This latest Mercedes C-Class is the embodiment of a growing suspicion in some quarters that rival Audi might be on to something when it comes to prioritising where it spends its development budgets.

Audi could engineer its steering systems and chassis to be more engaging if it wanted to, but it chooses to invest more heavily elsewhere.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The Mercedes isn't as good to drive as a 3-Series, but it does make the BMW appear bit less outstanding overall

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, then, follows this path.

It’s better inside, by a mile, than most of its rivals and is competitive in key areas, but it comes with a chassis that falls well short of the excellence achieved by the class-leading BMW 3 Series and the newest arrival - the Audi A4, seemingly no matter which version you choose.

People keener on spreadsheets than we are have presumably satisfied themselves that this offers the best return on investment.

But although it might keep them happy, and the interior and general ambience will satisfy everybody, those keen on driving will be left a little unfulfilled, and that’s enough to keep the Mercedes-Benz C-Class separated from the class lead by a short head.

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