Until the 1980s, Mercedes-Benz were exclusively earning their bread by selling luxury sedans, coupe and convertibles. "Affordable" was missing from the tri-star brand's dictionary until the W201 came aboard their line-up. At the time of the car's launch, in 1982, it had a number of never-before-seen on a Mercedes innovations, which were even more impressive considering the model's price range.
It was the first modern "affordable" Mercedes and also their smallest sedan. It also introduced the world's first mass-produced rear-multilink suspension setup and the first anti-skid regulation system for a rear-wheel drive sedan. Millions were spent on research and development, with the Swabians sharply aware that if the little sedan failed then it would also have a negative impact on the brand as a whole, and that was unthinkable, especially in the 1980s.
Even though it was officially named the "190", the "baby Benz" was actually the first modern predecessor of the current C-Klasse, and one of the last "over-engineered" Mercedes. Twenty eight years since the first model was launched, the car is now at its fourth reincarnation and it can no longer be called the "baby Benz", since the A-Klasse has been filling that position since 1997.
Launched at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show, the current W204 C-Klasse is now already approaching its mid-cycle facelift. Until that time comes, however, Mercedes has decided to operate quite a few modifications on its smallest sedan to better prepare it in the battle against the Audi A4 and the BMW 3-Series.
The only visual modifications consist in the addition of LED daylight driving lights in the front bumper and new alloy rims for some of the versions, with most of the "pre-facelift facelift" novelties finding their way under the hood.
Seeing the success enjoyed by BMW with their highly-acclaimed "Efficient Dynamics" models, Mercedes had to resort to their own designation for more fuel conscious versions and so the "Blue Efficiency badge was created. Coincidentally, this technology first made its way onto the current C-Klasse.
In just a few words, the "Blue Efficiency" badge mainly consists of downsizing, direct injection, turbocharging, small aerodynamic enhancements and other similar efficiency measures. We weren't exactly convinced, so we decided to take a C 200 CGI for a test drive. Read on to find out what we think about it now. Continue reading