Think of the Mercedes C-Class AMG Sport Edition as a run-out version of the company's BMW 3 Series rival.
Designed to keep interest in the C-Class going until the all-new model arrives in the spring, the new AMG Sport Edition combines equipment from both the old AMG Sport and AMG Sport Plus versions, which are no longer on sale. This kit includes a sporty bodykit, 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler on the outside, and sports seats, aluminium trim and coloured stitching on the inside.
There’s also lowered suspension for sharper handling.
AMG Sport Edition trim is available in the C-Class saloon, Estate and Coupe; here we’re testing the saloon in C220 CDI diesel form with an optional automatic gearbox.
What’s the Mercedes C220 CDI AMG Sport Edition like to drive?
The first thing you notice is how gruff the engine is. This is a diesel engine from the old school, with a telltale rattle at town speeds that turns into a real racket at higher revs. At least it’s quiet when cruising on the motorway, but almost every rival with a four-cylinder diesel engine is more refined.
It’s a pretty strong engine, though, and feels well matched to the seven-speed automatic gearbox. You’ll rarely want more performance, even if you need to press the accelerator pedal quite far before the engine and gearbox respond meaningfully. The gearbox doesn’t always shift as smoothly as it should, either.
The lowered suspension is a mixed blessing. It helps the C-Class to handle pretty neatly – and the steering is nicely weighted and confidence-inspiring – but the payoff is an overly firm ride. It picks up on too many lumps and bumps at low speeds, and although the car feels stable on the motorway, the ride is still slightly unsettled.
Add a lot of road noise on coarse surfaces and this C-Class isn’t the ideal long-distance machine you'd expect it to be.
What’s the Mercedes C220 CDI AMG Sport Edition like inside?
Time has caught up with the C-Class here, too, but let’s focus on the good bits first.
There’s plenty of adjustment to the driver’s seat and steering wheel, so you should be able to get comfortable (it’s worth noting that manual cars are affected more by the offset pedals). Also, the boot is pretty big and everything feels solidly put together.
The materials are drab, though, so not even the splashes of metallic trim can lift the cabin. There are also too many small fiddly buttons on the stereo, and the central controller could be simpler to use. Newer rivals such as the Audi A3 Saloon beat the C-Class for both perceived quality and ease of use.
There’s enough space for two adults to be comfortable in the rear seats (the big transmission tunnel makes life uncomfortable for a central passenger), but the compact door openings can make getting in and out difficult.
Should I buy one?
It’s hard to recommend a car that feels so past its prime, especially when its replacement is on the horizon.
The Audi A3 Saloon and BMW 3 Series are both significantly better all-rounders and, crucially, are cheaper to run as company cars.
What Car? says...
Mercedes-Benz C 220 CDI AMG Sport Edition
Engine size 2.1-litre diesel auto
Torque 295lb ft
0-62mph 8.1 seconds
Top speed 143mph
Fuel economy 64.2mpg (official)