This car has a rather misleading name. Despite being called an AMG Performance Edition the engine and drivetrain is identical to what you get under the hood of a standard diesel C250. But thankfully this isn't just some hash job of sticking on some nice bumpers and a snazzy set of wheels. No, Mercedes also throws in cross drilled disc rotors up front, fatter rear rubber and stiffer, lower sports suspension to justify the moniker.
Visually the Performance Edition gets a new front (slightly larger air dam) and rear bumper along with some edgier skirting. The changes are subtle but do bump up the aggression quotient by a bit. A new stainless steel exhaust characterizes the rear. They say a good set of wheels can significantly improve the looks of a car and the new 17-inch AMG wheels prove 'them' very right. The interiors have been peppered with small details like the AMG embossed floor mats and new three spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters. There's also a new 4.5-inch TFT screen and a new instrument cluster design. You also get the de rigeur sporty aluminium pedals.
Hit a pothole and you immediately notice the difference between this AMG edition and the standard C250CDI. The sports suspension takes its name seriously and the car has a new found stiffness you just don't associate with a Merc. While the car's ability to soak in potholes and expansion joints has reduced you can hardly blame it. One really should know what's in store when buying a car with AMG-tuned sports suspension. Nevertheless the stiff set up translates to great handling with the fat 245 section rear tyres (225 up front). The only downside was the numb feedback from the otherwise quick and direct steering. The brakes also felt a tad soft from the first few degrees of travel but step on them and you're rewarded with strong bite and good pedal feedback. 204PS and 500Nm from the 2.2-litre four pot diesel means this car goes fast enough for you to appreciate what the tuned suspension and brakes bring to the table.
The C250CDI AMG Performance Edition (deep breath) then is a surprisingly sensible option if you're looking for a fun to drive car with subtle sporty aspirations. Especially since it retains the sensibilities of an efficient diesel engine. This car costs about 75 thousand rupees more than a C250CDI Avantgarde and to me that's a reasonable asking price for what is quite a comprehensive package.