Mercedes C320 CDI Sport: 11,305 miles

Fourth report: Our C-Class is fighting fit after a very special service

It looks like a set from Star Trek. Hi-tech, spotlessly clean and with an eerie quality that has an almost superhuman feel. You could almost imagine Captain Kirk giving the order: “Beam me up, Scotty!” Only in this case, it would be: “Beam me up Buckley”. And the ‘superhuman’ is Mercedes’ award-winning technician Jim Buckley!

Jim is a member of a star-studded team of Mercedes technicians from south London. They’ve just won Britain’s top independent award for customer service and product knowledge – and now go forward to take part in a Europe-wide competition.

So, who better to entrust my Mercedes C-Class to for its first annual service? As we know only too well from readers’ feedback, dealer servicing is often anything but award-winning. So, how would Jim perform on our C320 CDI?

Our car’s normally smooth and powerful performance had become a bit stuttery over the past few months. And the upshift paddle fitted to the steering wheel didn’t always respond, so it needed some tlc.

The annual service indicator came on as the Merc was nudging the 12,000-mile mark. And it certainly wasn’t going to let me forget the service was due – every time you stop and restart the car, the warning message tells you how many days overdue the service is!

Jim got down to work and carried things out simply and efficiently – and in this day and age at what seemed like a reasonable cost of £240. Okay, so a first service isn’t the most demanding of tasks, but there’s no doubt that my car came back feeling like its old self, sharper, smoother and tauter than before Jim had weaved his magic.

The upshift is also working properly again – unlike the very squeaky passenger’s electric door mirror, which I forgot to tell Jim about. The car was also returned fully washed and valeted, too – something our readers have told us many Mercedes dealers don’t do these days.

The C320 CDI still draws admiring glances thanks toits beautiful Obsidian Black paintjob, plus the AMG wheels, bodykit and lowered suspension which come in Sport guise. Inside, the leather seats and trim are wearing well and the car still feels well put together.

One thing I would like to suggest to Mercedes is that they introduce folding rear seats as standard. Recently I needed to move a glass-topped table, and I had to borrow our long-term Jaguar XF to fit it in. Look on the options list and you’ll see them as a £220 extra. But why, I wonder, don’t they come as standard?

Second Opinion

It had been quite some time since I last drove our long- term Mercedes, so when I jumped behind the wheel to make the journey home recently, its performance surprised me all over again. As usual, our editor in chief is right – the C320CDI is indecently fast! Delivering loads of torque, it accelerates with tremendous purpose. I’m not a massive fan of the stark cabin though. Its black carpets and dark plastics aren’t exactly welcoming.

Ross Pinnock - Road test editor

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