Mercedes-Benz has revealed the all-new C-Class set to make its public debut at the Detroit Motor Show next month.
The firm’s new 3 Series fighter has been reinvented from the ground up to give it a chance of challenging the brilliant BMW, and comes with a huge array of technological features never before seen in this class of car.
Up to 100kg lighter than before, with all-aluminium body panels and a 70.6mpg 184hp C 220 BlueTEC version straight from launch (it’ll get even greener in time), the new C-Class offers sector-first full air suspension, a sector-leading aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.24 and a sector-busting array of new safety technology.
Design boss Gorden Wagener has given the new C-Class a junior S-Class look (that’s a car we know well here at MR), with a much sportier and more sculptural look than the old car. It once again offers a choice of front end designs but most are expected to go four the coupe-style look, rather than the base car’s upstanding three-pointed star design.
The long nose, set-back cabin and short, smoothly raked rear end profile is highlighted by the distinctive side feature line plus some wonderful attention to detail: check out the flush-fit rear LED lights, for example.
Inside, it’s equally advanced, with a new and very appealing free-flowing dash design. Choose the automatic for most impact here: this one comes with the single-piece centre console that flows into Mercedes’ new smartphone-inspired infotainment controller.
New Mercedes-Benz C-Class: engines
Engine choice will be limited to three four-cylinder units from launch. The C 220 BlueTEC will produce 184hp and 295lb ft of torque. It will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds; more impressively, it will average 70m6mpg and emit just 103g/km CO2.
There will be two turbo petrol engines: the C 180 will produce 156hp, for 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, and the C 200 will produce 184hp for 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds.
There will be more engine choices, not least a 333hp six-cylinder version. Mercedes will launch a new fuel-sipping 1.6-litre diesel engine, producing either 115hp or 136hp – and to get a measure of how economical it is, consider the fact that even from launch it will be selling a C 220 BlueTEC ECO model capable of 72.4mpg…
Mercedes will also launch what sounds like a performance diesel hybrid, the C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID: this mates a 204hp diesel to a 27hp electric motor, for 72.4mpg and presumably plenty of pace. It will be later followed by a plug-in hybrid too.
New Mercedes-Benz C-Class: suspension
An almighty effort is needed to take on the fantastic F30 BMW 3 Series for driver appeal but Mercedes-Benz reckons it’s cracked it. New four-link front suspension is joined by a five-link rear that’s offered in three regular configurations: comfort, a slightly sportier comfort and a sport alternative that’s lowered by 15mm.
In a sector first launch, Mercedes will also offer air suspension, just like that on the S-Class. With this self-leveling, fully configurable option, the firm is claiming the best ride of any car in the sector – and if our experience of the mighty S-Class is anything to go by, we should expect something pretty special.
New Mercedes-Benz C-Class: gadgets
The new C-Class wouldn’t be a fitting new Benz if it weren’t packed with gadgets. The array of technology is quite something – and it’s inclusive tech, too. All models offer internet access, for example, so long as the user has a Bluetooth smartphone with a data plan. No need to pay for an expensive upgrade here (although if you do, you get a larger infotainment screen made from the same glass Apple uses to make iPhones and iPads…).
The lane departure warning system can now brake one side of the car automatically to keep you in lane, and keeps an eye out for fast-overtaking traffic and cars running in parallel. There’s a head-up display for the C-Class, sat nav climate control that closes the recirculation flaps when you drive through tunnels, even DISTRONIC PLUS Stop&Go Pilot traffic function that follows the car in front at a set distance even when there are no road markings: yes, the new C-Class will be, at least in part, a showroom-ready self-driving car.
New Mercedes-Benz C-Class: verdict
The F30 BMW 3 Series is a brilliant car. But Mercedes-Benz may have a similarly brilliant car on its hands with the new C-Class. Certainly it looks to break new technological ground, while the looks themselves are, to our eyes at least, very appealing. The interior appears fantastic too.
UK pricing information will follow – in Germany, it starts from £30,750, with order books open now for delivery early in the new year.
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