DRIVEN: W205 Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line road trip to Penang – setting new compact executive rules


Something’s afoot in the compact executive class, where a sleeker, sexier newcomer is edging out the old school. And it’s a car wearing the Three-Pointed Star that’s causing the commotion. This one is bolder and brasher than the status quo, embracing a younger, more style-conscious crowd.

Why, it’s the W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, in C 300 AMG Line guise – young, fresh and sporty, if not exactly elegant. Now this, is my kind of car. In fact, the black one is my daily driver.

“The C 300 AMG? It looks very, very sexy,” said Julius Kong, our Mercedes-Benz road trip contest winner, a W204 C 200 owner himself, who’s waiting for his very own W205 C 300. Indeed it is. In an area of the market where style is such a big factor, ubiquity is a killer.


It’s hard to make disparaging comments about the C-Class’ looks, especially in this top-of-the-range form. It’s very Mercedes, in a handsome and squat, chunky way, now with an added dose of excitement. Visually arresting and plenty masculine, it’s a hairy-balled riposte to the rather limp-wristed W204. Attract attention it certainly does. Plenty.

Well, it couldn’t be less subtle. Fitted with the full AMG Line exterior package (sportier, deeper front bumper with a large chrome ‘blade’, side skirts and body-coloured rear diffuser) and supersized 19-inch multi-spoke wheels with a striking dual-tone finish, it’s the antithesis of the traditional unassuming Benz.

The mini-S-Class look is continued inside too, with a distinct feeling that you’re in something special. The dashboard curves away from you up front, with sections sculpted out to create a feeling of solidity. It’s leather-lined in all the right places, with tasteful metal-look strips dotted around the cabin.


For some, the Open Pore Black Ash veneer specified for the C 300 may be a bit too brash, but it’s definitely an imposing choice of trim, and in my opinion the best among the few other finishes offered in the local C-Class line-up. If premium and exclusive were the targets, this one gets it spot on.

It gels the W205’s exterior flair with even more drama and excellent perceived quality. Build feels as impeccable as you’d expect from a Mercedes – the subtly damped switchgear, beautifully arranged ambient lighting and smart dials are all superbly executed.

Space is something that has been marginally improved over the old car too. There’s a good two- or three-inch increase in rear legroom, as commented by Julius, being very familiar with the W204 (he’s had two of them). It has to be said, though, that rear headroom isn’t as generous, especially so with the fitment of a full-length panoramic sunroof here.

On top of nailing the static showroom appeal, which the C 300, with all the bells and whistles attached clearly does, a car like this also needs to deliver on two fronts. It has to possess that special kind of desirability that extends beyond regular motorists, while at the same time provide real driver involvement to please the enthusiasts.

Comfort, quality and image are all massively important in this world, but there’s no reason why this should be at the expense of driving ability. Certainly not in this hotly contested class, broadly built around the ever-present BMW 3 Series, and more so not when the car looks as sporty as this one does.

To level with its visual drama, the C 300 needs to deliver more than just fast-in-a-straight-line thrills. That’s easily done these days with 200 hp hot hatches populating every other showroom. No, it has to engage on a higher level. Speed, naturally, but also with loquacious steering, gritty roadholding, fluid balance and infallible brakes, all linked with synapse-sparking integrity.

So, for the C-Class to succeed in the compact executive segment, especially in the upper echelon positioning the C 300 is in, it has to be both hot and cool. Poker hot to drive and iced latte cool to be seen and sit in. Simple to define yet immensely difficult to achieve.

Traditionally, expecting your Mercedes-Benz C-Class to have pin-sharp dynamics was like expecting your leather-soled dress shoes to offer perfect grip – they just don’t, but you live with it anyway. The latest model is, however, a substantial step forward.

The steering has decent feel, particularly off centre, where it weighs up progressively. The damping with the AMG Line’s sport suspension setup is a little harsh, but it makes everything feel very controlled, and the new chassis is significantly more agile than before.

Driving around Penang, the rutted roads highlight the sport suspension’s harder-edged tuning, but the car feels firm yet compliant enough over rough surfaces, while keeping the chassis in check. The massive 19-inch rollers certainly don’t help things, but you’d forgive it for its added visual presence.

Turn-in is accompanied by serious bite from the front wheels, and the rear simply tucks in however ham fisted you are with the throttle. Be brutal and you can provoke the tail into progressive, satisfying oversteer, while the C 300-exclusive sport exhaust system bark out soft pops and crackles. This was unthinkable in the previous C-Classes.

So yes, it’s a much better driver’s car than models that have come to past. On trunk roads and the highways, the Mercedes is now near the sharp end of the class with its good blend of dynamics, packaging and refinement. As far as Mercedes-Benz goes, this is as fresh and exciting as the original CLS four-door coupe ever was.


As the top-shelf C-Class offering (at least before the monstrous C 350 e plug-in hybrid came into play), the C 300 AMG Line gets Merc’s M274 2.0 litre direct injection turbocharged engine in its most powerful form, with 245 hp and 370 Nm of torque – 34 hp and 20 Nm more than the C 250.

It feels grunty from the get go and pulls with a muscular linearity, getting to 100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds – the C 350 e, despite its more impressive output figures (279 hp, 600 Nm) is no quicker off the line. Any more performance and you’re straight-up into sports car territory. For a mainstream compact exec, the C 300 and BMW 330i both, feel mega.

The engine spins with such speed and linearity that it’s all too easy to headbutt the rev limiter in manual mode through the paddle shifters when you’re not concentrating. And the brakes – with the beautifully oversized Mercedes-Benz-marked calipers and cross-drilled discs up front – offer immediate and fade-free bite.


Letting the Merc down a little is its 7G-Tronic Plus transmission. Not quite the smoothest auto’box around, it makes itself felt through unrushed upshifts, though this will only be noticeable to the most critical and sensitive of drivers. For most drivers, be it in Eco or Sport+ mode (which engages the sport exhaust flap), the C-Class feels infallible.

A bold, exciting move by Mercedes, it feels special where other class players feel normal. In terms of dynamics and aesthetics, the latest C-Class is a standout. You can buy it with your sensible head on – it’s fantastically well built and rewarding to drive, and as a whole package it’s very well resolved.

You can be extremely choosy when you’re spending around RM300,000 for a car, and at RM307,888, the W205 Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line has the poise and polish to feel like it’s worth the premium over its rivals. And that, at the end of the day, is that.

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Hafriz Shah

Preferring to drive cars rather than desks, Hafriz Shah ditched his suit and tie to join the ranks of Malaysia’s motoring hacks. A car’s technical brilliance is completely lost on him, appreciating character-making quirks more. When not writing this ego trip of a bio, he’s usually off driving about aimlessly, preferably in a car with the right combination of three foot pedals and six gears.



  • Car Boy on Oct 12, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Your pictures are very beautiful. Excellent! Reminds me of Top Gear UK magazine. Keep it up the good work!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 3
  • kairys on Oct 12, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    For the first time in paultan, the pictures are indeed beautiful!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0
    • applegreen on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Should be 2nd time. Last time their journey with GLE400 to kuantan also have a lot of impressive photos

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
      • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:55 am

        Credit goes to our resident photographer, #therealshermansim :)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0
  • azrai on Oct 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    BMW 330e > All

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 16
  • brazbuz on Oct 12, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Is it C300 going to be replace with C350e ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • Yippie on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Yup, the price even undercut the c250 at 289k starting. With combined output of 279ps 600nm. In-gear acceleration c300 almost no chance. 0-100km almost same. Waiting for their E350e, maybe next 1 or 2 years?.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
      • Is eco-minded century. Must wait for EV hybrid or even battery cars

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • Aragon on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    That 19 inch tyres alone gonna cost more than average Malaysian monthly pay. For sure this is not the car for average people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2
  • Upsized A keras

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • Yet there is no mention of the front window wind noise. A well know, unresolved, issue of the w205.

    Also no mentioning of this trim being discontinued and replaced by the hybrid variant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Nikolai on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      To be fair, the C350e shares the same exact trim as the C300, aside from the additional pre-conditioning as well as Airmatic suspension.

      I drive a C300 myself and so far, NVH levels are quite good and I haven’t encountered annoying levels of wind noise yet (but then, I haven’t pushed it above 160 kph, so I can’t comment about this at higher speeds).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • I have tested a few trims and all Malaysia CKD w205 comes assembled with single layer window. You will hear the wind noise over 120 km/h easily. If you are unsure about this, just get in an A class or any other Mercedes to do a comparison. You can order acoustic Windows to curb the issue but MB has not issued a TSB for this in Malaysia. The TSB is out in other countries and the repair should be FOC.

        The C350e can’t possibly drive like the C300. That’s like saying 330i drives like 330e. They don’t even with similar specs. Obviously the C300/330i would drive more athletically than the hybrid variant.

        C250/C300 are really good cars, if not for some defects like the wind noise and misaligned rear bumpers with the tail light.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • BMW F30 Owner on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Dem i’m so jelly..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • heybadigol (Member) on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Great pictures there. The C300 AMG is indeed a very good looking car. Even better than the 330i M Sport in my opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
  • Way to go, Friz! Btw, does the car come with auto tailgate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
    • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Yes it does, with contactless opening too, as you can see at the start of the video :)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • passion on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:45 am

    beautiful gear lever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • Mikey on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:49 am

    All the good things including the scenery, Penang food’s & the resorts has already said by fellow commentators so I’m not going to bored U guys.

    The better news is the coming of the C 350 e that has more impressive figures (279 hp, 600 Nm) & it’s cheaper.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • passion on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

    the design of a merc is an acquired taste like sushi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4
  • Kunta kinte on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:10 am

    rakyat already knows, european cars resale value is very bad, this car will be value about rm40k in one year. like i said, if you want to join the elite & clever community buy a toyota. camry is way more good choice that this.
    clever rakyat will always choose toyota, dont have enough budjet?, buy perodua..bezza top spec is almost same like altis feel.

    toyota = top global brand for automotive
    mercedes = ?
    that will tell you a lot on toyota quality and status

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 34
    • venven81 on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:05 am

      when will someone stop saying about resale value?!
      if resale value is so darn important then please don’t drive EU car.
      we love driving ours because of the satisfaction we get from driving them and what’s resale value? get a life and move on dude

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • cropika on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:25 am

    this review is indeed very topgear-ish, very refreshing from the usual. hope we could get more of this kind of review with some personal touch. shows maturity of paultan blog.. great review.. saya bagi 5 bintang.. utk kereta 3 bintang

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  • J Kong on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Nice one Paultan/ Hafriz and Team, Beautifully done, i’m keeping this in my life diary!

    My c300 hasn’t been delivered to this day. partly because c350e came out and undercut the C300 price and with more equipment. A very very sneaky one by MBM.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
    • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Hey Julius!

      I’d stick to the C300, mate ;)

      Glad you enjoyed the trip! Was our pleasure to host you and your family.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
      • minghan on Oct 13, 2016 at 10:04 am

        So far any problem with your C300 ? Mine got few issues like wind noise from driver side, steering vibrate when driving in high speed, cracking noise from dashboard etc. Please share yours

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
        • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Oct 13, 2016 at 10:08 am

          Mine has been great so far. There was a little bit of noise from the driver’s side window, which turned out to be an issue caused by the window tint – fixed now. All else is good.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
          • Hi Hafriz, can you explain what was the problem with the window tint and how it was fixed. I’m experiencing wind noise from my C300. Thanks

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • meejawa on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:54 am

    8881 , ini mesti harve punya..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • tokmoh. on Oct 13, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Volvo > all

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5
  • Saitam on Oct 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Is there any model in the C line up that can still order the automatic louvers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • Nikolai on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Unfortunately, nope.

      The C250 Exclusive Line (no longer available) was the only one in Malaysia that had this thing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Holofanboi on Oct 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Not dissing your writing Hafriz but this is one of those awkward moments where the pictures surpasses the writing quality! (laugh)

    If I were to nitpick, getting Anthony to write/review this roadtrip would have been an excellent combo, although he tends to get a wee bit to personal with the car (in a good way!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • longjaafar on Oct 19, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    So is it better than the ageing 330i?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Merc C 300 AMG Line
    245 hp and 370 Nm of torque

    BMW 330I
    252 hp at 5,200 rpm and 350 Nm from 1,450 to 4,800 rpm.

    Volvo s60 T6 Drive E

    306 hp at 5,700 rpm and 400 Nm at 2,100 to 4,800 rpm

    Volvo. Old man’s car. Very Slow. Bulky. Makan Minyak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Feels like a paid review. No comparison to the REAL German engineering marvel in this segment – the Audi S4! Why you have to worry about all that nonsense oversteer in your C300 when audi’s Quattro fixes it for you??

    Vorsprung Durch Technik – nothing else comes close

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
    • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:37 pm

      Well, the Audi S4 isn’t available in Malaysia. Even if it is, it wouldn’t go against this car anyway ;)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • has new photographer? Photoshoots in this posting are really good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • KM Loo on Oct 31, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Great Job. I’ll like to join the next trip. Tq/Loo

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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