, because it marks the potential reintroduction of officially imported Mercedes-Benz passenger diesel cars in Malaysia. Basically, the C 220 CDIs were adapted and prepared for the fuel quality in Malaysia and assembled at MBM’s assembly facility in Pekan.

Yes, these cars are CKD units. They were built for internal testing, and internal testing has officially concluded with positive results. The C 220 CDIs are modified, in that the particulate filter has been removed and a water separator added.

“During the internal test, a cumulative total of almost 400,000 km was covered with absolutely no technical issues. This gives us confidence that diesel variants can be considered in the future, not only to continue support Malaysia’s initiative on becoming an EEV hub, but potentially to also offer customers of parallel import market diesel vehicles in future an alternative for which they get full warranty coverage bought through our authorised dealer network,” said Kai Schlickum, vice president of sales and marketing of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia.

We took a short spin in one earlier today just to have a feel of the car. The 2.1 litre oil burner under the hood produces 170 PS at 3,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 1,400 rpm. A diesel engine is of course going to be louder than a petrol engine, and it certainly made itself heard in the car, but not any more than the engine in this car’s only direct competitor in Malaysia, the BMW 320d.

The massive surge of torque that kicks in just a split second after your right foot calls for it seemed to match perfectly with the 7G-Tronic seven-speed auto gearbox, with each gearshift bringing the engine’s revs right back into the middle of another neck-straining wave of acceleration.

During my 36 km journey from Menara TM in Bangar to MAEPS, where we stopped for a quick photo op session, we consumed just 6.3 litres per 100 km. I would say I drove in what I would consider a fuel efficient manner, but certainly not as though I was trying to win some fuel efficiency contest, as there were bouts of acceleration thrown in here and there wherever necessary to weave my way through Klang Valley’s traffic without ending up getting stuck behind a Sunday driver.

The beautiful thing about diesel engines is that you get up to speed so quickly, thanks to the big wave of torque, then you can just let your car coast along because of a diesel engine’s inherent lack of engine braking – that way, you don’t actually hear your engine that often.

On the way back from MAEPS, I decided to gun the engine a lot more and ended up with a 8.1 litre per 100 km average fuel consumption. I think any attempt to get the fuel consumption of this car up to a petrol car’s 10 litres per 100 km would probably involve driving in a life-threatening manner.

Among the equipment that the diesel W204 gets include an AMG Sport exterior, interior and 18 inch staggered wheels, and adjustable dampers which are 15mm lower. You can refer to CarBase.my for C220 CDI AMG Sport full specifications and equipment, or compare it against the 320d.

So what happens to the fleet cars now, you ask? You can actually buy them, as they will be put under Proven Exclusivity, MBM’s approved pre-owned car programme. These cars are about nine months old on average, and they will get a warranty extension to bring the warranty up to the original four-year unlimited mileage warranty that every new MBM passenger car gets.

The official price for a brand new W204 Mercedes-Benz C 220 CDI with AMG Sport Package Plus is RM290,888 on-the-road without insurance, but we’ve been told that they will go for about RM247k each under the Proven Exclusivity programme.