Most diesel C-Class models are quick enough. True, the C 200 d does struggle for out-and-out pace, but the C 220 d has enough shove to carry the car along briskly; in fact, we wouldn’t spend the extra cash for the modest increase in pace that the C 250 d brings.
There’s also a diesel-electric hybrid edition, badged C 300, which allows you to trickle along on battery power alone in heavy traffic. The diesel engine cuts in quickly when you need it to, and performance is strong, although the energy recuperation system means the brake pedal response is inconsistent.
As for the petrols, the C 200 is fast enough, but it requires plenty of revs, while at the other end of the range Mercedes offers the unhinged C 63 AMG, which feels bullet-fast. If you want something fast but a little less crazy, there’s also a more manageable C 43 that has less power and four-wheel drive.